I am the queen of unrequited love. Attraction, I get. Lust, desire – sure. But love, yoo-hoo…it’s nowhere to be found near me. It’s not that I don’t feel it – on the contrary, that’s the whole ‘unrequited’ part. I do feel love. Not often, thankfully, but when it hits me, it strikes hard and lasting. But somehow the arrows Cupid fires in the immediate vicinity of moi are one-sided.
How did I become a Good Fairy? And not just once, but four times in a row. Twice to the same man, three years apart.
Who is this fairytale character I speak of, flitting to and fro? The Good Fairy is a Girl (in my case, although I have no doubt that male Good Fairies exist) who is sought out by a single Man who appears to have developed a particular attachment to her. At some point in the not overly distant future (whether it be days, weeks or months) the aforementioned Girl discovers that, whether consciously or not, the Man had been drawn to her primarily as a confidence-boosting distraction so she can wave her magic wand and help him rise out of the emotional hole that he had found himself in. Once out of this hole, the Man finds himself full of confidence and independence and ideas of what he wants from life. And what he wants turns out to be…not the Girl, the Good Fairy who unknowingly helped him find out what he wanted.
‘It’s not you, it’s me.’ I don’t really understand that phrase. If you say it to someone you actually do think is fantastic and perfect for you, then you’d fight like crazy to work out your problems. But you don’t say it to The One, do you? It’s a nice way of saying, ‘Yes, it is you. You’re nice and all that but I’m just not that attracted to you’.
“It’s not you, it’s us. It doesn’t feel right.” The Jazzman said that to me. He’s the man I became Good Fairy for twice. One day, the second time around, he told me he wanted us to take a break. He thought we’d given it a good go and felt that there was really no more in the relationship. And, needless to say, he didn’t love me (never had). Well, the break was of course break up, which was confirmed for my terribly naive self six weeks later when I next saw him, and tried to make sense of the situation. Which I failed to do, and which he failed to explain convincingly. He confessed a concern about still feeling “tempted” by me, hence wanting the long break, and said that no, it wasn’t me, he still thought I was a great, beautiful person, and didn’t want me out of his life, etc, etc. Which sounded to me rather like reasons to be with someone, rather than apart.
After getting past my initial bouts of shock, sadness, anger and various other emotions, I set about trying to make sense of it all. I felt that if I could only find some logic, some sensible reasoning to all of it then I’d be much better able to put it behind me and get on with life. If he’d simply said ‘I’m not attracted to you anymore’, I would have understood much better. As the time passed I came up with two theories.
The first was the simplest and perhaps most obvious. Over the years The Jazzman had remained friends with some of his former girlfriends (who were no longer to be referred to as ‘ex-girlfriends’, they were just ‘friends’ now) and the idea had been growing in my mind for some time that he was the type of man who wanted all women to like him. Actually, all people, men too. The only past girlfriend I knew of who he’d not kept in touch with had left him for someone else. When he was the one to end a relationship, I began to think, he needed the assurance that the girl would remain on his long list of female friends – who he enjoyed giving cosy, intimate hugs to. A case of wanting to have cake and eat it up as well.
This was certainly evidenced by the fact that on his ankle he wore a multicoloured friendship band (the type you wear at primary school) woven for him by a former girlfriend. Sorry, ‘friend’, because they had been friends for some time before dating for a year or so, and maintained their friendship afterwards. He continued to wear this permanent symbol of commitment to her while dating me, and I assume it was also present during his short-lived but serious and dedicated (on his side) relationship to Girl-Who-Chose-Another. I never mentioned it, knowing he wouldn’t understand my thoughts on the matter and think I was jealous, but I decided that it wasn’t a very mature action. Desiring to share a long-term, committed relationship with one girl (I believe he was beginning to have thoughts of marriage before Girl jilted him) but continually carrying a symbol of commitment to another seemed to me a lack of understanding of adult society. And perhaps Girl chose another who was capable of being committed to her alone, and who she wasn’t required to share. The Jazzman’s first serious (and physical) relationship happened when he was still in his early teens, and since then he’s had little trouble finding girlfriends when he decides he’s ready for one. Despite all his experience with relationships, however, he’s never had a very long one and had watched a number of his peers outlast him and marry, and perhaps hadn’t had a chance to mature as a person as much as me and some of my friends, for example, who were single into adulthood.
The second theory is what led me to the naming of the role of the Good Fairy. During the two periods our lives had come together – firstly at university, then at a job, after having had virtually no contact for a couple of years – and we got to know one another, the Jazzman had slipped into one of these emotional holes; dark, unhappy places with no apparent means of escape.
