So I stink at imaginative titles. That’s just something I’m no good at. This is really just a confusing situation for me.
I dated a guy during high school, we’re still very good friends. Or rather, more accurately, we dated 3 different times, but that’s just a detail. Still, we’re excellent friends nowadays, which I’m grateful for. We’ve got enough similar interests to have excellent conversations and we know each other well enough to know what few topics just aren’t worth the trouble that they might cause, unless we really want a good debate. There isn’t really anything that is totally off-limits with us. We’ve also got totally different ideas of our personal interests when it comes to academics, which is excellent. Both of us are entirely too competitive when it happens to be our particular area of interest. So the different interests there are also great. We can have fun talking and yet also not get too angry with competition. He’s been one of my best friends since our sophomore year of high school, and he’s always helped me out when I needed it.
Not that things were perfect, clearly not. And we’ve had our problems, but at the very least, we’ve been good friends. I know I can always ask him for help, and he’d help me if he could. I would do almost anything to help him out if he asked me. He’s one of my best friends after all. And that’s all it should be. We broke up the last time 4 years ago. I still liked him when we broke up, but I thought I was over it finally. I thought I had finally (in Germany of course) gotten completely over him. We should be friends at this point and not even think of anything more.
Because last year before I left for Germany he flat told me that he would never date me again. I understood. After all, I seriously screwed up our relationship. There isn’t anyone else to blame but me. It was my fault that we ended up breaking up. It’s not like I could fault him for telling me that we would only ever be friends. That’s the smart thing to say and do. And I would never have pushed against that. I’d have been more than happy just staying friends.
But I saw him this last weekend. And it just reminded me of every reason I ever dated him. He’s intelligent, brilliantly so in fact, funny and sweet, not to mention handsome. He’s a gentleman really. And I know he’s still attracted to me, found out he was last year when I left too. Which of course just leads to far more confusion on my part. Because while this is great on one level – it’s just more trouble. Of course, I realized even before I saw him again (not that I wanted to admit it) that I still was using him as the measure of any guy who ever showed any interest in me. Which of course is a measure to failure, because beyond me expecting them to have every quality that my ex has, I’ve gotten to learn from my mother that I’m “intimidating” and so most guys fail my internal test on sheer fact that they don’t speak to me well, or they get upset about my being smart. I still don’t get it.
My mom explained it this way though – I’m intelligent, extremely intelligent in fact. I’m opinionated and independent. I know what I want and I go for it, at least most of the time. I’m well-read and I can discuss pretty much anything at least partially. I like politics and debate on religion, politics, economics, and pretty much anything else.
She says that guys find it intimidating when women are smart and know what they want. Which means I’m automatically in trouble with guys like that.
I’ve been reading at a post-college level by U.S. standards since I was 7 years old, and I’ve always been reading literature. I read Anna Karenina when I was 11, Moby Dick at 10, 1984 when I was 8…and my favorite novel has been Dracula since I read it at 7. My more recent pick for secondary favorite novel is War and Peace, which I read in 2 weeks when I was 15. I’ve always been well-read, I love reading. Plus, I never had many friends as a child, I’m very awkward around people. So I always retreated to books. Which means that I’ve been very good at reading for a very long time. I read an average of 8.000 words per minute.
I’m a history student, and I have chosen to concentrate on Eastern European, which is unusual I know. But I’m good with dates and times, and I love historical facts. I can hold my own in literature, religion and philosophy. I can fully admit that I have a selective political knowledge base, though I try to learn more. I’m absolutely awful in math and sciences, which means I avoid those, as I don’t like to focus on things I’m not so good at. I’m very opinionated, that is true. And I don’t sugar-coat my opinions to make people happy. I’m not rude or abrasive, not most of the time. But I won’t play at kindness just because someone is uncomfortable with the fact that I’m well aware of what I think. I can nearly always back up my opinions with facts or reasoning. Oh, and then I know what I want to do with my life. I pretty much always have known, so that’s another thing.
Pretty much, mom says it means that I “scare” most guys. They’re afraid to approach me, or that’s what she has to say about it. Which just annoys me to no end. Because I don’t think I’m anything unusual or special. I’m just me, which isn’t much. But going with my mother’s observations, I’m “intimidating” to nearly every man I’ve ever met.
My ex isn’t afraid of me at all. He isn’t intimidated. Which is something rare enough that it definitely is great. He’ll hold down a debate with me, a conversation, he’ll argue if he thinks I’m wrong. I’m sure the sheer fact that he’s one of the few guys I’ve met that isn’t intimidated by me is a lot of it, but he’s not the only one. And yet, beyond all that I’m attracted to him just as much as I was 4 years ago. Talking to him is fun, refreshing really, and also something I’ve missed quite a bit. We didn’t talk a whole lot for nearly the whole time I was in Germany. It’s only been in the last 3 months that we started talking again.
I shouldn’t even think about it. Being friends should be fine. But then, I know that I still like him on some level. And I know he feels something for me. But I also know that he’s probably going to end up dating someone else, and that will just end up hurting down the line for me. I should just do what I can usually do, which is just detach and not look back. Impossible in this case though. Because I really do care about him, and even being friends is better than nothing.
Pretty much, my relationship luck is atrocious. I should have been over him years ago. I’ve been on dates ever since, it’s just a matter of nothing ever seemed to work, even if I tried to make the relationships work. And yet, I can’t even deny the fact that I look at what I want from a guy that I’d date, and pretty much every guy who has ever expressed interest in me fails at it. So pretty much I’m at a loss here. I know that I would date him again, if he were interested. I doubt that he is, or ever would be. Which is just confusing and leads to more trouble for me. And no matter how much mutual attraction there might be, we’ll probably be nothing more than friends. That’s both great and also just a tiniest bit frustrating.
So pretty much, this weekend made me realize that I’m clearly the one who unintentionally makes my life difficult for myself in terms of relationships.∗