“I can certainly try.” is a Bunch of Linguistic Bullshit (Part 2: Analysis)

“And another one bites the dust

Oh, why can I not conquer love?

And I might have thought that we were one

Wanted to fight this war without weapons

And I wanted it, I wanted it bad

But there were so many red flags

Now another one bites the dust

Yeah, let’s be clear I’ll trust no one

You did not break me

I’m still fighting for peace.”—Sia, “Elastic Heart”

…Continued from Part 1

My time with Five was mentally taxing, but not without good times and growth. Here’s to the good, the bad, and the complicated.

The Good

  • New dating achievements unlocked: four dates and one and a half months
  • I can be comfortable alone with a man without leaning on alcohol to calm my nerves. No liquid courage necessary. I’ll be paying attention to this from here on out.
  • I can enjoy sex without any baggage or guilt when it’s my choice. I was really worried sex would be a trigger, but it wasn’t.
  • I wrote some good poetry: Full and Unrevealed Man
  • Overall, the experience was confidence boosting. I found a man who enjoyed my company and I enjoyed his. I recognized that his behavior wasn’t making me happy and instead of just dealing with it, I set a boundary and gave him a second chance. When he disrespected the boundary a second time, I let him go.

The Bad

  • I worry that I chose another man unable to form healthy attachments. Will I always attract and be attracted to men like that?
  • Five had some other narcissistic tendencies. They weren’t the reasons I felt so comfortable with him, but I wonder if they unconsciously played a part.
  • I needed to write poetry.

The Complicated

  • Depression, Anxiety, and C-PTSD: I connected with Five on Bumble one day after I wrote I Bought a House and Died a Little Inside. I wasn’t in a healthy place when I met him and I was already feeling very lonely. It would be unfair to lay all the terrible feelings of the past month and a half at his feet, but foolish to believe that his behavior didn’t contribute to my stupor.
  • Chances and Expectations: Two dates and about two weeks in, Five did the same thing that precipitated my breakup text in Part 1: his communication just slowed to a drip. I sent a similar message, telling him that I had hoped we could be friends with benefits, but either he must not be interested or we had wildly different ideas about friendship. I thanked him for the night together and said adios. Thirty minutes later I got an apology for his bad behavior and a request for forgiveness. I said I could forgive him as long as it didn’t happen again and told him my expectations for communication. For a few weeks he adjusted his behavior and lived up to the expectations I laid out for communication. However, there always seemed to be some extenuating circumstances or linguistic ambiguity that kept us from making definitive plans. That’s when I decided I should outline my expectations for this part of the relationship too. Before I could do that though, he violated my expectations for communication and you know how that worked out. I could have saved myself weeks of heart ache if I hadn’t given him a second chance. But I’m glad I did. In doing so I stayed true to myself. I can forgive without being a doormat. I can be understanding and still have expectations and boundaries.
  • Relationships are Complicated: When I was young, I dated whoever would have me. I just went along. Now, I’m learning that you can like a person and a person can like you and things still don’t work out. I want companionship. He wants extreme independence. Neither of us have to compromise. We just keep looking.

Part 3: The Saga Continues

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