Sometimes The Voyeur gives me a hard time for being an optimist, for believing that people can change, for putting my heart out there in the hopes that I’ll find someone in the dumpster fire that is modern dating. But I secretly believe that he wishes he were less cynical, more like me. I mean, life’s better on my side, right?
I know, of course, that he and I inhabit the same world, and having a different perspective only alters our experience of reality, not reality itself. I am clinging, white knuckles bared, to my view of things, to the hope that there’s someone out there (preferably in my Bumble search radius) who would be happy to join forces with me for the long haul.
What brought on this introspective post, you ask? Well, I got dumped last night. And no matter how gently rejection is delivered, it is still a velvet hammer of shitty truth. Despite the utter sincerity and adorable awkwardness of the messenger, the message that you’re not (fill in the blank) enough is a hard pill to swallow.
Over the past year, I’ve experienced frequent indirect rejection — the countless ghostings, the men who appear, excite, then fade away as quickly as they came. As a result, I’ve developed some coping strategies reminiscent of those I came to depend upon in my marriage: minimize all attachment and even as I grew to like someone new, actively prepare to be disappointed.
As we sat in the mostly empty Indian restaurant, and the dull ache of his words began to settle, I felt myself nod and smile graciously, understanding that this was always going to happen, and aren’t I glad that it happened sooner than later?
I don’t think that I was meant to function this way, to partition my heart — one half cautiously hoping to find love and the other biding its time until the inevitable end. But it feels reckless to do otherwise. If I operate fully in the hopefulness, I am completely vulnerable. We all know people like this — they are the ones who are almost destroyed by break-ups. Alternatively, I could be like The Voyeur, cynicism dialed up to ten, anticipating a future of solitude.
Whenever I see a tightrope walker perform, I’m impressed, but there’s something uniquely spectacular about one who walks the wire without a safety net. I think dating is a lot like that. I’ve been walking confidently, knowing that the nets were there. But that’s not how I want to live. I want to trust myself enough to boldly approach inherent risk. And that’s what a romantic relationship is, right? A risky fucking endeavor. Here’s to being intrepid in the face of danger, my friends.