I was head over heels in love with him and became convinced pretty quickly that he was “The One.” He was funny, smart, and mysterious in his own way and he took me on some of the most amazingly adventurous dates I’d ever been on. I felt like I was living in a fairytale for eight months… until he disappeared into thin air without warning — no more calls, no more texts, not even an email. He vanished like a ghost and to this day, I still have no idea why.
He made all the bad stuff seem insignificant. He was the kind of person who could make the worst days melt away like they never happened. I could get locked out of my car, lose $500, need to replace my windshield, and get fired from my job all on the same day (which all did happen, by the way) and everything would be restored to normalcy the second I saw him. Only later did I realize it’s because he didn’t actually care about any of it. Those bad things became insignificant to me because they were to him.
He was consistent. He’d always text me at the same times, call me at the same times, and make plans with me on the same days… For the first time in my life, I had someone I could depend on to be there consistently. It was like clockwork, and it was beautiful in its simplicity. Looking back, I can see now that he only reached out to me when he was working because he was bored. He’d call me when he got out because he had a long drive home alone. He’d make plans with me every Saturday because all of his friends were busy. I was a back-burner girlfriend. I was just something to fill in the silence.
He never pried or pushed me to let him in. In the first few weeks, he’d asked me some questions that I was uncomfortable answering, and when I told him as much, he never asked them again. He was always so considerate like that — he’d just leave it where I was comfortable leaving it. In reality, he clearly never asked again because he really didn’t care what my answer was — he was just being nosey. When I didn’t give up an answer promptly, he forgot he was even curious about it to begin with.
He was extremely generous. He bought me dinner almost every night, always insisted on paying for whatever we did, and constantly gave me gas money to get to and from wherever he was working. He wanted to provide and I thought that doling out cash was how he was showing me he cared. In hindsight, I think he did it out of guilt or pity — I’m genuinely torn between the two. He easily made 15 times more than I did, so he may have thought it was his contribution to my financial well-being because I wasn’t capable of providing for myself, like I needed his help. Or, he thought that offering me money would lessen his guilt of using me as a plaything. Ugh.
He made me want to be better. He was well-traveled, cultural, successful for his age, and hard working. I really wanted to contribute to the relationship in the ways that he did, but I never realized it was because I didn’t feel good enough for him. I felt like I needed to work harder to get on his level and maybe then I’d get the sort of attention from him that I actually wanted. Clearly, it wasn’t a very healthy relationship but I couldn’t see it at the time.
He was averse to conflict. He’d just go silent at the first signs of a potential conflict, or he’d subtly hint things while we were out on dates, like how he didn’t want to settle down until he was 30. When I asked him what he meant by “settle down,” he’d go deaf and dumb and say nothing at all before changing the subject entirely. How was I supposed to know that “I don’t want to settle down” actually translated to “I have no desire to be with you long-term but for now, this is fun”?
Deep down, I think I knew it would never work. Dating him was like being invisible. I wasn’t even there as a trophy — I was there as a fill-in-the-blanks-almost-girlfriend-thingy. I was the one he took on double dates and on trips that his friends in relationships went on. I was his “I’m bored at work” text-friend or even his “I don’t want to be the third-wheel” stand-in girlfriend. I was never even good enough to be noticed, but I think that was the point — when I was gone, no one would question it.
My desire to find a decent guy blinded me to the fact that he wasn’t actually it. I was so tired of douchebags who cheated on me and treated me like crap that I went entirely blind to everything he was doing to me. On paper, he seemed like one of the best guys I’d come across in a long time. Looking back, I realize that’s not saying much. Turns out, he was just another a**hole.
He made me feel entirely disposable. If I wasn’t, he wouldn’t have been able to throw me away like that, without even so much of an “it’s not working” text. Years later, I still have yet to even hear an “I’m sorry, here’s why I threw you away like a disposable razor.”
I don’t entirely regret my stupidity. It taught me that just because someone seems like the best guy you’ve ever met, that doesn’t mean you need to stay if you know he’s not right for you. You can’t be afraid to let a good fish go in the hopes of finding a better fish. There are other good guys out there, it just takes time to uncover them — and sometimes, “good fish” are really just douchebags in a fish costumes anyway.
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