I got a call yesterday from an old friend. You could I suppose call him a “non-date dating” friend, or a backup boyfriend… or .. well a lot of things. Technically he’s an ex-boyfriend, but our actual dating was so brief it hardly requires mentioning.
I hadn’t heard from him in months. Many many months. Actually the last time we’d talked I was still in the process of divorce, and had just recently began speaking again.
We didn’t stop talking just because I got married, though it had a part in it. It’s more that he has always been my achilles heel, and yet I know if I really needed anything he’d bend over backward to help. But let me explain.
We’d been friends and online pals for years. We ran in the same online social circle, and had many people in common. He was strong and demanding, yet sweet and loving.. A lion, yet a teddybear. I fell in deep like. I loved being around him. But since he’d never seemed to return more than a friends-vibe, I did nothing about it.
We would flirt all the time. We’d joke. We’d talk. He became my advisor, and he was one of the very few men in our circle that never made me his advisor. I felt safe and comfortable with him, like nothing could ever hurt me. He wouldn’t let it.
At the same time though, he would admonish me on my faults. Point out things I needed to work on. At the time, I believed him. I trusted him. I loved him. In many ways he was right, but he also put me in a constant state of adoring him and feeling unworthy to do so. He preyed on my weakness of giving, and gave just enough to convince me to give more.
Then we dated. I was single, and suddenly he was single at the same time. I’d just gotten out of a very traumatic breakup, and with his manipulations, he was the only man for me. I fell very deep in love, need, and want with him. We lasted two weeks, from first kiss to last. Just long enough for us to have sex, then he disappeared and wouldn’t return my calls.
To say I was devastated would be kind.
It was just over 3 yrs before Luke resurfaced. I’d just gotten married the year before, and thought it hilarious that now that I was married Luke would show up. I called him many names in my mind, but he didn’t know, until I told him, that I was married.
He’d wished me much happiness and apologized for hurting me. He had gotten back together with his ex and didn’t have the balls to tell me. I told him he was the biggest asshole ever, and hung up. But he called back, and soon I was under his spell again. My marriage was not going well, and I should have gotten out back then, but I didn’t.
He counseled me on my marriage, on what to do, what not to do.. what I needed to improve in myself. He left me in knots so big that a friend of mine insisted that I stop talking to him. I didn’t right away, but a week later when the same friend said “Stop talking to him, or stop talking to me.” I stopped all contact with Luke.
I’d never done anything like that before. It wouldn’t have even dawned on me to shut out a friend. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, and my friend who “made” me do it is one of the best friends I’ve ever had.
About 3 months later, I snuck in a conversation, and saw for myself just how controlling Luke was. Then I didn’t speak to, look at, hear from, or even read an email about Luke for 4 yrs. Then my ex-husband walked out, and I called everyone of my contacts looking for solace. I called Luke.
His voice was the same. His laugh was the same. But there was something fundamentally different. He wasn’t trying to control me. Not even an ounce of it. The conversation was peaceful, uplifting, and friendly. It was my old friend without the torture. It was amazing.
We talked again a few months later. Then again yesterday. He really is now the man that I delusionally thought he was back then. It was good see him change.
But I’m a different me now as well. I’m no longer the massive people pleaser that I once was. I’m not the weak desperate tortured soul either. I’m no longer the masochist for love that I used to be. While I’ve always been independent, I’ve never been this independent of mind. Its a good feeling. A good growth.
In some ways, its tempting to pursue something with Luke now that he’s the man he is today. But my mind still remembers the man that he was, the man he’s still capable of reverting to.. and I keep my distance. A few thousand miles also helps.