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Serial heart.

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Nothing good ever comes from being dishonest. Omission is equally intolerable and stinging.

October 2014.

Living on the outskirts of Austin, just far enough to feel the juxtaposition of lonely and peaceful, I decided lonely was starting to dominate the latter. It no longer felt peaceful digging to the bottom of a jar of Nutella and skidding across the echoing floorboards in my socks I only wore to recreate a scene in Risky Business — only to laugh at myself and hear it echo, too. I hate wearing socks. They oppress my toes.

And so I did what most lonely people do these days; I created a on-line dating profile. Decidedly, I would choose like an elitist (hiding a heart of gold – shut up, it made sense at the time). All of the pieces of my life felt safe and comfortable, and I was only — not missing, but craving — an Other. Scared of putting myself out there too much in the world of Internet romance (the odd couple), I put up only one picture (apparently an abomination in this venue) and responded to only two men. I had been out of the dating loop for a while, so for some reason I felt like I had to choose one and only one suitor (I don’t care what you think; I heart this word hard) with whom to actually date. I was more interested in an older man, though the difference in age challenged what I thought was “normal.” Nonetheless, I hadn’t met him but felt mysteriously drawn to him. I ignored this because after unmentionable circumstances in my life, I am understandably more guarded in matters of following my heart-guided instincts. Instead, I dated an adult male my very same age. He charmed me with his Polish traditions and friends, took me to places I had never been, pushed me out of my comfort zone, and encouraged me to let down my guard and take a leap with him. When I finally did, he pushed me away. This confused and broke my heart, but it didn’t take me long after that relationship to realize I admired certain qualities in him that I wished I had (and have now found on my own), but I didn’t find him to be compatible with me at all. In fact, there were things about him that should have been obvious then that I did not even like about him — differences in core values that I would have never accepted under different circumstances. It’s possible that I was lonely and ignored the red flags because I wanted companionship. I’m not saying he wasn’t a good person — he was. Although a terrible match for me, I would never claim to be a victim in that relationship. He did nothing wrong but follow his heart, and it didn’t lead itself to me; he was just the first to realize this. I was back in the city, surrounded by good friends, and new possibilities — the hurt was only temporary.

May 2015.

The older man kept in touch with me, from a distance, and reached out after my breakup. From the start, he was intriguing to me. He was adventurous, intellectual, artistic, and experienced in ways that both intimidated me and thrilled me. A man with a story is instantly attractive to me — and he had many; he hiked the PCT for five months, took a selfie at every mile, and his time-lapse video went viral. He documented the Egyptian Revolution with his talented photography. He picks up and leaves on his road bike or road-trips in his truck as often as he wants. After a few e-mail exchanges, I told him he was a person I had to meet. We met, under the accepted pretense that we would become friends, but the magnetism I felt when I was around him was so intense I had to find out what that meant. On our fourth meeting, I grabbed the back of his neck and kissed him. The kiss was everything I had hoped it would be. That night, although originally claiming he did not have an agenda, he revealed this was his plan all along. The admission made me laugh and filled my heart and body with promises. I didn’t hear from him for a week. His phone call was frazzled; it was clear he was over-thinking how to move forward. He “just wanted to be kind to me.” I was moved, and this sense of caution he used with me endeared my sensitive heart, especially as he knew of my most recent heartbreak. We started dating, and to my surprise I often heard from him upset that I was not reaching out to him more often. Two men in a row encouraged me to be more vulnerable for them — something that was, again, difficult for me to do after circumstances in my life that were beyond my control. I vowed to let down my guard, but it was too late. He said, “Lauren, it’s time.” Turns out his picking up and escaping isn’t as romantic as I once thought. No ex has ever lingered after a breakup (no matter the instigator), but he did. He was everywhere. Social media, meaningless texts, his photographs, an invitation to a concert. It was all very confusing to me. Never once did he admit remorse or any feeling for that matter, but the string he was holding seemed an infinite number of miles long. I had fallen madly in love with him, so that string was a live-wire of unpredictable emotions. I cut it and walked away.

October 2015.

It might be wrong; I’m actually not sure. However, I deal with heartache by distraction. I don’t mope, I don’t listen to sad records and eat ice-cream; I seek to redeem the last bitter taste of love. The distraction this time came in the form of on-line dating, yet again. I’m by all means not a serial monogamist. I’m comfortable being alone but if my heart feels broken, I piece it together by keeping my eyes wide open. When I signed on again, I didn’t expect to meet someone quickly with whom I enjoyed spending time. He was a charmer, and his want for me was unmistakable — it gave me comfort.  We spent three weeks together — nearly non-stop. And then, clearly out of insecurity, he made a mistake that I am not willing to overlook. I don’t want to, nor do I feel a sense of loss. He was fun — a distraction, but I’ve found that all my instincts are shattered.

Three strikes, and love is out. I need an adventure. Ideas?

I’ve lived most of my life avoiding cynicism, and I don’t want to start accepting it now. Romantic love might be a hoax, but I’m still open to being fooled to satiate the desire that remains intact. I’m just being honest.

 

Author: lauren

author of // key + arrow // a life + style blog aiming to inspire readers to make the most of what they have today without compromising quality or settling for less than desired {all the while convincing herself} // {austin, tx}

6 thoughts on “Serial heart.

  1. I recently met and dated the older man you are referring to. All I can say is that we should both be thankful it ended when it did and that the relationship itself didn’t linger any longer. I too mistakenly trusted him with my heart, and he ended up leaving me on a remote island off the coast of Vancouver. I wondered if he had ever done something similar to another girl, and that’s how I came across your blog, which I have really enjoyed reading. I think you make yourself plenty vulnerable, and I don’t know the first guy, but knowing the second, I find it interesting he wanted you to be more vulnerable when he himself wasn’t willing or capable in a “genuine or authentic way.” Anyway, I struggled whether to comment or not, but I wanted you to know that you aren’t alone in the dating pool or left feeling confused. I also wanted to congratulate you on your dedication to writing your blog–I think it’s great and I enjoy reading it. Keep up the good work and let me know if you’d ever like to meet up for coffee.

    • I’m so glad you decided on writing. You are kind to say the things you said, and I’m sorry to hear you experienced something similar. I’m able to see your email address from the comment, so I’ll follow up soon!

  2. Lauren, I have been with you for a bit of this, albeit digitally…as someone old enough to be your dad, I can only say that you need not try too hard at finding love…it will find you sooner or later – just remember to be open to it when that day comes. I admire you for putting yourself and your feelings out into the Ether…you are quite brave to have us along. Just remember you are a good, smart, and quite naturally pretty person…always keep that in mind and never sell yourself short.

    • Thanks, Robert. Your loyalty has not gone unnoticed, and I appreciate you! You are right, and I do understand that when it happens it just happens and cannot be forced. I’ve decided to focus on myself right now, and it feels good! I’m exhausted from people who are too scared of their own shadow – but I know I can only control myself and my own destiny, so that’s what I choose to focus on! Thank you for the compliments, friend! I’ve made a promise to myself a long time ago, and I won’t drop it now — I will never settle or sell myself short.

  3. It is half past twelve in this hemisphere, guess you are one of the bravest person I have ever read about, don’t rush, you will know when the time is right to take on a new try,you shall feel it, it will come to you, cannot say fully understand as would be lying, but do hope that it will come to you…and honesty does come in spare these days so it is in your advantage, keep it as such….

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