“Mary Lane, I think you’re great, but [choose your own cliché!].”
[I need to take time to focus on myself.]
[Work is just crazy right now.]
When you’ve been dating in New York City for as long as I have (almost 7 years!!), you’ve heard them all. You’ve also said most them, but with a little more creativity (or so you’d like to think). I used to be obsessed with finding out why my relationships with men never got off the ground. How else will I learn from it?? Why doesn’t he like me?? What did I do wrong??
Now I just translate his bull shit break-up excuses into the only thing I need to understand: [You’re not the guy for me.]
This works like a charm.
It’s what I did when a guy I’d been seeing for 6 weeks, a guy who I was really starting to like, suddenly went silent. When I texted him asking him what was up, I knew the answer would be some version “I think you’re great, but “. I was right, but his reason was one I’d never come across before.
“Mary Lane, I think you’re great but, [I’m just not over my ex. I shouldn’t be dating now.]
I couldn’t roll my eyes at that one. He wasn’t giving me cliché. It felt like the honest truth. I couldn’t write a blog post making fun of it. It just felt sad. I just felt sad. He, I assume, just felt sad
He was the first guy I’d been kind of excited about since my shitty break-up. It had been a month of great dates. Walking to Highline together, stopping to watch the sun set and share a sneaky thermos of contraband gin & tonic. An outdoor screening of my all time favorite NYC movie, When Harry Met Sally in a park along the East River. Picnics in Central Park. I liked him enough to make the trip over to Weehawken, New Jersey where he lived. We cooked dinner together and I met his dog, who I actually kind of liked, and I’m not a big dog person.
My roommate met him and she immediately said, “He makes sense for you. More than any other guy I’ve ever seen you with.” On our second date he walked me home. Holding hands, we stood waiting for the light to change on Broadway. A couple of teen-aged girls were waiting for the light too. “I’m sorry,” said one of the girls, “But you guys are really cute together.” My friends liked us together, random teenagers liked us together, I liked us together.
None of that mattered. I was great and he was still in love with his ex-girlfriend. That was that. I haven’t spoken to him since.
But you know who has spoken since? My roommate and this guy’s brother. In the teeny tiny world that is Manhattan, these two worked together a couple of years ago. (This connection was made through a bout of Facebook stalking, on my part. I admit it.) The two of them recently caught up over coffee. My roommate swears she didn’t prompt the conversation.
“He said he moved in with his brother because he was having such a hard time coping with his break-up,” my roommate told me of their conversation.
“Whoa. That’s rough. That must’ve been really rough.” I said. His reason for ending things with me certainly hadn’t been bullshit.
“Yeah, he said it’s been hard for him.” my roommate continued, “He also said, “But my brother had a really good time with your roommate.”
“Shut up. You prompted that.”
“I did not! That was what he said!”
And you know what? It made me feel great, but….it doesn’t change that he’s not the guy for me.
It doesn’t change that I don’t know who the fuck is. Still, it was a really nice thing to hear.
All photos credit: John Michael Decker