An ex is calling, Part III

by singlemomseeking on October 14, 2008

Before meeting Adam, the ex who has been calling, I got a poem in my Inbox.

I subscribe to Writer’s Almanac (highly recommended!), so I get a poem every morning. This one, by David Allen Sullivan, had a line that seemed like an eery warning:

“A.A.’ers talk about the blinding glare of the obvious: Objects in the mirror are actually behind you…”

Yes, I would look behind me. I would be aware of the obvious. My eyes were open.

Thanks to those of you who reminded me to have no expectations. I was going to meet Adam because I was curious, even though my friend Avigail did point out, “Curiosity killed the cat…”

Still, it was Kat Wilder who added:

“The guy is struggling, and for whatever reason, he finds you a sympathetic soul. He’s not asking to sleep with you or to get back together with you, and you’re not expecting to, either … um, right?”

Right Kat!

~~~

His first words when I walked up to him outside the coffee shop: “Hi cutie.”

My first thought: “Don’t even try to hit on me–”

He stood up and opened his arms.

My shell was hard, but it cracked when he held me. It was his smell. I remembered–

“Don’t go there–” I thought.

We sat down. I thought I was nervous, but he was more anxious for sure.

“I’m really sorry,” he said. “but I forgot my wallet at home. I feel like an idiot. I never forget my wallet. I can’t even buy you a cup–”

“It’s okay!” I said, laughing.

We both knew this wasn’t really about coffee.

He thanked me for meeting him, and then he started to talk. He dove in head first, describing all the people he has lost in his life over the past few years, how painful it has been.

Then he turned away from me. “I’m sorry,” he said, “I’m really emotional, I’ve been crying–”

For a moment, I thought he was kidding.

He’s one of the best-looking, toughest guys I’ve ever met in my life. He works in law enforcement.

Tears were rolling down his cheeks.

I didn’t know what to say. So, I just sat there, listening, humbled.

The last time I talked to Adam, more than five years ago, I was the vulnerable one. Where were all those walls he had around him? Gone.

His tears didn’t stop.

“I’m really sorry I don’t have any  Kleenex,” I said.

We laughed.

Before I left, I told him, “I have some questions. I want to know what happened between us–”

I wanted to understand why he’d let me go as his friend, so easily, so coolly.

We went back to the past, and remembered. He apologized for being so cold to me.

Then he walked me back to my car, and we shared one more hug.

~~~
By mid-day, there was a long, open email from him, thanking me.

Now I was feeling vulnerable. But I felt the “caution” tape wrapping around me, with every line I read.

I don’t want to be anyone’s rebound.

I don’t want to rescue any more abandoned souls.

Is anyone else walking around wrapped in “caution” tape?( You should see how tightly it’s wrapped around me right now. Let me breath!)

Who else out there has an exposed heart right now?

Caution from Pro Corbis

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Christy October 14, 2008 at 2:51 pm

Okay, Rachel- had I not read your other posts, I would swear this was some type of joke.

At any point in the meeting did you expect candid camera to pop out. What was the reason he contacted you?

Don’t divulge- just let us know if it was valid reasons to be crying… I almost could understand if you and he dated for a long time and he did something to f up, but from everything I read (here and on your previous posts) it seems like he told you from the get go that he wanted nothing more than friendship from you. I guess I am confused as to why the great breakdown when he met up with you.

Unless he gave you a wonderful answer about why he wanted to meet up with you & proceeded to cry during your meeting (a la “your the one who got away), I would have that caution tape wrapped so tightly around your heart, triple wrapped, along with bubble wrap !! Something still seems VERY suspicious !!

Keep up your walls around you girlfriend !! You can let that wall down, along with the caution tape and bubble wrap, in the future, if and only if you see fit and he is worthy.

Christy’s last blog post…Yeah !!! hit the $550 in extra money !!

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T October 14, 2008 at 2:55 pm

I just wrote a blog post about this. It will be up tomorrow.

