He comes out of the blue on some social media site and you wrack your brain trying to remember him. Had he been a good guy or a bad guy? Wasn’t there something? He messages wondering if you are finally single and he can date you. You are charmed by his words and the past melts away. He’s working abroad but will return soon. The two of you talk for three hours on the phone and he starts texting and calling all the time. He even video chats in the middle of the day introducing you to his colleagues and you feel so happy and glad. Of course, there are a few minor red flags but you just decide to be careful. You know you look a little too hard for those warning signs. And he is already “we-ing” you! We can live in Florida or Rome. We should go to a Giants’ game. We should get married. It’s a little fast but you knew him in high school. Sometimes these things move fast. Right?
And then one morning it all changes. He texts he wants to talk. Unfortunately, life is a little crazy and you message back you will call later. You get his response…
Him: Hey you. What’s your number?
What’s he talking about?
You text back: What number? You’ve called a bunch of times…
You’re a little annoyed but want to appear cool.
You add: Phone? Landline? Social security? Pin? ;-)
And then it hits you. You make the horrible realization he’s texting someone else at the same time and it ain’t his sister. The You sitting at the back of the bar sipping a martini with a plateful of cigarette butts thinks, “And here it is….” The You still doodling guys’ names on her binder thinks, “Please….nooooooo…” You feel embarrassed for believing this fairy tale and know there is no coming back from this. The "we’s" have dissipated and cold hard reality has returned. You become oddly scientific as you watch this spider trying to wriggle his way out of his own web. His remonstrations are much like the stages of grief and you actually start labeling them.
In two hours, either he’s finished talking to her or gotten his story straight and all the phones start ringing.
Landline message: So…
Text: Been trying to call you, strange you’re not picking up.
A few hours later…
Text: I don’t understand what’s happened to us? Can you please respond? I’ve called you numerous times only to get nothing! How can you ignore me? I must admit you fooled me, I was totally falling or had fallen for you…oh well.
Text: Seriously is this what you do? It feels funny! I don’t think I let my heart go this far for a while and then nothing!! CRAZY!
Text: What the hell! What happened? Do you act lame like this always? I’m freaked out!
Text: What happened to you? I don’t understand? We were talking every day. Planning to fall in love and start a life together. My heart is filled with sadness. Please tell me. I was so falling for us.
Text: I would marry you tomorrow. Please honey love me back like I’m loving you, can’t you feel us and what we could be? What about our plans? Baby
Text: Call my phone please.
Text: My heart is aching ok
Text: Will you pick me up at LAX and spend a couple of days with me? Please?
Text: Baby I’m here! I’ll call you when I wake up. I want you to pick me and not leave my side! Let’s be together and love beyond our dreams!! Ok Baby
Text: Hey, please pick up.
Text: Please talk to me
Your only response is a text: This is not going to work. I wish you only the best.
You get a rambling message about how he can’t believe you broke up with him in a text and how he now understands why you’ve been by yourself so long and a week later he texts you that it’s a bummer you’re a lesbian. So not only is he a liar and a cheater, he’s also a mean liar and cheater.
In the stages of grief there is DEPRESSION and ACCEPTANCE. You do not witness these but hope he hurts at least a little. He blocks you on Facebook, you suspect because he doesn’t want you warning others. You are pretty sure he easily found someone to take your place. You realize he’s pulled this stuff in the past and has probably left a path wide with heartbreak. But it still hurts. You remind yourself you were lucky you got out early. He’s a player. He senses what you want to hear and says it to get what he wants. He’s the reason you’re so afraid. He’s the reason many walk alone. Nobody wants to be hurt that badly. He’s the reason.
You review the texts and phone calls and all the platitudes come flying at you. In a world of guys like this you still “led with an open heart” and “loved like you’d never been hurt.” He tried to take advantage of you but “talk is cheap” and “actions speak louder than words.”
You think your feelings are unique and special but actually you are the stuff of a really bad romance novel. You try to garner some kind of truth from the situation but the truth is there are people who make you never want to put yourself out there again because you can’t bear the potential of hurting that much. And you hate him for this.