This time last spring I’d decidedly cast aside all my fears about online dating and created a profile on OkCupid. When I’d set up the account, I didn’t know exactly what I was looking for, or if I was looking for anything in particular at all. But, a friend had convinced me that online dating would be the easiest way for me to throw myself in front of men to see what was out there considering it had been years since I’d last been intimate with a guy. Within days of being active on OkCupid, I’d met a guy. His messages made me laugh and blush; they were equally funny and flirty. And, after a day or so of messaging back and forth on the app, we agreed to meet up at a bar on a Wednesday night to get to know each over drinks. Immediately, he and I hit it off. The chemistry was there. The physical attraction was undeniable. The conversation flowed effortlessly.
Fast-forward to a couple months later, he and I were spending a significant amount of time together and things between us were on the fast-track. I didn’t have the courage to slow it down, so I shoved my reservations to the back of my mind and followed his flow. I reasoned that things were moving along quickly because we liked each other a lot. And yet, despite us liking each other so much and so quickly and spending so much time together, I had no claim to him and he had none to me. In fact, for the entire duration of our “situation,” we both maintained active profiles on OkCupid. And although several conversations were had about deactivating our profiles and who should be the first to do it, it never happened.
Around late August, things between him and I had turned sour. Aside from great sex, not much else was happening between us. Eventually, it became clear to me that we were not in a relationship, not even close to it. We had become sex partners. Dates had become fewer. Conversation had become minimal. The chemistry, the intimacy had fizzled out. We fucked at night and carried on with our lives the next day. Once the realization hit me that I was just his sex buddy, I started to feel used and ashamed and hurt each time we had sex because, up until that point in my life, I’d never believed myself to be that kind of girl.
The kind of girl who has casual sex with a man she’s not in a committed, monogamous relationship with. That girl who’s totally okay with acting as a placeholder until a man decides who he really wants to be with. The kind of girl who sacrifices her self-respect for deep strokes and pillow talk night after night. That girl who believes it when ain’t-shit-men tell her that she isn’t good enough, that she is inadequate, and that she needs more of this and a little less of that before she’ll ever have a chance at being a man’s one and only. The kind of girl who so desperately wants a man to choose her, to elect her to be his, that she’ll do damn near anything to make him change his mind. The kind of girl who loses all resolve and relinquishes all self-restraint when he shows up smelling good and saying all the right shit, even though she knows this is a game to him and he plays it so well.
That girl who lets him inside of her because she can’t yet muster the strength to deny him, even on nights when she doesn’t desire him. The kind of girl who knows better than to trust him but can’t keep herself from believing the lies he tells and accepting the excuses he makes. That girl who shrinks herself in his presence, makes herself small so he can assume himself to be smarter, wittier, bigger than her. The kind of girl whose self-image and self-worth is so fragile, so fickle when she’s with him that all it takes is one verbal blow for her to silently crumble on the inside. That girl who knows she should have left a long time ago but stays because she’s convinced herself that if she sticks around for a little while longer, maybe he’ll wake up one day and be madly in love with her. That girl who realizes that he never intended to love her or care about her, but still, she can’t trick her mind into believing otherwise.
I’m not that girl now, but last year, I was definitely that girl in a lot of ways. I can own that now. I’ve forgiven myself…a little. The denial has subsided…somewhat. There are still days when my mind wanders to last summer and I’m forced to contend with how I foolish I was then, how I acted against my own self-interests time after time. In fact, two weeks ago, he called me and we stayed on the phone for an hour catching up. He was his usual controlling self, steering the conversation along in his favor, strategically evading the questions he did not want me to know the answers to. Before hanging up, he suggested that we link up soon and I agreed. He’s since texted me twice to make plans to meet. I’ve curved him both times.
I guess I’m just not ready to be that girl again. Then again, maybe I am.