Feeling Helpless, Hopeless, Clueless, And Deeply Unworthy

My ex, Steve, was always a very strange one...in many ways. He has issues which he is afraid to confront, and only seems on the verge of dealing with now. He never said I was too clingy or needy. In fact, he wouldn't give me any clue whatsoever as to why he wanted to end our relationship. The closest he came was saying that a) He felt something was "off" and we were "walking on eggshells", and b) He felt we understood each other some of the time, but in a relationship he desired someone who would connect with him ALL of the time". He hinted around this time that his parents were pressuring him toward marriage. Eventually I got more of an idea what was wrong - and to do so, I had to recruit a gentleman friend -- my surrogate "father" and part-time employer, Tom -- to speak with Steve. The reasons he gave for wanting to end things were as followed: Something felt "odd and unnatural" about our relationship, he felt panicked and "trapped", he felt ill-equipped to handle my emotional neediness (self-deprecation, need for confirmation, etc.), he felt the gifts I frequently gave reeked of desperation and had become predictable and boring, and he felt I was insufficiently self-actualized, using others -- rather than self -- as a motivating factor.

But I'll step back, and offer a glance-over of the whole bloody affair. Don't know if you'd like the sordid details, but it might offer some insight. Three months after returning from my lengthy stay in California, I found myself working part-time as a secretary at a law firm, editing a document here or there, reestablishing connections with old friends, and not dong much else. One evening, I happened to stumble into Bela Dubby coffee house during their open-mic improv night. Someone implored me to join the group. I joined in a few of the improv games, had fun, and actually garnered a few laughs. A tall Jesus lookalike; attractive in an atypical sort of way, caught my attention. He was strange and, I was fairly certain, gay. He approached me after the show, apparently attracted to my furry, fox-ear-adorned hat as well as my black dress, which revealed just a hint of cleavage. We exchanged numbers...I didn't expect we would speak, and certainly didn't expect he would be interested in a boy-girl relationship with me.

Well, he got in touch alright...and we spent while BSing about random pop-culture related things. He didn't seem in a hurry to end the conversation, even when I sort of wanted to...logn story short, he invited me to his place for a movie. I came over; we watched the original "Nosferatu". He spoke of wanting to dress up as Peter Steele (RIP), of Type O Negative fame, for Halloween. I realized he had a goth side, and began to think it was a shame he was gay. A few minutes later, he put his arm around me. A few minutes later, he made a motion to kiss. I mildly freaked out. I did NOT want to be "f*cked and forgotten". I told him as much, and said that was fine...but he expressed a desire to make out in his room. I agreed to this. We made out. I freaked out when he attempted to remove my shirt, and left a few minutes later.,.but he was interested, it turned out, because he texted me every day and invited me to join himself and a friend for a late-night recording session in the hood.

Toward the end of _that_ get-together, I told him something that was meant to bring a halt to his pursuit. However, it only served to instill some sort of White Knight complex in him. He pursued further, and admitted to being smitten "with someone" in front of a few mutual improv-comedy friends. I used his crush to recruit him for a play with which I was then involved. He did well, and during the rehearsal process and run, we spent a lot of time together. At some point, I found myself falling in love with him. However he'd recently completed his Master's degree, and was unemployed. When, at long last, he found a job as a temp-to-hire QA auditor with Benvenue, I allowed myself to confess my love for him. I made a choice which was intended to confirm my commitment to him. He confirmed that he wanted to "be mine" and stated that he was "keeping me". On August 6th, 2011, our relationship became official-on-Facebook.

Over the following months, we spent a lot of time together and went on many adventures -- the zoo, Halloween parties, seeing local bands, trips to visit his family and friends in Canton. His family grew to love me, and Steve frequently spoke of things we would do int he future. Nearly every time we saw one another, he mentioned "keeping" me, "putting a ring on my finger", or "spending the rest of our lives together". Somewhere along the way, I learned he was a virgin until marriage. I found that incredibly romantic, and took it as proof positive that Steve was a wonderful person. I had _never_ previously thought myself marriageable, and realized that was something I wanted witht he right person...very, very much.