I think an exposed heart is exactly what you needed.

I know it feels frightening but sit with it and feel it. Let yourself be beautiful with it, Rachel.

T’s last blog post…Three

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Phil October 14, 2008 at 3:11 pm

To throw in my own stereotype… the “tough macho” guys are often the guys with the biggest issues and drama. From your description, this guy fits the mold perfectly.

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singlemomseeking October 14, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Christy, I did expect Candid Camera to pop up! Or, I thought one of you — my readers — would pop out from behind a bush and say, “Ha, ha, got you!”

But really, this guy has been through a lot in the past few years, between death and loss.

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Trish October 14, 2008 at 3:31 pm

Oh girl, we need more details than that! With total respect to him, of course. So what’s going to happen now? Was that it? The end? Or are you two going to stay in contact?

What reasons did he give you for the way he treated you back then? Did y’all come to any sort of meeting-of-the-minds?

You’re definitely right to keep the caution tape up at this point. But I’m curious to know if there might be even the slightest little rip in the tape.

In answer to the question you posed to us, yes, I am tightly wrapped in the caution tape. But my scissors are poised and ready to cut it off when the time is right. I’m just trying to make sure the tape isn’t wrapped across my eyes obscuring my view.

Trish’s last blog post…

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singlemomseeking October 14, 2008 at 3:41 pm

He said that his walls were up years ago, that he wasn’t really feeling anything back then. But I guess he hit rock bottom, found a good therapist, and…

Yes, he has asked if he can take me out to dinner, to make up for the cup of coffee I missed. (I hear you, Judy, mc, and the rest of you!)

I haven’t replied. Yet.

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JimAKASydney&Hunter'sDad October 14, 2008 at 4:18 pm

I think T is onto something about the potential positive vibrations of experiencing this guy’s exposed heart. Adam could be close to a transcendental breakthrough, or maybe you were just a stop on his downward spiral. Either way, it sounds like you are feeling empathy for him and obviously you are attracted to him. I say have dinner with him. It may be prudent to rekindle your friendship first; since you clearly state that you don’t want to be a rebound or the nurse maid who rescues lost souls.

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Lori October 14, 2008 at 4:23 pm

Not to stereotype but the words that popped out was ‘law enforcement’. I was married to one..and have dated quite a few before the marriage and after. Unfortunately they have all had the same ‘style’. :( After the divorce I started dating another officer(from another PD!). It’s the same thing.
Only you know what to do…I think coffee would be safe. Then just go from there.
Good luck!!

Lori’s last blog post…Here we go…

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Andie October 14, 2008 at 4:38 pm

hmm, I don’t know. My heart is a gold gray fish at the moment. I think more likely anyone who comes in contact with me should be wrapped in caution tape.

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Crazy Computer Dad October 14, 2008 at 5:22 pm

There was a crime. There is a chalk outline. The doors are locked. There is a lot of crime scene/caution tape.

I meet a number of other people that are in the same predicament though.

Bumper sticker I saw recently said “Better to have loved and lost than to live with a PSYCHO for the rest of your life.” I suppose there is some truth to that.

Another saying is leopards don’t change their spots.

I like what Jim has to say about friendship. You talk a lot about his physical attraction, but what else was there?

Crazy Computer Dad’s last blog post…XKCD…

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judy October 14, 2008 at 5:45 pm

Besides the obvious this line popped out at me in one of your responses:

“But really, this guy has been through a lot in the past few years, between death and loss”

Who hasn’t been through a lot? Do you want my laundry list over the past 3 years?

Don’t be the rebound, pseudo-therapist, friend with benefits.. neither sexual or a caring ear benefit….

The stereotype seem to fit him perfectly…a rough-tough cream puff is what we call them.

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Amy October 14, 2008 at 5:50 pm

My question is: How much did he want to know about you and your life for the past 5/6 years? Did he ask questions – and even if he didn’t – did he seem interested if you volunteered any information about your life, struggles, etc…?

