On my mind, but not my heart

Having gotten some excellent comments on the M-phenomenon from my fave bloggers here, I’ve come back again and again to something.

Four years ago I split from the absolute and only love of my life.  It was horrible, soul breaking, heart wrenching, mind and life altering, painful, confusing..  Every day that I woke up (well, the nights that I even slept, that is) from that point forward, it all felt so wrong and unnatural, like a split from literal reality had occurred.  Had the chronic unshakeable sense that I was in the midst of a nightmare which couldn’t possibly be actually happening, but that I could not wake from.  Horrifying on a level which I never even could have imagined was possible prior in my life..even after two divorces…it was dreadful to say the least…

B was for Barely there...

Anyway, I met a guy, “B” maybe a year or so after this “split”.  B was handsome, funny, super nice…and he asked me out.  Well as “over” as things were with the ex, we were still very much “carrying on” in many different ways, neither really letting go, but not together per se either….  So I declined this great guy’s date request.   Strangely enough, I suddenly kept seeing this guy everywhere.  Every time I was out with friends..there he was.  The grocery store..OMG he’s here too!  On lunch with co-workers…B, too, was having lunch there!  It became stranger and stranger… and was extraordinarily coincidental.  Finally, I just decided that all signs pointed to the fact that I should at least try to go out with him a few times.

For three months, it went well.  We had a great time.  He was truly fabulous.  I even lessened my time spent with the ex (and ceased sexual activity with the ex mostly) because I felt I owed a real effort to this guy and of course, owed him an attempt at fidelity as well.  I didn’t really embrace this time away from the ex though – in my heart and in all other ways, that was really where I wanted to be.  I was more making an effort to force that lingering non-relationship-relationship to cease rather than actually trying in this new relationship with B. 

So after about three months of doing “this” (whatever “this” was), he and I were at dinner one evening at my most favorite restaurant.  He seemed a little distant, but nothing too blatant, so I just avoided it.  I’m not nosey by nature and I really believe in respecting people’s privacy.  Plus, I really didn’t want to have one of those “what are you thinking/feeling” conversations because the ugly truth was, I had no desire to share with B what my real feelings were…being that they were not even really there..but constantly with the ex…no matter how hard I was trying to force that to stop and make my feelings for him subside.  For these two reasons, I never mentioned his being more quiet than usual and the evening went okay, all in all.

How I felt with B

The following day, he called me at work asking to talk.  I felt really nervous about this because although I wasn’t being outright deceitful to him, I really could not(and had NO desire to) share my sincere feelings with this guy..you know….they were definitely 110% with the ex and it tore my heart in two to have to keep blowing the ex off, just to be “honest” …err…straight with this guy I was seeing.  And more ugly truth here was that my plan wasn’t even working.  The ex wasn’t listening anyway and regularly “rejecting” my ex was merely getting more and more painfully impossible, not easier as I had hoped.  So, needless to say, I was not looking forward to this “talk”.  In fact, the thought alone made me downright nauseated.

So we talk on the phone during my lunch…  And he says, Kay, I really like you and I suppose there’s really no reason to stop seeing you, but I can’t shake the feeling that you’re just going through the motions of this…Sure, you’re with me and that’s nice and all, but it just seems like you’re just not really with me.  And I just want to know from you if I should bother keeping on with this.

I was stunned.  I could not say anything.  I mean literally, I could not even respond.  After a few moments of silence, he even said, Hello?  Are you still there?

I finally choked out,  I really have to go.  Promise I’ll call you later though. And I hung up the phone without letting him agree.

How could I argue this? He was so dead-on, it was scary.  So, I knew I either had to admit this (the very thing I’d been “hiding” from him from the start) or pretty much just lie straight out and deny it.  I respected him; I even really liked him.  I didn’t want to do either.  Really, all I wanted was to just be back with my ex and thus, solve the whole damned issue across the board.

…of course, I called him back later and admitted that he was right, apologized profusely, and told him I understood totally if he felt it best to stop seeing me.  He did.  It ended right then.  I liked him – I really did, but other than some guilt over letting it go on for three months, I really never skipped a beat.  In fact, my “ex” and I went to the movies and had crazy wild OH MY GAWD it’s BEEN TOO EFFIN’ LONG sex that very night…

And all felt right and balanced in the world again (as effed up as THAT truth is!), so even my guilt didn’t last as long as it probably should have…

After much reflection, this past event keeps popping up again and again in my mind.  I wonder if this is not maybe something similar to what’s going on with M now?  …only maybe this time, it’s both of us feeling this “half in” way a little…or maybe even more him this time and only a bit is coming from me?

