Dodging The Bullet

I just finished reading an article on Medium by a woman named Christiana White entitled “On Dating Men With Potential”. Looking at these thoughts from a guy’s perspective, I realized I am most probably one of the “Men” she is writing about.

I have spent most of my adult life helping others avoid the deadly bullet of becoming involved with me, thinking I just didn’t want to be involved with them (sooner or later). Turns out, that’s not the case. I have actually been avoiding the real reason all my life and never realized it. I was actually saving woman/man-kind from the fate-worse-than-death of being stuck with a loser like me.

Yup. That’s me. A real fixer-upper. A train-wreck with possibilities. Talks a great game but can’t get past the first base of life’s success. I mean, can you just imagine having latched on to me and then not having been able to make me into the man you think I should be? Then where would you be? One good part would be that, at least, you would have someone to blame your own crappy life on. “I got nowhere because I was hooked up with Nowhere Guy.”

[Okay. Stop. Hold it right there, buddy. Getting just a little bit defensive, aren’t you? Is it possible you just might be that messed up? Is it possible you are looking for your own excuses for your lack of success in relationships. You did, after all, run away from one of the best things that had ever happened to you (see “Searching For Heather”). You did admit to having been scared straight out of Toronto by being so close to love you couldn’t stand it.]

In fact, I have spent a great deal of time telling myself, and anyone else who would listen, that I truly do believe I saved a whole bunch of people from fates-worse-than-death by getting gone before the getting was good. I don’t see how anyone could have been better off for having been involved with me. I have, indeed, created train-wrecks out of loving relationships. I have pulled the plug and called time-of-death long before the other person would have thought it necessary.

I didn’t want to make the other person that sad. I couldn’t stand to think of someone being so mad at me they could not even stand to have me in the same bed as them.

And so, I left. Or I gave up. Or didn’t know how to try any harder. Or I didn’t know how to try at all.

I see relationships all around me that seem to be working instead, or maybe because, of the work it is taking to hold them together. This is something I never learned how to do. Maybe I didn’t have very good teachers. Or maybe I wasn’t watching close enough. Or maybe, and I have suspected this for quite some time, I just didn’t really care enough.

Whatever the reason, the outcome seemed to always be the same: a fait accompli. And if it was so predestined, was it ever worth my time? If things were going to turn to crap in the end, why even bother? It always seemed like such a good idea to begin with. Maybe just this once I/we could make it work. And then all hell breaks loose, hearts start breaking and, rather than put both of us through that again, it’s time to head for the door.

With all the relationships that somehow seem to hold it together in the world, how is it possible I didn’t ever learn how to do this, myself? There’s no study guide or “Relationships for Dummies” that one gives a 4th grader, at least not back when I was a 4th grader. And this is where I seem to be able to trace my failure to relate back to. So, somehow, I started blowing up my own relationships even back then.

I know I had a serious inability to live in the same reality that everyone else seemed to exist in. There were reasons aplenty for not wanting to do that. But still, I’m sure others have come through worse and still been able to hold a relationship together. But at a certain point, living in an alternate reality became a whole lot more fun than trying to pin something down in the world I was trying to live my day-to-day life in.

So I switched. Trouble was, no one wanted to come over and play in my reality instead. Not that I blame them.

After a certain point, say…oh…40 or 50 years, it just became easier to stay on my side of the fence, occasionally returning to the mainstream; bringing tales of my alternate adventures back to entertain those who would listen. The party is actually pretty darned exciting over on this side. But I understand. It doesn’t pay the rent.

Maybe you might be one of those who have successfully dodged the bullet. I got out of your way before too much damage was done. Or, if not damage, then just the hell of having to deal with this dweller of multiple universes. If so, then I congratulate you for not having attempted to “fix my potential”. You are most probably better off for it. And if you are one of those, then I apologize for having dragged you even a little distance down the path. Life is short. No sense having to drag someone else through this incredible mish-mash of reality in addition to trying to figure your own self out.

But…

What would have happened if just one of those escaped souls had fearlessly run after me and tried to get me back; to be dragged kicking and screaming into a world where someone actually cared about my alternate universe and didn’t feel too threatened by it; someone who was unwilling to give surrender? I’m not saying there were none who tried but… Where would I be now? Would I have been fixed-up? Would I have found success living in a universe that had at least one person who didn’t allow me to run away?

Thanks to my own reluctance or refusal to give someone that opportunity, I’ll never know.

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