Datehazard’s Blog

On dating, singleness and adjusting to being 30ish.

The topography of a breakup February 12, 2009

Filed under: breakups,Drama,Exes — datehazard @ 12:35 am
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It’s always easier to observe the process of a break-up when it’s not happening to you.

My friend, let’s call him Grad Student, was talking to me today about his ex. He’d been talking to me for quite some time about her. In fact, I mentioned him here in an earlier post. He was pretty hung-up about her, since they’d reconciled over Christmas, and things were back on again. But not really. It was one of those things. He was struggling with trying to figure out how to get over her.

Today, we happened to ride the train back home together, and he started telling me that she’d called him out of the blue and that they’d had a conversation. He started talking about what she said, and characterized her conversation as being an entirely selfish one: she spoke about herself, and herself only. He said, “She’s always been like this. She always just talks about herself. I just listened, and she didn’t even ask me a word about me.” He’d recently had a cold, and when he told her that, he said, “She didn’t even say, ‘oh, I’m sorry to hear that, how are you feeling now?'”

I felt uncomfortable about him telling me so much information about her (he told me that she has an eating disorder and some other personal information that I didn’t really need to know), and I stopped him from getting more into the specifics. I said, “I just don’t really want to hear about her; I mean, I feel weird — what if I happen to meet her some day? I’d know all this stuff about her and it would be really weird and awkward.” I mean, I know the chances of me actually meeting her are slim to none, but it still made me feel like too much of a voyeur. Besides, as I said to him, I wanted to know how he was doing and what he was feeling. It’s always easier to blame someone else and not look at one’s own actions or position.

And then it occurred to me, as I pointed out to him: what’s changed in this conversation is the critical distance I was seeing in his behaviour. He didn’t try to get into a fight with her, point out her selfishness, try to correct her behaviour, as he would have done in the past. In fact, he even spoke about her in an almost detached way. There was still heat there, but it was less intense. The fire was more of a simmering heat, instead of a pressurized steam.

So. Step 1 in a breakup: talking endlessly about one’s ex. Blaming them 100% for the ending of the relationship. Arguing endlessly about their faults. Being sensitive to friends asking what your position was in the relationship. Refusing to take responsibility. Secretly waiting and wishing that they’ll come back. Blaming them for not fulfilling one’s secret wishes.

Step 2: Still blaming the ex for the breakup, but starting to see their behaviour with some distance. Refusing to react. Taking the time to think through one’s possible reactions. Still talking about the ex on a daily basis, but perhaps even down to 4 times a day, instead of every 10 minutes.

I’ll update the rest of the steps as I see my friend the Grad Student go through them. And remember to thank him for his insights and for sharing his process with me. I don’t think he realises that sharing the process of going through a breakup is helpful for those who have just recently done it, too, if for no other reason than to remind the other person that all breakups — in general — tend to share similar bends and curves.


Unknown territory February 11, 2009

Filed under: Dating,Drama — datehazard @ 12:28 pm
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OK. It just occurred to me that I am opening myself up to dating more than one person at a time.

I hadn’t really thought it through until I started thinking about what my plans are this week. So, Corporate Lawyer is in the background somewhere (he’s going to a singles event on Valentine’s Day, but he “can cancel, if [I] want.” (What a lame response — of course I didn’t tell him to do it; he’s a grown man and can make his own decisions). So Saturday night is me by myself, which is perfectly fine with me.

Meanwhile, because I’d gotten the vibe from Corporate Lawyer that he’s dating around (often has his phone off in the evenings, texts me instead of calls me back, has mysterious other plans on other days in the weekend), I figured I’d open the field as well a few weeks ago. It was meant to be a simple “hey, let’s meet up at a gallery and see what happens.” But it turned into a “I can’t make it to the gallery, let’s meet up in person on Friday night” instead. So now I have a date on Friday night, with someone else. Let’s call him Indie Musician. So. No more me accusing Corporate Lawyer, or anyone else, of hypocrisy.

