I practiced golf with her last week; it was our first face to face meeting. Although seemingly nervous, she asked me to come along for a ride after so we can talk further. I declined. I guess I was hesitant to let her in so soon. Even more, I wanted to seem like a bit of a challenge.
It takes unusually long for me to warm up to someone. Even though we’ve been talking for two months now, I still can’t help but keep her at a distance. No matter how interested she appeared, somewhere in the back of my mind still lingers the thought of, “she doesn’t know me yet. Once she sees the real me, she’ll back off.”
Constant doubt resulted from many years of failure. Many girls have shown initial interest, to only pull away without warning, leaving me confused and angry. They must have discovered something ugly about me. I’m probably not savvy enough, not cool enough, not interesting enough, not popular enough. It might be my teeth or my voice. Something is wrong, and I don’t know what.
The quickest dabble of all time? Listen to this.
One time a girl wrote her number on my hand at a college party. I texted her a few days later, no reply. Okay… Then one day she and her guy friend pass me in the hallway. We awkwardly smiled at each other. Out of nowhere, she texted me on a random night asking to hang out. After a 40 minute drive back from work, she arrived at my dorm lobby. I opened the main entrance door for her and as we’re walking towards my room, she fled to the elevator and waved goodbye. The whole interaction consisted of a “hi.”
How F-ing weird? From what I heard, she was a strange person.
But that’s been my life — stories after stories of hopeless romance. The disappointments are often self-inflicted because I’m the type who enjoys putting all his eggs in one basket. And the girls I chase are always a tat above my league.
The way I’ve learned to cope is by shielding myself with a false persona. Being an asshole seems to work better with the ladies than my natural self. Something about faking made me more bold and certain. More importantly, I wouldn’t have to admit that nobody likes the real me when I get rejected.
In my junior year of college, I adapted a quintessential bad boy image. It started with multiple drunken arrests. Then stealing from friends. Lying about everything and nothing. I even pierced my lips along with a double piercing on my ear. I’ve never hated myself so much deep down. And when you hate yourself, you think the world dislikes you too.
I’ve healed a lot since then, but scars never fully recover. That’s why every time I meet someone new, that old defensive mechanism, AKA the jerk, comes out to make sure I don’t get hurt. On the surface, I’m careless. Underneath, I’m over-analyzing and dissecting every little detail, wondering what her texts mean, how much she actually likes me, and whether I’m saying the right things or not. Every time she takes too long to respond or doesn’t reply at all, my heart drops to the floor.
I’m too invested. I can’t help it. The only way to combat the anxiety of possible rejection is to deny my vulnerability — at least in front of her.
Just yesterday, because I thought I left a good first impression, I decided to text my new acquaintance to keep the iron hot. I kept reminding myself nothing that’s happened so far is a big deal. Just play it cool. But when she told me she went hiking with her friends last week after declining to go with me, I collapsed again.
Part of acting like an asshole is pretending to be the prize in the relationship. The whole time, I told myself she was lucky to have me. When in reality, I need her more than she needed me. After my breakup half a year ago, then a humiliating rejection two months back, loneliness has been a familiar feeling that I’ve eagerly tried to avoid.
I say all of this to convey this: I might ghost her just because she seems to lack the level of interest I’m expecting. I’m too insecure. If you hurt me 10%, I’ll return 30%. That’s precisely what I’ve done with some of the women from before — driving them away. It’s petty, I know. But being a jerk is the only way I know to protect my fragile sense of self. I’m sorry.
This post was previously published on Medium.
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