Yet certain things about him puzzled me. His family mentioned that he was on the high-functioning end of the autistic spectrum, and therefore I understood his communiation style was bound to be slightly different. He seemed very similar to a 10-year-old boy in several areas...but with a lot of factual, adult-oriented knowledge contrasting with those childish tendencies. One quirk of his was an obvious fear of commitment -- one so intene that, though he hated to say "no", he hesitated to make any sort of promise whatsoever. Whenever we parted ways, for instance, Steve would kiss me and then say "see you later" or "catch you around"; offering no clue as to when "later" might be, or even if he was truly interested in seeing me again. This left me often doubting our relationship...which prompted me to buy gifts -- which in turn came across as desperate. Additionally, I began paying for my part of restaurant bills. I thought of that as a considerate gesture, given the fact that he didn't make _that_ much, and received no benefits. I realized, two late, that this had caused him to become less engaged, not only in the courtship process, but in me as a person. This came to light when, after visiting a bar with a friend of his who happened to be a drug addict and a proudly-diagnosed Sociopath, he paid her part of the bill and failed to pay mine. During our breakup, when I waved this fact in his face, he defended it as "helping the poor". Yet, Steve did often say during this period that he "lovied" me, and greeted me via phone with a warm "Hello, Lovey!" or "Hello, Kitten." Once, as he declared we should be "wearing less clothes", and I panicked, he even said he "loved" me.

In any case, we visited both of our families for Thanksgiving, and I came to see the full extent of his family. Several hundred strong and intensely loving, his family owns a lot of farmland -- and several large houses -- in Amish Country. At his family's two Thanksgiving dinners, I was declared "enchanting" and "delightful" by one person after another. I suppose the comments really went to my head, for I ended up building a sort of "Cinderella" fantasy in my head. Just like that, I became weak. A "Damsel in Distress", eager to be "saved" by my "Prince Charming"; taken away from my humdrum existence and welcomed into this family, which seemed approximately like the Ohio equivalent of royalty.

Steve's birthday took place two days after Thanksgiving. I aimed to secure his affection further by getting him a thoughtful present -- since he had not shared what he wanted. The only thing I really recalled him expressing a desire for was an XBox...so I purchased one. Then I realized neither he, nor his roommates, owned a TV on which to play games...so I purchased a 32" plasma TV which was on sale that day. I also purchased a Wii, given Steve's obsession with Super Mario Bros. and the fact that Wii, as a Nintendo system, had sole right to the characters. I topped off the present with 6 XBox games and a 3-month long XBox Live membership. After that night's performance of the play I was then in, I enthusiastically made my way to the mutual friends' house where Steve happened to be that night...he was asleep by the time I arrived. Together, my friends and I woke him up, gave him his homemade card, and showed him his presents. He was...well, he described his state of being as "emotionally dizzy". He seemed to recover, particularly after I returned all of his presents to Wal-Mart, replacing them with Skittles -- his favorite candy. Around the same time, I gave my apartment to Brian Confer. That put Steve off further, but he wouldn't admit it out loud at the time.

A few weeks later, Steve stated that he "felt (he) was not being as affectionate toward me as (he) ought to be, and wondered why that was". I became concerned about this, but once again, he seemed fully invested in our relationship once more by that Sunday. Over the following weeks, we went to see "A Christmas Carol" at a prolific theatre in Canton, and joined his family for Chistmas Eve and Christmas festivities. I made turtle fudge and created a card for his family, basically thanking them -- in rhyme -- for showing me the meaning of Christmas. They appreciated it all, and acted more welcoming than ever before. The next weekend, we returned to Canton for a New Year's Eve party and a visit to his parents' for New Year's supper. His father and I spoke that morning about God, and our conversation ended with his father kissing me ont he cheek and saying he loved me.

It seemed that, at this point, Steve began to assume my periods of quiet during drives inferred a sort of awkwardness. I do become pensive at times, admittedly, but when that hapepns it is not due to having nothing I _could_ say -- it is due to not having anything meaningful or clever enough to _share_ at the time and finding my own thoughts preferable to anything that might be shared in conversation at that particular moment. I managed to alleviate his insecurities by playing games with him on the road...however, it was a temporary solution. I asked him at some point if it would make him happier if I stepped back. He insisted that would not make him happier.

