I’ve dated. I’ve dated a lot. I’ve dated men who are older. Men who are younger. Tall men. Short men. Bald men. Curley haired men. Men of all races, ethnicities and religions.
I’ve never been one of these man-hating women who sat around bitching about how all men are evil, noncommittal cheaters. Partly, perhaps, because I spent my 20s and the early part of my 30s figuring out me. I mean, sure I had relationships during that time period, but my main focus was on what I was doing. I was moving from Toronto to Los Angeles to New York and then eventually back to Canada. I was deciding between writing, film, law school and eventually settled on teaching. I was traveling through Central and South America, the Middle East, and South East Asia. Marriage and babies was a concept but it certainly wasn’t the focus of my attention. My attention was gloriously and fantastically centered on my own selfish desires and ambitions. I haven’t regretted a second of it. Until now.
When the man who I have been happily dating for the last month says to me “I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I don’t know,” my stomach literally feels like it has fallen out of my ass. This is the third time in the last year and half that a man who claimed to be serious about me from the onset, shifts gears and gives me that all too familiar vapid and vacant, non-committal, self-deprecating pathetic excuse for a breakup, only it’s a “nice guy’s” breakup because he waits for me to say, “Thanks, but no thanks. Delete my number.”
The trilogy leaving me feeling like I’m in groundhog’s day, begins four months ago when the man who I thought was the love of my life decides that he was just kidding about having a baby, he isn’t sure he wants to get married to anyone after all, but that he still wants to spend the summer together and vacation in Mexico. I show him the door.
Enter number two. Handsome. Smart. Seemingly mature. Extremely successful and most importantly emphatic that he wants to get married and have children. Having cried myself to sleep for four months after a devastating breakup, I allow him to dictate the pace. I allow him to court me. He takes me to fancy restaurants. Serenades me with songs over guitar-playing with just enough romance, and never any cheese. I meet his friends, he confides in me about his work. Suddenly one weekend I don’t hear from him and without a beat, I know. He’s changed his tune. When he finally does call, it sounds like “I think we have an amazing connection. I love being with you. I’m just confused.” Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
So, when number three hits me out of the blue with “I thought I knew what I wanted, but now I don’t,” after introducing me to his family, asking me to help him decorate his newly bought home, and saying just enough to allow me to believe he’s interested in making me happy and pursuing a long term relationship, I am not even dumbfounded. I am resigned. I know what it sounds like from the outside because I am self-reflective enough to consider “It must be me. I’m doing something to drive these men away.” And then another voice says, “What has happened to men?” Why do so few men these days step up in any real way? Was I so busy in my 20s figuring out my own shit, that I let all the good ones slip away? Are men in their 40s too old to commit, and are men in their 30s too dumb to know the difference?
I’ll be 37 this year. I spent this evening polishing off a bottle of wine and complaining about non-committal evil-doers, namely men. Perhaps my 40s will be spent with a man who finally breaks me free of Groundhog’s Day.