Dear Grace: First Time Caller

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Dear Grace

Long time listener and first-time caller. What do you do when you have female friends you like but they are self-destructive? You are older and unlike most guys, I am not in a rush any more. I used to dive straight into relationships hot and heavy like the rest of the town. I see to many people that will meet one day and be in love the next. Next thing you know, porn gifs all over twitter and they are married and popping out kids. No judgment meant here but not long later, those relationships end. Most of them don’t survive. Mostly because people are broken in Hathian and well, broken people aren’t fixed easily by one partner. They see the partnership isn’t working and they move onto the next. Women are especially bad here for seeking validation through men and relationships. They all want that guy they can pose pictures on twitter like a trophy. The guy they can show off.

Me…I am not in a hurry for all that. I want it. Don’t get me wrong. I do. But the problem I find is that most women are not patient. They want the above fast. They want the trophy that they can pose for photos and share on twitter or post porn gifs at. (Or tweet them nonstop from the same room despite living together…having whole conversations mind you via twitter.) I keep finding that these girls move on quickly. I’ll ask them out and we may go on a date or maybe two. In the time it takes me to slowly get to know them, they will have moved on because there is that dude out there that will give them the above faster. They seem to prefer the short-term validation more than the long-term reward of a slow build. Part of me thinks I should just go ahead and do it. But I can’t anymore. In my 20’s, I had that reputation of burning relationships fast and it hurts a guy’s reputation to do that. But not women’s (or at least that’s how it appears in Hathian). Men get the reputation of being “jerks” because we move on too fast but women do it too. I don’t want to do that anymore. I can’t.

Worst thing is, these women will come back around and try to date me once that trophy guy has left town, made them a single mother or just flat out used them. I end up feeling like the 2nd choice or being their “safety guy” and I admit, it hurts. It hurts to be someone’s option. I feel like a jerk for denying their advances the 2nd or 3rd time they come back around…but I feel like I am right in doing so. What should I do? Should I just keep being patient and wait for the girl that is going to be patient and go slow (which hasn’t happened in years now) or should I just start jumping in with these girls and burning through relationships again?

From First Time Caller

Dear First Time Caller

This actually hit home for me, because I have been guilty of most of what you are pointing out (the porn gifs being something I have never actually done). Everyone in Hathian is looking for their own slice of happiness. They want the good to go with the bad, which could be why they dive into things. Wanting just those precious moments before it all turns to shit. Men and women alike.

You are right broken people can’t be fixed by one partner, they can’t be fixed by any partner. It’s not a partner’s place to fix someone, but to accept where they are broken and make things a bit easier; to share the burden. That’s another issue with Hathian, everyone wants to be fixed and few look within themselves to get the job done.

The tweeting at each other, the posting pictures, it’s not as a trophy, but to share the happiness. To show others its possible, doable, and achievable. I guess in some ways its a form of showboating, showing they have what everyone else wants. Deep down they know it might not last because there is always something around the corner to remove that good feeling. Hathian is a hard place to live in.

I hear you on the impatience, if you are on my twitter, you will also have seen people criticising me for the very thing you are writing in about. I am going to do something unusual for me, I am going to share a personal story with you:

When I first came to Hathian, I met someone, that person became one of my closest friends. We dabbled in the idea of dating, but he held back, same as you, he didn’t want to rush into anything. I mistook it as a form of disinterest and we managed to get back to friendship. We spent years skirting around each other, being friends, nothing more. I became single again and we revisited the idea of dating. Again, he seemed to hold back and be disinterested whilst saying he was interested. I fucked up. I jumped into something with someone else.

He made it clear he was hurt and angry by my actions and I realised, I had made a mess of things a second time. I put my heart on my sleeve, something, that if I had done it years before, would have saved us both a lot of pain and failed relationships, I told him how I really felt. He, and I don’t blame him for this, told me it would never be revisited again, that he didn’t want to be an option. I get it, I do, it hurt, but it was deserved. My answer to this? I burnt down the relationship I was in, in the worst possible way.

I took his thoughts and feelings on board, and I listened to his advice… at last. I have been single now for longer than I remember being. I am learning to love myself. But out of all this, you know what I realised? This friend of mine, he wasn’t an option, never has been. The other men I dated were just the place holders for him. This was a hard truth to realise, and worse to realise it when its too late, and it took therapy to make me realise it. In the time I have been single, I have been on one date, organised by my daughters. There probably won’t be any more, unless it’s with my friend. I may understand his desire to never revisit things, but I will probably spend the rest of my life hoping he’s going to turn up at my door, and finally kiss me.

Your slowness is something I respect, you are being cautious, careful and romancing women, but it may be mistaken for disinterest. Chances are, if there is someone you like, she could be waiting for you to make a move.

Don’t change the way you do things, someone out there will appreciate you taking the time, just remember, with the way everyone does things in Hathian, she may not realise immediately. Keep working at it, keep going as you are, because I honestly, and truthfully think you have the right idea. “Slow and steady wins the race” right? Just make sure, when you are going slow and steady she knows you are interested. It is a fine balance, getting to know someone steadily, keeping things cautious, and making sure they know you actually do want them.

Wishing you a lot of luck

Grace.

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