Three times a breakup, never a relationship

Let’s talk about love, baby.  Well, no, it’s not really deep enough to be love.  Let’s talk about lust, baby.  Well, no, it’s not just lust, either.  Let’s talk about boy-girl stuff. Yes, it’s juvenile.  Yes, it’s hetero-normative.  I have yet to come up with a better term for all these goings-on, so we’ll just say boy-girl stuff, shall we?

Hokay.  So.  I have lived in Columbus for ten months now.  That’s enough to get knocked up and give birth!  (Not that I have/will.)  In this time, I have discovered boy-girl feelings for several men, gone on dates with a couple others, and had what might be, at most, described as innuendo with still more.  It is the complete opposite of a dry spell for me.  (Just for me.  There are those who would consider this a dry spell.)  You’d think that with practice might come finesse, but I am still just as bad at boys as ever.  Case in point: I have now had multiple breakup talks without benefit of relationship. When I fail at life, I do so spectacularly. Let’s examine, shall we?  The following boys’ names are taken from, where I looked up the most popular names from 1998.  Why 1998, you ask?  Well, those boys would be twelve this year.  Twelve-year-old boys are safe.  I have the mind of a twelve-year-old boy.  I know this.  It’s all talk and no action 🙂

Story 1: Fall 2009

Having just moved to Columbus, I was looking to make new friends.  An old friend introduced me to his old friend, who then introduced me to her old friend, who had just moved in with new friends, and it was one of these new friends (friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend) who piqued my interest.  Let’s call him Michael, the most popular boy name of 1998.  Michael was handsome, stable, intelligent, and found me funny. I wasn’t looking to date so soon after moving across the country, but I found myself thinking of this cute boy.  Well, one night, he kissed me.  Cue girly squealing.  The next day, he told me he felt guilty for having kissed me, because he was trying to get his life in order and “couldn’t offer anything.”  I asked him, “Did I ask for anything?”  He admitted, “Well, no.”  So we were fine.

But then, we weren’t fine.  I liked him more than he liked me.  This, my friends, meant that I didn’t have the upper hand.  He gave me enough to keep me interested, but I was never secure.  I never knew if I was there because he wanted me there, or if I was there because it was convenient.  And so, I ended things.

This makes me sound much more self-actualized than I actually am.  It’s not true, friends.  Michael is the one and only boy I have ever cried over.  I think I pinned more hopes on him because I was lonely in a new land and thought he could join me on my island of weird.  Many people in our group of friends like me despite my quirks.  I thought he might like me because of them, and it was hard to accept that he wasn’t in a place in his life where he wanted to have more than accidental encounters.

Story 2: Winter 2010

I will freely admit that I wasn’t completely over Michael when I started dating Jacob.  (Jacob was the number 2 boys’ name in 1998.)  In fact, I had gone on a date with someone else, with whom I felt nothing, which freaked me out and caused me to end things with Michael.  That date made me think that I was too deeply in like with Michael, an untenable position.  Still, when I re-met Jacob, there was a lot of chemistry, and I realized that the failed date wasn’t because of too many feelings for Michael, but simply a dearth of feelings for the failed date.  Yes, this is a meet and re-meet story.

In March 2009, I flew to Columbus for the recruitment trip for my program.  Jacob was in my program, so he was one of the students I met.  I remembered thinking that he was cute.  I returned to the Bay, got swirled up in a whirlwind of boys, senior activities, and commencement, and didn’t think more of Jacob.  We re-met on Halloween 2009 at a mixer for our program.  As I said, there was a lot of chemistry…but it was followed by periods of inactivity.

So, Jacob and I would hang out sporadically, and after that initial chemistry-filled re-meeting, it was unclear if he and I were hanging out as friends, or if he was interested in more.  I was fine with either scenario–I thought he was cute, he was interesting and smart, and I could see us dating; still, I was bogged down by confusion, slight jealousy, and other bits of malcontent when I saw Michael.  Well, we went from hanging out sporadically to hanging out a lot/I guess we were dating.  As I felt comfortable with him, with none of the insecurities I felt with Michael, I thought that things were going well with Jacob.

We weren’t serious, but he would text me to say hi if he had been busy in lab and we hadn’t hung out in a couple days, and I wondered why he was putting so much effort into it.  Then, one day, he texted to ask if I was free to talk.  Befuddled, I told him I was.  The conversation started out with small talk, followed by this exchange, which still makes me laugh-

Jacob: So, I think you’re really cool.
Me: Uh, cool.
Jacob: And I really like you.
Me: Uh, cool.
Jacob: But I think it’s more as friends.
Me: Ok.
Jacob: Alright, I just didn’t want there to be any…confusion.  As I said, I think you’re really cool, and I think your friends are really cool, and I wouldn’t want to lose that.

And that was that.  I was very confused, though, as really?  My friends are ridiculous, and when they’re drunk, they’re often quite destructive.  As it turns out, Jacob was also dating a girl who worked on his floor, and since he’s married to his lab, it’s probably more convenient for him.  I felt a slight sense of relief when we “broke up” (despite not being together) because I had always felt guilty when we kissed–he seemed more into it than I was, and having the upper hand is not always a good thing, either.  I get bored, and then I feel guilty.

Story 3: Spring 2010

For those of you following at home, you’ll notice that there has been one main boy per academic quarter.  I didn’t plan it this way.  Things just happen!  We will now talk about Matthew (which, by your brilliant powers of deduction, you’ll have figured out was the 3rd most popular boys’ name in 1998).  There are two things you need to know about Matthew: he will be moving away from the area in the next few months and he broke up with a long-term girlfriend in February.  Alright, now we will begin the story.

Matthew is not my usual story.  While neither Michael nor Jacob wanted a relationship with me, they did have the potential to be in relationships.  Matthew was moving away soon and fresh out of a relationship.  Neither of these situations is conducive to long-term potential.  We were neutral at first but soon became friends.  I will say that our friendship isn’t because Matthew likes me despite my quirks; he really seems to embrace them.  We were in a situation where we could get to know each other as friends before any boy-girl feelings got involved, and it was a lot of fun.  I really came to appreciate Matthew as a person.

Then, confusion set in.  I felt like Matthew was treating me like a girl he liked, but it was unclear to me whether he did like me or if he was just friendly…to everyone.  Compounding the issue was when he would do something, and then tell me not to read too much into his action, and most confusing of all, he offered to help me with my “boy problems.”  That is usually not a good sign.  That’s a sign that he’s a friend. As always, I don’t know if a guy likes me until he kisses me.  When that finally happened, I was finally part of the most mutual thing I’ve been in to date.

He made me feel like he wanted me to be there, and I wanted to be there.  Things were good.  Then, things were not good.  Yes, I’m calling it a thing.  Our agreement was that we were just having some fun before he moved away, it wasn’t a relationship, it was just…nice.  But, something that I said angered him, he refused to resolve the issue, and chose to end things.  So, once again, I have had a breakup without a relationship.

It sucks.  A lot.  I valued our friendship and am still treating him like a friend, but am left wondering if he still wants to be friends.  In the situation with Michael, we “broke up” but still had the same group of friends, so we still spent a lot of time together.  It is similar with Matthew, and it’s hard to tell if he is just trying to maintain appearances, or if he also still values our friendship.  It’s also probably not a simple yes-or-no, but I am my usual ball of neuroses and I need to know.

That being said, I realize that I over-think things.  I’m enthusiastic and I invite people to do things with me and I will continue to be myself.  As that is the most self-actualized I’ve been all day, I’ll end here.


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