Rachel – I say this with the upmost understanding as one rescuer to another. I can walk into a room of men and tell you who has severe emotional issues or addictions – you know why? – because I am attracted to them and usually they are too me. Its a nasty cycle – and it can sneak up on you even when you think you are being cautious.

I’ve got a long line of ex-boyfriends, not-quite-boyfriends, boyfriends who almost were, etc…and MANY if not all of them have come back in and out of my life. Believe me – this isn’t because I am some striking beauty. They come back because I am the woman who ALWAYS understands and often have allowed myself to be an emotional pit that they dump their garbage into.

It isn’t easy to say no too – though. You’re wise though and you’ll know what to do and what not to do. But I’d keep your tape up and double check to make sure there aren’t any weak spots.

The thing is that you make him feel good – you make him laugh – and that feels good for you! And of course it feels good for him. But in the end – if what makes you feel good about him is ONLY the fact that you make him feel good about himself – that moves you from caution to danger.

Screw the yellow tape – I’m using the big orange barracades from now on!

Amy’s last blog post…Journal 108: October 2008 "Lastday" Again

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Dora October 14, 2008 at 5:56 pm

What Amy said. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

My advice, RUN!

Dora’s last blog post…Bristol, is that you?

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mc October 14, 2008 at 6:09 pm

Hmm. But kind of what I expected, actually, given the build-up.

So I’m still a skeptic (of course, this is easy for me to say, so far away from Mr Tasty!)

So I urge caution. Doom and disaster are just not that common. Or rather, a few awful events can sometimes happen, but a lot in a row? And if they do, normal people don’t come completely undone and start acting completely uncharacteristically, you know.

I think you have to look for proportionality. Is his behavior really appropriate? You mention that he’s encountered death and etc to explain his behavior, but does it really? Wouldn’t a policeman be somewhat familiar with death, at least in the sense of being trained to keep it together? Why would this make him sob openly in a coffeeshop to a not-GF acquaintance from the distant past? Who he apparently hardly knew back in the day. Are you his rabbi or something? Ask yourself, does it make sense? It may be flattering, but really? Why would he turn to you to “heal his soul”?

You should also ask yourself, “what does he want from me”? Because you should know it—he does want something. That he hasn’t told you yet what he wants—you should be worried.

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Eathan October 14, 2008 at 7:24 pm

WOW. That’s amazing. Well I’m sure something has happened to him that made a change of actions. The big question is, do you want to maintain some type of friendship or relationship with him. It is possible to go forward as ‘just friends’. At first it would be risky… but as long as you are on firm ground.. it’s possible.

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Amy October 14, 2008 at 7:29 pm

I just realized I didn’t acknowledge the fact that you said he really had been through quite alot. I didn’t mean to come off like none of that mattered. He might have very well just been to hell and back. But if he’s still so quick to cry -then he probably hasn’t completely healed. And that may be where you come in.

And – not to minimize his losses or pain – but you yourself have endured some losses and pain. There is no way to set those up side by side and say that one persons is worse than anothers. So – again – my question would be – is he going to be there for you when you are in pain (because he hasn’t been for several years)?

I guess I just needed to clarify – I was afraid I came off sounding too bitchy and callous toward the poor guy. On the contrary – a grown man crying brings me to my knees. That isn’t an easy thing to see.

Amy’s last blog post…Journal 108: October 2008 "Lastday" Again

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Leah October 14, 2008 at 7:30 pm

I am SO the last one to be offering any kind of relationship advice. All I know is that there are no mistakes, not really. I know that sounds kind of New Agey but I really believe it. So whatever you choose to do will be a learning experience. It sounds like you are listening to your gut on this one…

I have a very exposed heart right now. It is for that reason that I have decided to stop reaching out to men, because in my woundedness I either scare them away, or I attract either codependent caretakers or sadistic bad boys. Ha! So I guess I’ll hang out with this wounded, exposed heart and keep it wrapped up in that yellow caution tape until I feel a bit stronger.