Between New Year's Day and January fifteenth, things seemed to go alright, though I could still tell he had doubts about our relationship. During this period, I asked him several times if he liked me. He seemed to verify that he did, in his own way, but also told me he needed me to know that without having to ask, and implied that asking pushed him away. Yet I was not able to stop doubting. In any case, we drove to his friend Erin's place the evening of January 15th. My computer, which we were using for its Pandora capacities, ran out of juice, and we found ourselves with no music. Steve was perturbed by the silence and, per usual, perceived it as "awkward". After I attempted to figure out what was bothering him about the relationship, and asking him what I could change, he indicated that he thought people were able to change very little. I prodded him anyway, and finally I said "so Steve...DO you like me?" He was silent for a long while and then replied "I want to save you, but I don't know how." I told him I did not need to be saved. So he implied we should sweep it under the rug for that evening, and (as he was so fond of saying) that we should "go with the flow and see what happens". I was pretty distressed by this point, and was unable to pretend nothing was wrong when we arrived at Erin's. The next day, Steve said he was unsure about the future of our relationship, but wanted to stay official on Facebook.

I made attempts to reconnect with him over the following three weeks, and each time we seemed to reconnect, and he seemed genuinely happy...we would part on an optimistic note...but the next time I'd see him, he'd be back to uncertainty. Finally, on February 10th, one week after declaring that he would be "literally retarded to ever let me go", he decided to do just that. After a heart-wrenching 4-hour conversation during which he realized I may have been a rebound and an ersatz partner in the first place, we parted. An hour later we ended our relationship officially, on Facebook. he promised he'd contact me that Monday, and that we'd play chess and get on track to being friends. Of course, there was none of that.

Two weeks later, I visited him while in the area for an audition. He seemed genuinely happy to see me, and flirtatious. We played Scrabble and Chess, and he interacted with me as if I were still his girlfriend. but then, at the end of our chess game, it seemed as if something clicked in him, and he became very cold and eager to rush me back to my car -- which he'd asked me to park as if I were staying overnight.

He didn't speak with me at all for two weeks...then he began texting me, saying he wanted to come to my show on its last week. I told him he could if he wanted, but he was under no obligation. He promised he would be there...then, earlier int he day said he would not be able to. I let loose and told him how horribly everything hurt. In anger, I also told him I was leaving the area, probably forever and if he ever wanted to see or speak to me again, he would be wise to see the show. He accused me of "dropping this on him all of a sudden" and making him panic even more. But he did promise he would talk to me via phone before I "left" the following Monday. Of course, he never did.

I let him know I was still in the area. He said he was "pissed at (himself) for missing the show". I gave up, at that point, on being his friend. Since that point, I've made no attempt to communicate with him. He frequently pokes me on Facebook, and leaves completely meaningless, usually one-word, comments on my posts. I don't know what his intent is, but everything that has happened...hurts deeply.

ScaramoucheBlack ScaramoucheBlack
1 Response May 21, 2012

Sometimes, these things just happen. You have no control over it and there was nothing you could have done differently. I, too, acted desperate with my boyfriend, and sometimes lashed out in fits of self-destruction just to get his attention and make me feel like I was loved. During these times, he yelled at me, and talked about how he couldn't understand emotions or relate to them. I guess I should have parted ways with him a long time before we did since I knew that about him from the start. It may seem trivial to some people, but the Facebook stuff really does have an odd way of getting to you. My ex decided in one day to throw away our relationship, and made it Facebook official the very next day, after he said he wouldn't. I had a hard time not contacting him through messages, telling him how he hurt me (I've been ill for months, in and out of the ER, and he left me during this time... and I'm not going to say I'm not bitter) so I told him I had to block him until things settled and I was okay, and as I went to do that, I discovered that he blocked me before I even had the chance. That hurt, because not only did he have the upper hand in the break up, but the upper hand in that situation as well, and I thought he could at least give me that at a time when I felt so weak and powerless. I know it's hard, but I would remove him from your Facebook, and end communication until you are comfortable being strictly friends. This was hard for me, but the pain of seeing what your ex-love is up to in his life can be too much, and the meaningless conversations you have can spiral into a web of thoughts in your head that you don't need at this point. You seem like a wise and eloquent person, and it is hard to see the beyond right now (believe me, I just broke up on Saturday, and I thought we were one day going to get married and have children), but it will pass, and you will have other loves who you don't need to constantly seek validation from.