I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
She said, “I would totally date you… if I didn’t know about your past.”
It’s not like I wasn’t aware of what she was referring to, but I wanted to know specifics.
“What about my past would prevent you from dating me?”
“All the lies and the cheating. You have a way with words where I would always be skeptical. I would never know what was a lie and what was the truth.”
“Sure you would.” I said, “You’re a smart woman. Most people are. Most people know when they’re being lied to. It’s just that most of us subconsciously choose to ignore all the red flags because we don’t want to believe what is going on right under our noses.”
“Maybe you’re right and maybe you’re not. Either way, I would never put myself in the precarious position of being your girlfriend”
And it was fine, I guess. I had no romantic feelings for her and it was all just one big hypothetical over text. But after I set my phone down for the night and went to bed, I couldn’t help but think about the conversation. I mean, I would like to think that I am a fairly decent person. I invest myself into the lives of my friends. I care about those close to me and I do my best to let them see that. I always say thank you even to my dudes and I always try to leave everyone with a hug because you never know when someone you love will leave this planet and I don’t want anyone to die without knowing just how much they meant to me. But with all that being said, I couldn’t fall asleep because I felt that I was being unfairly written off because of my past.
Listen, I won’t play stupid here and act like I don’t know what she was referring to. I wrote a very vulnerable and honest exposé of a gritty and unhealthy period in my life. One where I wrote detailed accounts of how I dated and slept with many women in a very short period of time. And it’s not like it was just a simple book of sex stories, it was so much worse. Because I wrote everything that was going on in my head. All the words I typed. All the lines I used. All the insecurities I played into. All the manipulation tactics out there for everyone to read and judge. It was dangerous and I knew it and when I published the book I said to everyone who would listen, “Welp, I guess no one will ever date me again.” But it was in the way where you say the worst possible scenario out loud in order to hopefully unjinx the situation. But I knew one day it would all catch up to me. And while I will be the first to admit that I judge people all the time, it just felt a little unfair to basically say that I was “undateable.”
It made me think of how I treated people over the years. How I judged them for their clothes or their careers or where they lived. As if any of those things would be an indication of how deeply they could care for anyone. I would over-analyze tiny details of their lives like a detective and arrogantly place assumptions upon their character and their ability to love or maintain a relationship. And it was a shame, really. Over a thousand dates, I pushed so many good women aside over trivial aspects in their lives because I had the luxury of knowing there were a dozen lined up behind them just waiting to have coffee with me.
One woman answered her door in a Motley Crue shirt and all I could think was, “Ugh. You don’t even listen to them, you poser. You’re a history teacher. You’re only doing this because you think I would like it.” Even typing that sentiment out right now leaves me with an ugly feeling. I’m sure she put thought into that shirt because wanted to have some level of commonality. She was a unassuming vanilla civilian and I was the tattooed bad boy. Or so she believed. All I remember is making up some excuse as to why I had to leave so early. But the sad part about it all was that she was funny and charming and really intelligent. And who knows, maybe something could have come out of it. Maybe I passed up on a woman who could have changed my life for the better. But I wouldn’t know because I made up some strict arbitrary list of bullshit rules to abide by that didn’t do anything but ruin potential for me. Granted, I wasn’t in the most healthy of a state, but as I laid in bed that night after that conversation with my friend, it really made me think about how unfair I was to judge people based upon their past.
But the truth is, I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready for good, strong, and confident women. I was too busy pushing away all the good people so I wouldn’t have to be reminded of just how apathetic and weak I had become. I simply didn’t deserve them because I wouldn’t have been able to treat their love with the care that it had earned.
And as did my best to sleep that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how my friend thought that I was not worth the risk. I didn’t blame her for being cautious. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to protect themselves from uncertain dudes who have a sketchy past. But I want her to know that I am trying. I want her to know hat there are damaged men out there that are desperately trying to become better men. And I want her to know that just because we are damaged doesn’t mean we are ruined forever. It doesn’t mean we should be written off and cast aside because even the worst of us still have a good light inside that is just begging to come out.
And while some of us are still too scared to let it out – there are a few of us who want you to know that we are still secretly trying to be better.
To earn your love back.