So now I have to figure out some strategies if this date with Indie Musician on Friday turns out well. He’s terribly cute in that dorky way that always gets my heart going, and I don’t want to start anything on a bad note, or have to hurt anyone’s feelings. Corporate Lawyer, meanwhile, wants to meet up on Sunday night; he’s taking me out to a performance.

I think “that talk” is coming up, real soon. Most likely this weekend when I meet up with Corporate Lawyer. It’s just too difficult for me to try to juggle two things at once (assuming there is a “thing” at all with Indie Musician). Even if it ends up in me being alone. Again.

You folks used to juggling out there, throw me a lifeline, would you?


Why do guys do that?

Filed under: Comedy,Dating,Desire,Drama — datehazard @ 8:51 am
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I dated a guy briefly: let’s call him Non-Profit Guy. He seemed like a really nice guy, we got along great, and I started to develop a real crush on him. I’ll always remember the way he lit up when he first saw me: if he had a caption above his head, it would have read, “WOW!”

He also seemed to really care about ethics. So I didn’t expect him to be juggling two women at once. Especially not if the other woman was someone he’d been pursuing for a year.

Shortly after I met him, he went on a trip with his “friend”, who lived just down the street from him. He’d mentioned her name a few times before, and I was a bit curious to know what her relationship was to him. It was way too early to be having “that” kind of a conversation, though, and I figured he’d let me know if there was something for me to know.

When he came back from his trip, he wanted to meet up with me again, and we went out on another date. There was some fooling around, some kissing, nothing much (we were in public), but I sensed that the openness he had to me before he left was not there. When I suggested we hang out at his house after our plans fell through (we were going to see a show but arrived too late), he laughed nervously. The thing is that I’d already seen his apartment, so it wasn’t as if we were going there for the first time. The last time we were in his apartment, I’d had to put the brakes on, since it was only date #2, and I didn’t really want to jump into bed with a stranger. So his behaviour this time around made me wonder what happened.

We finally had a talk, and he fessed up: he’d known her for a year and been pursuing her romantically during that time. She finally said yes when they were on their trip, and they were going to try dating.

To be honest, I wasn’t surprised; but I was a bit surprised at how upset I was by the news. I really felt dumped. It made no sense: I really had just started to get to know the guy. We’d known each other for maybe a total of a month.

Worst of all, instead of expressing my disappointment, I counselled him as a friend. I told him that I was happy for him (BS: anyone who says that after you dump them is lying through their teeth, and clinging onto their last shred of dignity), I told him that I was taking myself out of the equation (I actually said, “far be it for me to stand in the way of someone’s desire.” ACK). And that I, as his friend, was suggesting that he concentrated on his relationship and cherish the fact (yes, those exact words) that this woman who he had been pursuing for a year finally said yes to him.

He bleated something ridiculous like, “Well, but it’s all so new, I’m really not sure what’s going on right now.” I pushed aside my revulsion and said, “well, that’s the wonderful thing at the beginning: it’s fragile, and exhilarating, and tenuous and scary as hell.” Meanwhile, a part of me wanted to say, “Why don’t you grow a pair? Oh, and get away from me.” Maybe I should have.

Because, after that grand generous speech I gave, I ended with “well, I wish you and your friend the best of luck, and I hope that we can still remain friends.” To me, that is the kiss of death: “friends” in this context means: If I happen to see you on the street, I won’t ignore you, but will say hello and introduce myself to whoever happens to be there, including your date/gf/mistress/whatever. I mean, come on, it’s not like we work together or have to ever see each other again.

And so I was surprised when he e-mailed me. He asked how I was doing, and I figured it was a guilt-inspired e-mail. He apologized for not being upfront about his friend, and I thanked him for his apology. I figured that was that.

Weeks go by. Then yesterday, he e-mails me to ask whether we can hang out “as friends.” And so I’m now at a loss for what he is possibly thinking. If I were his new gf, I’d be furious.

Why do guys do stupid shit like that?

PS: And by the way, I said cheerily, “sure!” as if we were “just friends.” Mainly because I have a perverse sense of humour, and mainly because I’ll probably put on the “I’m so great without you” front and be an idiot like that.