While scrolling through my Instagram DMs today I saw a message from a guy that simply said, “Remember me?” And yeah, I did remember him. I remembered in late 2013 when we were hooking up for a while and I really liked him and when I told him that he said “I’m sorry but I’m just not into you like that” and he started dating someone else maybe a week later. I was pretty devastated but I accepted it and moved on. I also remembered when I ran into him at an event I was hosting in early 2015. We were both drunk as hell, he told me he was single again and we wound up back at my apartment. I remember him suddenly bursting into tears while I was in the middle of giving him a blowjob then sobbing on my couch for a minute about how his ex was a controlling bitch and he made a mistake and should’ve picked me, and then I remember him getting up and running out the door while I sat there naked and wondering what the fuck just happened. Today, more than three years later, is the first time I’ve heard a word from him since.
Flashback to late 2011. I’d seeing a guy for three or four months, it wasn’t official but we were spending at least a few nights a week together and I had developed very deep feelings for him. One night while out drinking together, he told me several times that he was in love with me, a sentiment he repeated the next morning. Maybe a day later I finally worked up the courage to ask him if we were actually a couple and he told me, “I’m still waiting to find out if my ex wants to get back together, but if she says no then we can give it a shot.” That one GUTTED me, but I refused to be someone’s backup plan so I cut ties with him and he wound up back with the ex anyway. About a year later on a rare Saturday night that I wasn’t working at the strip club for a reason I don’t remember, a work friend text me around 11pm and said, “Guess who’s here.” This guy had shown up alone and asking for me, saying he needed to talk to me. My friend went over to tell him he should leave, and he immediately burst into tears and told her that he fucked up, he made a mistake, he should’ve picked me, and even went as far to ask her if I had left a sweater or something in my locker because “he missed the way I smell”. Despite being repeatedly told I was taking the night off, he apparently sat in the corner of the Crazy Horse alone and miserable until the 5am closing time “just in case Laura comes in late.”
I could keep going with these stories, in my past nine years spent navigating the dating scene as a single woman there’s been so many of them. Today’s message had me wondering, what is it about me that makes so many men incapable of seeing my value until it’s far too late? Why do I feel destined to always be the one that got away but never the one that just got chosen from the start? I’m trapped in a cycle of rejection followed by emotional displays of regret, swimming my way through a seemingly endless stream of men who can’t appreciate me until they’ve lost me.
But then I realised I’m not alone in this and it’s something so many of my girlfriends have experienced, so much so that “They ALWAYS come back” is a common saying among women. I wonder if it stems from the fact that a lot of men never learn to process emotions properly, yet another harmful byproduct of a society that regularly tells men it’s shameful or unmanly to talk about their feelings, or if it’s something else. I truly don’t know.
What I do know is that I’m not someone you get a second chance with once I’ve closed the door and moved on, and most of these guys ended up being something I look at as a bullet dodged anyway. I want to be with someone who wants me from the beginning, someone who looks at me and sees my worth and says “Yes, you’re awesome and I pick you” without having to hurt me first. I think I deserve that. We all do.