I know my heart’s not fully in any of  this (M, dating, sex, whatever…), but my mind is in it some…  And maybe M just has a similar struggle…  What even happens when you put two mostly absent people into one relationship together?  A disconnected connection.

10 responses to “On my mind, but not my heart

  1. …and most of the relationships that exist today due to convenience in family, taxes, salary, sex and security (though the sex is only temporary).

    Good for you for not settling and being honest…maybe next time you’ll feel more compelled to come out with it on your own instead of waiting for a confrontation?

    • I would like to think I am a “big” enough human being to do that Miki…but I don’t know that I am… I sometimes think we’re all broken in ways and so these kinds of brutal honesties might be necessary in the majority of “connections” these days..and yet the truth is, if I didn’t at least try, I’m sure I’d remain stuck in that place loving and craving what’s dead and gone. That’s selfish, I know..ugh..and it’s actually hard for me to admit even in and to myself! How does ones attempt to move on w/ themselves while still fully and crazy in love with someone else? I’ve pondered this so much. Do I tell people, “Hey, I’m totally, madly, deeply in love with someone already, but I can’t be with him….and I need to keep trying to move on with my life….so no matter what transpires between us, at best, I might give you my affection, my fidelity, my mind, even maybe my body sometimes, but you have less than lottery-odds of ever getting my heart…sooo ya wanna go out?”
      That would be the most humane and honest thing to do…but my “dance card” probably wouldn’t ever fill up…and I’ve the feeling I’d lead a sad and lonely life with my defining characteristic being, “I once loved someone…”
      ..but the guilt at *not* sharing this truth with people who attempt to create a relationship w/me or try to get close(er) to me is really heavy for a typical straight-shooter as myself. The selfish side of me wins over this I guess…
      Thanks for commenting and sharing your thoughts, girl 🙂

      • It’s not selfish at all to indulge in good things…if you don’t do it, then who else will do it for you?

        It’s very hard to take the time to get over someone, if that’s what you indeed wish to do, but that time is necessary in order to not drag someone else’s feelings into it. I used to jump from one relationship to the next because I couldn’t stand being without that adoration, but I’m a year sober from serial relationships (they should have chips for that!) and I’m finally figuring out that taking the time to actually get over the last one is helping me to find someone who meets all of my standards. Hopefully because of that, I won’t have to “get over” the next one, as we may have a fighting chance to survive 🙂

  2. I try to stop by each day to read your posts. I like this one a great deal, having seen this happen before and had it happen to me, especially with online dating. Too many people are only half-in and like Miki said because many exist due to convenience. As cheesy as it might be the John Mayer song, “Half of My Heart” is dead-on! I am not a fan of void-filling in any manner when it comes to people, you end up hurting others only to make yourself temporarily feel better.

    • Firecracker, I’m so delighted to know you stop by!!! That made me smile SO big 😀
      GAWD…you know what? The way you said that, just made me get a mental picture of a whole slew of us empty-hearted/broken people, running around desperately trying to repair ourselves, and in so doing, selfishly breaking little pieces of the *others* out there…perpetuating the whole “half-in’ concept that’s already running rampant. That’s horrible 😦 And, I’m so sorry it’s happened to you..it gives me a whole new perspective of this yukky thing… I’ve not listened to that JM song (I LOVE him btw)..so I’m going to go *right now* and listen to it.. I’m kinda scared of it; his songs always touch me deeply in some way (cheesy or not!), but somehow I feel like I have to hear it…
      Thank you for reading and commenting! Hope I hear from you again!!

  3. I think you may be spot on, and I guess the only way to know is to talk to him about it. I’m kind of a “lay all your cards on the table” kinda gal though, which usually gets me into trouble, especially since most men aren’t really “talkers”, at least not in an emotional sense. I don’t think most men really think about these things either, they have been taught from a young age that they shouldn’t, and I think it’s just not in their masculine nature to think on such an emotional level as we do. But… would we want them to, somehow I doubt it.

    I think you can date someone you like, and just enjoy it, it doesn’t have to mean anything really. He’s clearly not “the one”, or whatever you personally call that intense connection when you meet someone where it all just clicks. I have read a lot about how maybe it’s not supposed to feel so intense when it’s right, maybe it’s supposed to be more gradual, but I still think that’s bullshit. I think all that about gradual stuff is personally selling myself short. You are a lot like me in an emotional sense, you feel connections with people, and if the connection isn’t there, you have a hard time just enjoying them. I’m that way with friends too, I either immensely enjoy them, or I’d just rather not have them as a close friend, it’s not that I don’t like them, but I don’t feel that connection on a more spiritual, emotional, deeper level.

