Standing By

In the days after our last date when I started to actually care a little bit about Wiley’s relevance to my life, I started traveling down that sordid, dangerous path of over-eagerness to hear from him and extra special sensitivity to his mannerisms, so as to scrutinize his utterings for even the tiniest of morsels of encouragement or interest for me to grasp on to.

I just love that magically crucial time in dating where, if you become too pressed too soon, you turn him off. If you don’t show enough interest, you turn him off. You have to somehow gauge these dichotomies according to any given man’s unique personality and tastes and pinpoint along his specific dating number line where you should fall to keep his interest. He has to do the same with you, and these pinpoints have to correspond somehow. Dating is stupid.

Wiley and I talked a little that Monday after our date (upon my initiation), but then I let it go for 2 days to see how he’d act. And…nothing. Heard not a peep. Thursday morning I sent him a suggestive picture and when he still hadn’t responded to that in what I deemed a satisfactory amount of time, which was about a couple of hours, I took that, coupled with the radio silence for the preceding 2 days, as a classic He’s Just Not That Into You sign. I told him exactly that and said I’d let him be, but thanks for the dates.

He responded back in an exasperated tone that he had been on the air and sarcastically apologized for not being able to text well when he is broadcasting. I wasn’t superlatively pleased with his tone, but it placated me that he bothered to explain at all. I knew I kind of jumped the gun with my assumptions, so I apologized.

The next day – Friday – he sent several texts to say that the previous day’s episode got him thinking about how much attention I deserve and how much he can give right now. He went to explain that after this week, he’s going to be gone for most of the remaining summer between work commitments (i.e., the upcoming Democratic and Republican national conventions – oh joy!), family activities, and vacations, and doesn’t want to go on disappointing me when he’s not in touch as much as I’d like him to be. Our dating is going to be limited for now and he felt like he should get that out of the way up front instead of letting it die by neglect.

It seemed sincere. Any conversation that starts like that has the potential to be the big “thanks but no thanks,” but it didn’t feel like his aim was in trying to end it, but rather just to genuinely to provide some insight into his vigorous schedule and to put everything out in the open. I said I understood, but it would just be nice for him to text me some time to say hi, unless he his in fact trying to get rid of me. He never responded particularly to that remark but we had limited conversation a little bit later. So all appeared to be well.

On July 4th I sent some holiday wishes and we chit chatted a little bit wherein I teased him a little about the birthday present I had ordered for him. Tuesday, I sent him a random selfie so as not to have him forget my beautiful face (everything is about psychological warfare). When he still hadn’t answered over 12 hours later, I just said “Busy day?” to which he responded with his somewhat-standard-but-still-sweet-nonetheless “Hey gorgeous” and then proceeded to tell me about an uncle’s sudden death (which he didn’t particularly care about in itself since that uncle was deemed to have been a “bastard”) and funeral that still rendered him out of town.

Keep in mind, that upcoming (and now, this past) weekend was the weekend that we were tentatively supposed to have our third date, as decided at the end of our second date. Pursuant to his schedule, of course, which I’m starting to understand can be rather unpredictable. He doesn’t work the standard 9-t0-5, so it’s the nature of the beast. I know the feeling. But it also happened to be one of the last available weekends he’d have in town for a while. Given that I kind of like this guy and might not get to see him for a while, I was wholeheartedly looking forward to the coming weekend to have that opportunity.

But the passing of his uncle delayed his return initially. Okay, no worries…it was still fairly early in the week. But then on Wednesday he advised that his boss asked him to stay over and work the next day’s show, so that meant he’d be out of town for yet another day. Still no real cause for panic, but it just started to feel like the powers that be might be colluding to make sure our date fell by the wayside.

I listened to part of his show on Thursday morning. I didn’t talk to him at all that day, but I figured if all went well then he might be back Thursday night and that still left Friday night or Saturday night as viable date options. But when I happened to check on a whim and hear him on the air on Friday morning, it was obvious he still hadn’t come back into town, and as he hadn’t bothered at any point to speculate with me on when he may be doing so or to even raise the topic of our tentative date at all at any point, the writing was pretty much on the wall.

