There it is again. That sinking feeling that he isn’t going to call. He is just going to “go silent”. Not a good-bye. No explanation, if one could even be given after just four dates. Nothing. Silence. Thud.
The worst part is that I thought we were really clicking. I mean, he had to drive two hours each day to see me. And, he did it without me suggesting it. In fact, I worked hard to discourage it knowing it was quite a drive in addition to putting in a full day of work. When we were together the time seemed to just fly by and those are his words not mine. Then, the night before I had to leave town since the conference I was attending ended the next day, we said our good-byes. Okay, I’m not going into detail as to how we said them, but, suffice it to say, that there was nothing in the parting that indicated he would not be continuing to pursue knowing me as much after meeting as he had the entire six weeks before. But, I returned home and no call, unusual in itself since he was hammering me with emails and IMs before we met. I zipped him a nice friendly email, thanking him for taking time out of his schedule to spend with me, letting him know once again how much fun I had. It was short, sweet and nice, but no response. Nothing. Silence. Thud.
That sinking, sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes from feeling fooled by my emotions or by another human being. I’ve met quite a few folks over the last year. I generally know what I want or what I’m looking for (as if dating were like going to the grocery store and I’ll just find any number of them sitting on the shelves or in a display case). I really know more of the kinds of things, perspectives, attitudes, behaviors, lifestyle choices, habits that won’t work for me in a long term relationship. I also know more of what will. This person, without a doubt, moved over into the “definitely has potential” category. I began to let my mind think, “maybe” and “I wonder” and “hmmmm, what if?” and then, he went silent.
There is that sickening, thick, heavy, flat, painful feeling that comes from not understanding what went wrong or why. No email, nothing, not a phone call even. Certainly not the instant response I’d been getting over the last six weeks that indicated he was checking emails and my blog regularly to hear from me or read the latest post. There was a text every morning before I went to work and connection, in some form, four or five times a day. It was the textbook “when a man loves a woman there is no doubt” scenario. Then he went silent.
It was a definite and noticeable change in temperature, but I saw none of it coming while I was with him. Silence. Then, a couple of days later, I get an email from him. Short, to the point, impersonal, but also nothing about the status of things between us from his perspective either. He simply said he is going out of town to visit his adult kids out of state and will be gone for four days. No further noise from him since. Silence, Thud.
Unusually silent on his part. And…for the fourth time since May…I have that sinking feeling that things will not be working out or moving forward…and I have no idea why. None. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if there was no real interest on my part, or if there hadn’t been some considerable time getting to know the person and, here’s the biggie, if I hadn’t let my heart start opening up to the possibility that this might have the potential to be something interesting. I find the entire process, exhausting and not a little painful. It is mostly annoying. On one level, if I must be honest, it just flat angers me. A six week, two month, three month relationship where the man spent all that energy and time making himself a very real and present force in my life only to go silent without a good-bye is appalling to me. It floors me. But then I am a woman, and I don’t understand how really handsome, together, intelligent men can deal straight up on a Wall Street Business deal and hide when it comes to love. Going silent is like telling me that whatever we had did not exist. It invalidates the time we spent together, and it marginalizes me. You see, when I give someone the greatest gift I can give…which is my time…the very essence my life and his is made of…it is dehumanizing when I don’t even receive the courtesy of a good-bye.
I know mentally, this is just the way it is. In each of these situations I’ve experienced this year, nothing was really invested (except my freaking heart…but no big deal there right?). All the relationships were in their infancy stages so, best to bail early rather than not bail and wait. And…in all these cases…no one was obligated either way. But that’s not the point. It still feels bad. It feels worse than rejection, even though I know mentally it isn’t at all about me, but more about decisions he’s making. I mean, when I have to make the same choice to discontinue contact with someone, it isn’t so much about that person being a failure in Dating World or Life as it is just me recognizing that I simply for whatever reason cannot move forward with this person. Since I know it, I need to act on it. I’m certain these men all felt the same way too. They saw something, felt something, knew they couldn’t go forward and had to act on it. It’s about them making right choices for them. It’s not really about me. But it still feels bad and it feels especially bad when they don’t say anything, if even by email, and, instead I am kept wondering, wondering, wondering…what happended. It is dehumanizing, demoralizing and discouraging.
In the silence, wondering what happened, experiencing that sinking feeling, until one day, several days later or maybe a week (but I’ve become good enough at recognizing the trend the minute the first text message is missed), it becomes clear that they have not contacted me, and they will not ever again contact me. Thud. They are simply just not that into me…worse…I wasn’t even important enough to earn an explanation, email or otherwise. Sigh. Sick Feeling in the stomach. Regretting what is now, all the wasted time and time is the very essence my life is made of. Moving on. Taking a deep breath and moving on.
Doesn’t anybody out here in adult dating world over 40 have a conversation any more? What is so wrong with saying kindly to someone that you don’t think you’re going to be able to continue things further and releasing them from the possibility that they spend the next day, or two or week or so of their life wondering what happened or if it even really did happen? I mean, don’t kid yourself, we’re all really good at making excuses and giving others an out. Women are especially good at making excuses for men and their poor behavior. He could be really busy, he’s catching up for time missed at work, he’s blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And this is how days are emotionally wasted when one could be spending the time mentally, emotionally moving on. The reality is….there is something to that book, “He’s Just Not That Into You”. Men know how to use the phone, they know how to express that they care, they are not timid, they will contact a woman if they are interested enough in her. If they don’t…they aren’t. If he doesn’t where I’m concerned…he isn’t…and I simply don’t have time to waste wondering or worrying about that…and the fact that he didn’t even say good-bye says more about his character than it does about my foolishness for actually taking a risk and momentarily believing in the cad.
So I’m thinking, that in every instance, where I’ve experienced this sinking feeling, I’ve been 100% correct. I’m not going to sit around (like that was happening anyway) even one second more and wonder. As far as I’m concerned all I know is what I’m experiencing right now. What I’m experiencing right now has cast enough doubt in my mind as to make my decision clear. I don’t want to be stumbling around wondering what’s up ever again. I spent far too much of my last marriage dealing with the silent treatment, and this propensity in an individual, where I’m concerned, lands them squarely in the “won’t work for me” category.
Let the silence continue. I’ve got life to do and I’m not waiting around for the silence to end before I do it.