“I’d certainly like to.” is not, after all, “yes.”

“Choices, skillfully made, lead to freedom. You don’t have to be swept away by your feeling.”—Henepola Gunaratana

It’s been a troubling week. I’ve skipped a lot of meals. I’ve cried a lot. I keep waking up in the middle of the night. It’s just been very rough.

I’ve been meaning to write about a break through, about a week where I decided to be the chooser instead of just waiting to be chosen. Knowing about that week is important to understanding why this week has been so rough, but in my current state, I can’t honor that week in writing. For all that’s happened since, it was important and deserves its moment in the sun.

The short of it is that a few weeks ago I decided I wanted a physical relationship with a man. I wanted to be held and kissed and touched. No emotions necessary. No worry about establishing a relationship at any point. I chose two men for the purpose. Things worked out with both of them and it was good. We will call them Five and Six.

Six could never be anything other than physical. I’m not attracted to him in any other way. He was a safe choice for that reason. I thought Five would be the same, but he has turned out to be a different story.

Our schedules are very different, so different I almost decided not to meet him at all. I thought that would be a safety net for me the same way I had a safety net with Six. But Five is smart and confident. We have common interests and he is adorable, as in attractive, delightful, charming. He makes me feel comfortable.

Turns out our opposite schedules are no safety net at all and I like him quite a lot. It’s pretty scary and I’m afraid I’m making a terrible mistake.

It feels like his actions and words don’t always match, but then I go back and find he’s not actually committed to anything. He is very good at making “maybe” sound like “yes.” “I’d certainly like to.” is not, after all, “yes.” Or perhaps I’m just very good at hearing what I want to hear.

We aren’t dating. We aren’t anymore than friends with benefits. That I can handle. But the tentative plans that fall through are just too much; too much like the narcissist whose time and agenda is more important than yours; too much like Gaslighting; too much of a trigger for my C-PTSD.

I don’t choose this. I can and will choose to tell him that this behavior causes me pain. Then he can choose to change or go.

Either prospect is scary.

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