Later Friday night he confirmed that he was still out of town and we wouldn’t be seeing each other this weekend. I had already figured Friday was a no-go and thus I was already well into a night out with friends by the time we talked about it, but had still been hoping for maybe Saturday night. But no such luck. The uncle’s funeral and subsequent incoming family had kind of thrown a wrench into everything…oh well. He did say that he should be back around the second week of August, but that’s a month away. Ugh.

Pursuant to my non-date with Wiley, I ended up hanging out with my girlfriends Hannah and Carly on Saturday night.We took some pictures and I sent a couple to Wiley since I thought I looked hot, if I do say so myself. He didn’t respond.

Sunday morning entailed a hangover for which a greasy brunch and mimosas were needed for, STAT. I was in kind of a mood from not hearing from Wiley, admittedly, but I probably didn’t help matters by sending what could be considered a politically provocative question at first to inspire a response (since he does LOVE to debate). When he still hadn’t answered, I remarked that he must’ve had a good Tinder date.

That was the clincher. He responded that this is “all a little much” and that I need to “give him a break.” Upon a series of responses from me in which, in so many words, I basically asked why he’s being a dick, he reminded me that he had told me he might be a little distant and thus not the most dateable guy. Then said he’s with his family and doesn’t want to do this right now.

And apparently he took me as being angry. Which I wasn’t. Tipsy…confused…maybe a little bratty – yes. Angry – no. Hence why texting is definitely not the most appropriate medium for EVERY conversation…because nuances and intentions and tones are easily misconstrued.

He then particularly lambasted my remark about the Tinder date. Which is interesting, because he said the exact identical thing to me once when I didn’t answer his text within an appropriate amount of time, and that was before we had even met for the first time. So, yes, while I might’ve inadvertently come off as jealous and insecure, it was really in an inside joke kind of way, albeit while still slightly serious. Not because I really thought he was on a Tinder date, per se, but because, just answer my texts, jackass. Either way, it was clear Wiley was not happy with me.

Long story even longer, over the course of the day I sent a series of conciliatory texts, emphasizing that I was not angry and didn’t want to fight, only to talk things out. I told him I liked him and wanted to spend more time with him and not rush things, and that hopefully we can talk at a better time. When it was finally bedtime and he still had yet to answer anything I had said, I figured it was dead and maybe even that he had blocked me from texting him. It was a bit of a bummer, but nothing I couldn’t get over.

So what a surprise it was yesterday morning when shortly after getting to work, where I tend to keep my phone in silent mode, I check to see that I’d gotten texts from a couple of people, one being Wiley. I was quite sure it would be him just finally getting around to telling me to go kick rocks. Which, while I wasn’t looking forward to it, I would’ve appreciated much more than him just ghosting me. I am not someone who is very effective at being ignored.

But to my surprise, Wiley did not, in fact, tell me to go piss off. He explained that he had been driving and traveling for most of yesterday. He said we will talk soon and then reiterated that he will be back in August – though this time he said “mid” and not the second week, so I’m unclear on exactly when he will be available again.

BUT, what that did say to me is that he is over our minor skirmish and at least sounds willing to keep the lines of communication open. I didn’t press things by asking exactly when I could expect to hear from him again, I only told him I’d be standing by and that I appreciate him getting back to me.

As it stands, I don’t really know how to feel about how things were left, but I tend to lean more toward feeling encouraged about it rather than discouraged. His text yesterday morning made all the difference, I guess, because I really did figure as of Sunday night that I had gone too far and he would take the path of least resistance by just washing his hands of me and never bothering to respond. I expected exactly that because that’s what I’m used to many guys in the past doing. So the fact that he chose to speak up really meant  a lot.

It’s just going to be one of those wait-and-see things. I was wrong for jumping the gun and being confrontational over his lack of response those couple of times, when there were several occasions, even before our first date and then between the first and second date where, while he may not have responded or initiated conversation as much as I thought he *should*, he did still appear to be interested in me at subsequent points. It’s classic confirmation bias – I came to a conclusion and interpreted all information as evidence of that conclusion in lieu of interpreting everything according to its actual merit. And I got in trouble for it.

Maybe, given the amount of time it’ll be until we see each other again, and the fact that he’s not able to be in contact really regularly – maybe one or both of us will lose interest before anything can even begin. It happens. But that’s just a chance. It may happen, it may not. But I know for sure that if I press the issue or don’t give him the space he needs, then it’s a DEFINITE that I’m going to run him away. So I’m just gonna chill out.

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