I like you. I just don’t (can’t) like-like you.

break-upI like you. I just don’t (can’t) like-like you.

I can’t seem to get to the like-like part of a relationship, which is odd because up until recently I’ve been a hopeless romantic. I’ve fallen in love on a first date, moved in with a boyfriend just so we could have a couch to sit on together, and taken care of a boyfriend struggling with cancer. But now, at the tender age of 26, I just can’t  like-like – let alone love – anyone.

Let’s back track a little bit. About 8 months ago I had my heart broken, well shattered really. Although that little voice in my head told me he wasn’t the one, I was so blindly in love with a man who didn’t love me, my little voice didn’t matter. So when he broke things off, two weeks after I was laid off from my job, I ran. I ran home. And have basically been hiding ever since. Hiding from love. Hiding from success. Hiding from my next adventure.

While in hiding, I’ve been dating. I’ve been on dates with a string of unattractive red heads, an ex boyfriend, a guy I thought was really cute in college but is now potentially a sociopath, and a handful of genuinely nice, handsome, normal guys.

My dating pattern thus far includes thinking they are fun, falling in puppy love for a weekend, and then about three weeks into dating hating everything about them. Thoughts that have run through my head:

Ugh, do you really have to eat that? 
I can hear you shitting in the other room. Now I never want to have sex again. 
Are you totally useless? Or just mostly? 
Don’t you have any friends other than mine? 
Ugh, did I really go out on a date with another ginger? I hate gingers. 
Um, is this supposed to be a date because it feels like doing errands? 
They come that small? Huh. Good to know. 

Now before you starting thinking that I’m a terrible person, which I can be, let me present you with a scenario. A friend of mine hooks me up with a handsome guy who is new to town. I’m from a small town so fresh meat is a bonus and he was cute! We hit it off and starting dating exclusively pretty quickly. I live a few hours away from home with my sister so there are lots of long phone calls and when we actually get to see each other it is so exciting.

My friend hooked us up so he is already “in” with my friend group. In fact, my best friend and him hang out together frequently.Which I find adorable and annoying at the same time: Somehow them hanging out makes me feel like he is too close. I don’t want him that close. This realization triggered the uncontrollably judgmental thoughts (see above for the nice examples) to scream through my head.

I ended this dating escaped after calling him and asking what he was up to, only to find out he was at my best friends, cleaning the cat shit stains out of her carpet, and that his bowels are feeling similar to her poopy cat’s. Gross. Not only did you over share about poop, but you’re way too comfortable for my liking.

While that example is a little extreme, it could have been anything that made me want to run. It could have been the way he flossed his teeth or that he doesn’t have any sisters. It’s my new pattern after heart break: Find a hopeful candidate, find a flaw, run.

I don’t blame my devastating break up for illuminating those “flaws” you stumble upon in week 3 of dating. No that isn’t my ex’s fault. It is mine, I can be a little bit of a bitch. I do blame him for making me want to run as soon as I notice those flaws though, I’m not ready to get hurt again.  One day I’ll be able to date without finding each and every possible excuse to run.  But, until I find my next adventure and feel strong inside again, I can’t like-like – let alone love – anyone. Including me.

But no matter what, I will never like-like, let alone like, that guy who took me to pick up his dry cleaning. Or the one who told me he has a son, hadn’t told his family, and never planned to participate in his life.

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