A few months ago, over drinks with S and E–a couple, and my favorite local basketball-watching and bike-riding buddies–they asked whether I was still talking with a guy who I had been long-distance dating for a couple of months.
Things had been going well until I made the idiotic mistake of looking at something I shouldn’t have and reading something I was never meant to read and realizing that–whether his words were genuine or not–he was even less mature than I’d realized.
(On that, I will relay only this conclusion, settled on over several weeks of agonizing over the issue: All of us say things about one another, even those we love or care deeply about, that we would never want that person to hear. That doesn’t excuse language or sentiment that is truly coarse or cruel, but when we violate that code–when we force a look at what’s not meant for our eyes–it becomes our own cross to bear. I don’t recommend it.)
Anyhow, at the time there was–and in fact, still is–an (almost) unanimous opinion among my friends that I couldn’t tell him what I’d seen. Most were also pretty adamant that I not talk to him ever again (I did).
But as much as I compulsively consult with friends on just about every life decision, romantic or otherwise (I’m a Libra, aka hopeless), I don’t always listen. I was hurt and disappointed, but I wasn’t ready to dismiss him completely.
I’m still a bit too sensitive (and, minorly, tactful) to get into the nitty gritty of the whole saga. The point is that, once we concluded that whether I talked to him or not, things were likely to fizzle out from there (they have), S asked whether I was going to seek out some sort of closure.
“I hate not having closure,” he remarked. “I always need to just have one last conversation. Just give me five minutes, and then we can move on.”
I nodded my head vigorously in response.
“Yeah,” I said. “I hate it when things just dribble out without anything ever being talked about.”
Which, I realized as I said it, is true–and yet, still, often the way I allow things to play out in my dating life.
This situation is a perfect example. For a while after this transpired this guy and I exchanged emails, with much less frequency than we had been. We’d stop for a week or so and I’d wonder if I’d ever hear from him again, and then something random would show up in my inbox. Or I’d relent and send an insignificant note. All talk of actually planning another visit ceased.
It’s now been almost a month since we’ve had any contact, and I’m not expecting to hear from him any time soon. It’s probably for the best–in addition to my reservations about his maturity level, we do also live in different cities–but still, there was something there that is sad to let go of so blithely.
But then: what is there to say? If either of us were really committed to making something work, I’m sure we could. But with both of us evidently ambivalent about the whole thing, it seems like this quiet course is the only one that makes sense. I accept full complicity, even though I’m not thrilled about it.
And certainly, it’s often been the case that I’m not the victim in this scenario. I’ve been known to disappear and stop returning phone calls if I lose interest after a couple dates, though I’d like to think it’s not something I’d do again.
Probably more often, though, I haven’t exactly desired the lack of closure . On numerous occasions it’s been the outcome of those perilous “speed dating” affairs I’ve experienced: the ones in which some guy sweeps me off my feet, proclaims his affections with extreme abundance and patent disingenuity, we live in a world of new-love-bliss for somewhere between two days and two weeks, and then he vanishes.
Like, literally vanishes. Never to be heard from again.
Some of these men I’m still friends with on Facebook. And every once in a while I get the urge to send a message: “Really?? What the hell happened to you?? And on what planet is that kind of behavior okay??”
Of course, being a relatively sane person with a modicum of pride, I refrain. And besides: I basically know what happened. (Things moved too quickly, they freaked themselves out, etc.)
Closure is nice, but it can feel silly to pursue questions whose answers I already know.