This is the blocked message I received yesterday while vomiting in the trash can beside my bed. Deathly sick from a stomach virus, the irony is palpable. Every time I receive a text message from some guy I dated and then deleted, I get a “block” notification. Yeah, I know, kind of defeats the purpose of blocking when the message goes through…it’s really for my peace of mind.
This was a text from my latest ex-boyfriend. I’ve had a few since breaking up with Andrew’s dad. This one, we’ll call Blake, was a marine, won a bronze star for valor, had a cute two year old and went to an Ivy league college. All the trappings of an ambitious guy in his early 30’s.
The first red flag: exclusivity after our third date. I said yes, only because I was getting tired of revolving-door dating. In the beginning, Blake was pretty self-sufficient and hands off. Between my busy schedule, school and the distance between us, we saw each other twice a month. At first, it was a great arrangement. We didn’t have to talk 24/7. When we were together, we had fun and enjoyed countless dinner dates. And the sex was…decent. Brunch was better.
Slowly, as we divulged stories of past wives and ex-fiancees, I noticed aggression and slight anger bubbling to the surface. Oh rage, how I haven’t missed thee.
Our brief flirtation (three months) with conscious coupling ended after attending Blake’s military ball. He refused to introduce me to anyone below a Sargent, because no one below was “worthy” of an introduction. I knew it was the military culture, but I’m not one to dehumanize, so I had the very awkward treat of introducing myself to everyone that approached our table, regardless of caste. I quipped to my date that this was ridiculous, however, Blake just shrugged and continued to eat his dinner.
After the ball, Blake was clearly miffed. I didn’t get much of a response for a week. Then, without warning, he called on a Thursday night as if nothing had happened.
(Paraphrased for clarity)
Blake: Hey babe. What’s up?
Me: You tell me. Haven’t heard from you in awhile.
Blake: Oh yeah. I’m sorry babe. Been so busy. But check this. I went to my basketball game tonight and this fucking bitch double- booked our court with some little kids. I was so fucking angry I told her what a fucking ignorant bitch she was. She ruined my day and the game.
Me: Um…oh…that’s a little harsh for a basketball game coordinator, don’t you think?
Blake: Absolutely not. She’s lucky I didn’t say something worse.
Me: I feel like there is some unnecessary aggression coming out. No offense, but I think you could have handled it better.
Blake: Damn straight I was aggressive. As a marine you can get killed for NOT being aggressive.
Me: Yeah, well…this is about a basketball court. In the real world, you talk to someone like that, you’ll get fired, slapped, or sued.
Blake: Well that’s me, that’s who I am. I’m an aggressive guy. If you can’t deal with it, then I don’t know what to say…
Me: Okay, well I’m kind of over aggressive and angry men. You’re not who I thought you were.
Blake: I guess we are just two different people.
Me: I agree. It’s been fun, but I just can’t be with someone who talks to people like that.
Blake: Agreed. Good luck.
Not more than an hour went by and I get a text message from Blake: If you ever want to go out and grab a drink sometime, I’d still be cool with that.
No thanks buddy. I’m pretty sure a breakup means no drinks allowed.
Three weeks went by. I dated others (re: Dating Crashers). I hadn’t the mourned Blake, in fact, I hadn’t given him much thought. Apparently, my clean break gave Blake plenty to think about, thereby validating my theory: the more silence you give you an ex, the more they beg to get back in your good graces. Whether it be the scarcity rule or FOMO (fear of missing out), they all try to snake their way back.
I’d like to think I learn from my mistakes. Aggressive and inherently angry men are mistakes waiting to happen. As always, I’m a work in progress.