Leah’s last blog post…“Working” mom? and BlogHer 2008

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singlemomseeking October 14, 2008 at 9:20 pm

Sometimes I swear, I learn just as much about you… as I learn about myself here. Thanks.

MC: What does he want from me?

He says that he wants to be my friend. Again.

I’m taking baby steps.

Fortunately, our conversation wasn’t heavy the entire time. He’s an online video whiz, and when I mentioned that I seriously lack at video editing, he offered to teach me some skills.

I’m willing try take the time to sit with him, our computers between us, and see what we can learn.

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singlemomseeking October 14, 2008 at 9:23 pm

Amy: I can’t remember the last time I saw a grown man cry. I really can’t.

He did ask me loads of questions. He wanted to know about my work, M, my relationships. I shared a lot, too. He listened.

He asked me, “Do you have a website AND a blog?”

“Uh huh,” I said.

I’m getting ready for the moment he discovers all of this here.

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Kendall October 14, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Ah, caution tape around the heart. I know about this one. I still struggle to open up to my girlfriend since I don’t trust people easily. One thing my childhood taught me, the only person who can’t really let you down is yourself. So now I have to unlearn that which is much more difficult than it sounds.

Kendall’s last blog post…Conversations With Dolly: A Sweet Republican

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dadshouse October 14, 2008 at 10:21 pm

Why make it about you? Just feel compassion for the guy. The Dalai Lama says the very purpose of life is to be happy, and the way to happiness is through compassion. I’m just saying…

dadshouse’s last blog post…Free-Range Kids

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T October 15, 2008 at 6:37 am

Well, of course you know I agree with DadsHouse…

My post is up now.

If you want to be cautious, that’s fine but realize that he is obviously not the same person you knew and quite possibly not the person you think he is now. Let him show you who he is. If you don’t want to get closer, don’t. But you can still be a quiet observer and listener. That’s actually the best gift you can offer him. You will be his mirror and he will figure it all out himself.

T’s last blog post…Two

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dadshouse October 15, 2008 at 7:30 am

T – did you ever read “The Sacred Mirror”, by Pendergast et. al.? Same approach, used in therapy. Just being quiet and present and listening is a great gift, indeed.

dadshouse’s last blog post…Free-Range Kids

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JulieR October 15, 2008 at 7:52 am

Change your number. LOL

JulieR’s last blog post…Bachelor #1

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Allison October 15, 2008 at 9:04 am

Wait, I thought he was restarting a relationship with his ex-fiancee? What happened with that?

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laurakim October 15, 2008 at 9:38 am

I tend to agree with Julie!

I would back away – fast.

He has too much baggage and issues and drama.

The whole thing just sounds odd!

So as hot as he may be I would let it go!

laurakim’s last blog post…Things I have learnt

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Leslie October 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

duh duh duuuuh. Can’t wait til he sees the blog hehe.

Wow. I can’t handle a “tough guy” crying either.

I think everyone deserves a second chance at friendship. I know how wonderful it feels to mend a fence and have a renewed – or maybe in this case a new friendship.

But I understand the caution tape ;)

Leslie’s last blog post…Kid’s choice

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singlemomseeking October 15, 2008 at 9:47 am

Allison: I was waiting for someone to ask about the ex-fiance. He told me that he wanted to give the relationship one last go, after many splits and reunions, including couple’s counseling, etc. But he realized they weren’t working.

As TS Quest and Dad’s House said, I’m listening for now. I have to admit that I’m also surprised that I’m healing, too. I lost him as a friend, and maybe we can renew that friendship.

It’s scary, yes, but I’m more conscious now. I trust myself.

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Eathan October 15, 2008 at 9:50 am

@SMS Does that mean he’s going to be commenting on the blog now? His comments will be interesting..lol

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singlemomseeking October 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

He hasn’t found the blog. Yet. (Did I just stop breathing?)

We’re having dinner on Friday.

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