The first time, I think he was still recovering from a painful break-up a couple of years before. The second time he was devastated by Girl-Who-Chose-Another. For whatever reason, as he got to know me on both occasions, he found himself drawn to me. We had things in common, we talked and laughed and both seemed to enjoy the other’s company.
But each time his feelings were actually quite superficial. He loved to be near me and dance with me and have me stay at his house and talk with me for hours, but in the end I seemed to have served my purpose. As if, when he started feeling better about himself and life in general, it was time to start afresh. I had become his rebound girl, his Band Aid. A temporary distraction while his wound healed. And maybe, rather than having no feelings for me, he had then felt unable to let his feelings for me grow, as if his emotional hole wouldn’t let him be free to let his affection wander where it would.
I can’t help but wonder if he would still have found himself drawn to me if we had met at a time when he did feel happy and free, and if his reluctance to continue our relationship stemmed from a sense – subconsciously, I would guess – that he no longer had a need for the benefits he received from being with me.
While in his emotional hole after being hurt by someone, his feelings were still affected by that person, still raw from the wound inflicted. So, naturally, those feelings were not strong and free enough to develop a secure attachment to anyone else. Over time, as his wounds recovered, he came to the realisation that his attachment to me had not grown, and assumed that there was no point in continuing the relationship. But perhaps this realisation came at the time when his wounds had finally recovered, and he felt himself back on his feet, and feeling free to look around for a new attachment. So perhaps this should have been the time to start really getting to know me, as he was now a newly free and confident person?
(Oh, not long after we officially broke up, he got back together with Friendship-Band Girl. This was the third time they’d had a go at being together, and the second time it had been straight after my involvement with him. And after their third go lasting several years, they’re now married. Good riddance.)
But this is a pattern for me. It seems my role – at least for the moment – is to be a Good Fairy for men. To help them find their way out of emotional darkness and figure out what they want.
Jazzman was first and fourth. Second was The Englishman. He chased me for a while. It was subtle, and not done openly, but clear enough to me. But I was inexperienced, and he was something of a ‘bad boy’ to my clean, nice-girl self, so I was a little resistant, even critical. As I realised later, it was probably more just confusion at being inexplicably drawn to the type of person I could never have imagined being attracted to. And so, nothing much happened. But after me, he found a nice girl (obviously more accepting than I had been) who he’s now married to.
Third was Pub Guy, who I met at a live music gig. We were both out with our besties, and the four of us flirted freely, and had a bit of a dance together. There was obviously a spark between us, and we planned to repeat the fun at the band’s next gig. Well, come that gig the flirting was resumed to the point where, during the band’s break, Pub Guy asked me to go outside, where he kissed me. So far so good, I thought. But he was hesitant, and nothing much was said. After that we communicated a little on the band’s online forum, where I was soundly abused by some girl who claimed that both guys had girlfriends…but to cut this pathetique story short, when next I saw Pub Guy, he admitted that he did technically have a gf, but they were on a break when he kissed me. But guess what? They’d got back together. Aww, how darn sweet.
But what came next was the real corker. He said: “If I was single I’d chase you.”
Um, excuse me?? If you were single? But you’re not! You can say whatever the hell you like to make yourself feel better about this unpleasant situation and think you’re off the hook. You don’t have to come good and act on your words! I was so stunned I could barely say a thing, but at least I had the presence of mind to laugh at him.
It should come as no big surprise to read that I’m now somewhat disillusioned with love, and that I’m not perpetually on the hunt for someone. I realise that I just have to wait – and try to be patient – and that if this is my role for now, then I’ll just have to accept it and kick them in the butt when they go.
As a post-script I’ll just add that I don’t often find a man who I’m really drawn to. Don’t get me wrong, I meet plenty of men who I think are nice, friendly, even good-looking, but they don’t have any real effect on me. I don’t think about them when I’m not with them, or wonder about their opinions. It’s actually really rare for me to find a man who I’m just…drawn to, like a magnet. I have found one recently. I got to know him slowly, thinking at first that he was just a good acquaintance, until we were in closer proximity for a few days. And that was it – like a hook thrust into me, I just couldn’t help talking to him, learning about him, laughing at his jokes, wanting his company. But alas, my story still doesn’t get a rosy outlook. The hook sunk in its barb just a couple of hours before learning that he has a long-term girlfriend. They’ve recently bought a puppy.
So I’ll just keep on flapping those little wings and sprinkling my Good Fairy dust until the universe decides that my time in this role is done.
~ LQ ~