    Maybe that is your “challenge” right now, to see if you can just enjoy him, knowing it’s not going to be anything deeper? I have done that before, and it didn’t hurt me emotionally or anything. I personally am at a different place right now though, I’m not settling for less than fireworks, I’d rather be alone. But over time, I may go back to just dating for the sake of doing something and enjoying company.

  4. I’m “dating” for mostly the same reason V..just to occupy my time and keep getting “out” there at least trying to enjoy life and not curl up in that broken spot inside me, hanging out forever… believe me, I’ve served my time doing that already and it *has* felt like a self-inflicted prison sentence..fast forward 4 years to today…ughh…my only crime being that I fell in love once..ahhh..that sounds so pathetic to me even..ughh…
    I don’t blame you for not wanting to settle..but what about those of us who have only that option? I know I have a lot to offer a relationship/a good man/whatever…and while I may not be able to give anyone *all* I have to offer right now (ever?), should I waste what I do have to give? Ugh…life is just freakin’ weird, girl!! I dunno if this is M’s deal or not , but as strange as it feels, in some ways, I wonder if this is actually the best balance possible for me under *my* circumstances? I can’t possibly be cruel enough to be w/someone who totally adores me and falls for me..my guilt *does* take over then and I feel they rightfully deserve more than I have to give so I’m wrong to hold on …but since M seems only half-in (or whatever this is!) anyway, then my half-in stands far less chance of ever hurting him, which although the whole thing feels “off” to my true nature, I’m not so sure it’s not the best case scenario for me while I’m in this place myself? I’d always rather be the one who gets hurt than carry that ungodly weight around of being the one who hurt someone…to me. THAT’S the worst…ughhhhh… and for now at least, M can’t possibly hurt me..and I really don’t think I could do much damage to him either…. Maybe that’s the ideal case for someone like me?
    Does this even make any sense? This topic really brings out the “Devil’s advocate” in me, confuses me, and scares me all at one time..so my thoughts may not come out as clear as I usually try to be…
    I love your thoughts though. It’s so nice to think someone kinda gets it!
    BTW..M and I did have a bit of a “talk” last night…noooo not the really BIG stuff I posted about here (OMG NO…I don’t discuss “the” ex EVER, EVER EVER!)….but some of the easier, more trifling day-to-day issues… hmmm…..

    • I see what you are saying, exactly what you are saying, believe it or not. And if you think that is where he is as well, then maybe there is nothing wrong with it, if you two can enjoy each others company until or if you ever heal and find a stronger connection with someone else, more power to you! There is nothing wrong with it. I don’t think however that you won’t ever get over the ex. I think when you meet the right person, all thoughts of him will be gone, or at least nothing more than distant memories. You have a very warm heart and still have a lot to give to the right person, when you meet him, you will know. Until then girl, have fun…. unless you do REALLY think he’s still married or is hiding something you consider immoral or wrong, then of course you need to stop seeing M. But if it’s just that he’s half in and you are half in, no reason to not just enjoy the time you do spend with each other.

  5. Kay, your posts are great and thank you for putting all your thoughts and questions and reflections out there!! I love how you’re not willing to just go about your life and love without thinking about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it and what feels right and what doesn’t.

    And I think maybe you hit on something when you said ‘I wonder if this is actually the best balance possible for me under my circumstances?’. Because when your heart’s not fully into something, then how can you be expected to give anyone all of your heart? Maybe your heart is as present as possible when you’re with him, but retreats when you’re not… because that’s all it’s able to do. And even though it may not be in your nature to feel this way… sometimes I think that we operate in our own very best interests, even if we don’t realize what we’re doing. Does that make sense? Like, you may not know why you feel or don’t feel a certain way about M, but there’s a good reason for it. I’m a big believer in doing what feels ‘right’, even if I can’t always explain what ‘right’ is, or why I feel that way. I trust my instincts.

    Anyway, thanks for getting me thinking tonight!!

  6. Ahhh..the lovely Ms. Streetlight 🙂 Umm, when I read “Maybe your heart is as present as possible when you’re with him, but retreats when you’re not… because that’s all it’s able to do”, I was absolutely taken A BACK girl! That is amazing insight and feels to fit precisely into this whole dynamic for me! Exactly! I don’t know how to be half-in anything remotely emotional, so I do give all I can when I’m with him, but then when I’m away from him it all becomes clear again for what it really is to/for me at this point in my life.
    Wow girl..I missed this comment earlier (and I apologize)..everything you wrote really hit home with this!
    I’m glad I could get you thinking..and I’m so grateful for your comment! Thank you 🙂 🙂

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