Editor’s note: In case you missed them, catch up on Nikki’s previous Dating Diaries posts here.
I have feelings for a musician. Famous last words.
My first instincts were to definitely not have feelings for him. When a friend of mine was starting something with him a while back, he texted her in the middle of the night that he was kicking one girl out of his house so another could come over. As he later explained it, the girl he kicked out was just a friend and the girl coming over was a crush and the text was, of course, meant for someone else.
Another time, he and I were talking about how men my age struggle to have the emotions they think they should and he disclosed that he has that problem and it was probably due to our generation’s overexposure to porn. He’s a blunt guy and a cute guy and someone I would never, ever let myself have feelings for. That would be dumb.
But a few weeks ago, we started texting pretty much every day, just to talk about random things like movies, dinner party themes and stuffed crust pizza. Turns out, he is also a funny guy and we both like to watch romantic comedies. After a night at a bar with some friends, we made out and I was very explicit that it would be a one-time thing and there would be no sex (I am a party animal). He said something about having a crush on me and how he wanted to slow down and not rush into sex anymore, but I figured they were just lines he was used to saying.
When we parted ways the next morning, instead of thinking about him and whether he liked me, I walked away thinking about all the things I had to do that day. It felt like it really was just a one-time thing and it was such a relief not to feel entangled and anxious.
But — and there’s always a but — as the hours and days passed and we talked more and actually became friends, I did start to like him. I got what experts in the dating sciences call “bass-playered.” I went from being completely distrusting to believing him when he said he liked me. I thought about him a lot. I imagined what he looks like in winter clothes. He told me that all he wanted to do was eat Whataburger with me. And one beautiful evening, he said we should actually make time and go on a first date. The next night we saw a movie, went for late night pie and then he ended things between us as we were getting the check.
Soon, he’ll be leaving for tour for seven weeks and he doesn’t want to “miss” me while he’s away. It just now occurred to him it would be better not to complicate things. I had a vivid and terrifying flashback to when my last boyfriend broke up with me even though “loved” me and I’m special blah blah blah, but he would be moving away in 9+ months and didn’t want to be in pain over the separation. It was just so much bullshit I almost vomited.
I do see the practical rewards to not being in a long distance relationship, but I would rather have tons of fun with someone I really care about now than try to avoid possible future pain. Spoiler alert guys: It always ends in pain. Someone will eventually die. In this case, we hadn’t even started dating. Maybe he wouldn’t have liked me for some other reason and missing me would never have been the issue. Or maybe he just doesn’t like me already and this is what he decided to say.
I honestly took the news really hard. It was so sudden. Twelve hours before we’d been kissing. He was the first person in a long time that I’d been infatuated with and that feeling is so lovely. He had dropped the word “relationship” several times and I had expectations. It’s such a mindfuck when a guy does the whole “it’s not you, it’s me” thing because you want to believe it but you know you can’t. I mean, I actually thought we were on a first date but the whole time he was probably plotting about when to dump me. And then there was the fact that I had been foolish enough to go against my own reason and trust him with my feelings.
After I got my anger and sense of betrayal under control, I decided to just let it go. I decided to believe that he had liked me and that he told me otherwise as soon as he realized it was true. What else could I do?
I only wished that he had known earlier or that noncommittal men like him would at least go around wearing a sign so that you know not to get involved. But you know what? He totally was wearing a sign. I already knew he went through women quickly and he told me he wasn’t expecting to have feelings for someone. I was so flattered to be the first (?) girl that he wanted to date seriously in a long (?) time, that I didn’t find four years of one-night stands alarming or odd. It’s so clear looking back that he wasn’t going to be able to be serious about me. And yet I don’t know what I could have done differently. He told me he liked me and I liked him and from that moment it was game over for me being cautious.
After having it not work out once again with one of the few people I actually thought I could really like, I would love to starting protecting myself from this kind of heartache. But not only does it seem unfair to dismiss him because of the judgments I made about his past and in spite of what he’s saying to my face, it seems impossible. Who among us is strong enough to be tough and guarded around the guy she likes? Please write how-to books. I will pay you cash money.