How Did I Not See This?
I’ve been going over and over this in my head. How did I not see what is happening with Sean coming a mile away? I’m starting to think I was so far into denial that there was no possibility of seeing it. I look back now and see the danger signs.
About two weeks after I met him, I found a Highway to the Danger Zone ringtone and assigned it to him. Every time I hear that intro coming from my phone, I know Sean is calling. I knew he was dangerous from the beginning. I knew he had the possibility of screwing with my happy, little man-less world. The mistake I made was not re-reading what I’d written about him often enough. I did not head the warning signs because I’d put them away from me. I’d written about them and forgotten about them.
I wish I could pinpoint the time that intrigue started taking over the leeriness that I felt toward Sean. Was it when I was drinking and felt my skin tingling so I asked him to touch my leg to see how it felt? Was it when we went to the lake and he kept his eyes on my kids and helped me? Was it at my Impromptu Dinner Party when he took my garbage out simply because it was full and needed done? Was it all the late night talks on my porch during the summer? Was it when he told me he could make me cum in under two minutes using only his mouth? Or was it just the sheer amount of tiny kindnesses he’s shown during the past 7 months? Somewhere along the line he breached the force field and armor plating. Somehow he started feeling safe to me.
Endellion thinks that panic comes from a place of not wanting to fall in love with him. I feel like Vizzini from The Princess Bride shouting, “INCONCEIVABLE!” She said it makes sense because of what happened with Luke. We were friends, then we slept together and I found myself starting to fall in love with him. She says I don’t know how to have a Friends With Benefits (FWB) situation without my emotions playing into it. Again, “INCONCEIVABLE!”
I see a big difference in the situation with Luke and this situation with Sean. With Luke, I was already on the road to falling in love with him. I had 20+ years of wanting to be with him. I was already vulnerable to having sex make it more than it was. He was the only man I felt safe with for so long after I got out. Having a FWB situation with Luke was bound to end up being more for me simply because of how I felt going into it, even though I was swearing up and down that it wouldn’t. I’ve always carried that fantasy that it could turn into more someday.
With Sean, I’m going into it without that emotional attachment. He is a friend. Period. There are so many things that negate him as a possible partner. He smokes. He’s afraid of my child. He’s extremely unreliable. I just can’t count on him to be there when he says he will be. That alone is enough to stop me from getting into a relationship with him. I need someone who is reliable and who will say what he means and mean what he says.
The panic from the other night is enough to show me that I’m nowhere ready for a relationship. For as much as I say I want to get married again, the fact is that when confronted with just a relationship, I want to cut and run. I’ve never understood this attitude at all. Hannah and I were talking a few days ago. Her girlfriend pretty much broke up with her because she sees that Hannah is offering her everything she ever wanted and she got scared. She cut and run. I told Hannah I just didn’t understand that at all. How can she have this great thing and just turn away from it?
Not that I’m saying that I could have this great thing with Sean, because I don’t believe I can, but even the thought of being considered his girlfriend has me absolutely terrified. I just now understand that panic feeling that has people running away from things that could make them happy. I don’t know if a relationship with Sean would make me happy or not, but at this point, I’m not willing to risk it. The last relationship (hell, all of my previous relationships) were so full of ick and abuse that I don’t know what a healthy relationship should look or feel like.
I’m still trying to figure out how I thought I could continue being Sean’s friend without anything physical ever happening. The only thing I can really think is that when I met him and in these months getting to know him, my armor plating and force field were firmly in place. It never entered my mind that I would lower them for anyone. Even the rare times that I did lower them, it was only temporary and the shields went right back in place. When I was so scared of Bubba showing up at the beginning of summer and Sean held me while I shook, that was only a temporary lowering of the shield because I needed to be held so desperately.
Then I look at how respectful Sean has been with my body boundaries. There has only been one instance of him not listening to my body boundary and he learned a lesson that night. It happened about three or four months ago. Serenity and I had had a fight about 10:00 at night. She went storming outside to sit on the porch and as I’d been laying in bed, all I was wearing was a skimpy tank top and my panties. I figured I may as well get up and get on the computer because sleep would be elusive as long as we were fighting.
I didn’t bother putting shorts on since it was so late. I really didn’t think anything of it. The next thing I knew, I heard Sean say, “Hi, Hope!” You see, I have a policy with my friends. If my door is open don’t bother knocking, just come right in. I screamed, “HOLY SHIT!!! CLOSE YOUR EYES!” and as he spun around, I took off to put some shorts on. I was deeply embarrassed having been caught like that at my kitchen table.
We talked for a few minutes and when he went to leave, he asked if he could have a hug. I put my face in my hands to hide the flaming blush I had going on and told him, “No. I’m too embarrassed.” When I get nervous, I tend to laugh. Since I was laughing at the same time, he thought I was kidding with him and hugged me anyway. I reacted immediately. The embarrassed laughter died, I pushed him away, and said, “I told you No! and I meant it. Don’t touch me if I say No!” His face fell. I could tell that he was regretful of what he’d done and hadn’t meant any offense by it.
He came over the next night to apologize again but I’d already been dipping into the alcohol. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but it was mean and uncalled for. I lashed out at him. My words were a direct hit to someone who was truly repentant for his actions.
We both apologized and we talked about what had happened but once again our relationship was on shaky ground. It took us about three weeks to work through that, each of us avoiding anything more than surface interactions with the other. Finally, one day, everything clicked back to normal. We had a new understanding of each other and we’d weathered the storm.
Oh, fuck! As I wrote the last paragraph, I had a massive realization. If this doesn’t prove to you how oblivious I am sometimes, nothing will. I’m already in a relationship with Sean. We’re friends. That, in itself, is a relationship. We’ve had good times, we’ve fought, we’ve both said and done things we regret, we’ve both apologized and made amends.
At this point, I don’t know what to do. I think the best thing I can do is be very blunt with him and tell him what I want, he tells me what he wants, and we see if we can work out a compromise. What I want is sex. I don’t want a relationship beyond what we have already as friends. I won’t expect anything from him and he doesn’t have to expect anything from me. We will continue to be friends who sometimes have sex.
I’m trying to look at everything now and not be as oblivious as I’ve been this whole time. I’m trying to see the pitfalls. And even as you laugh and say that I’m delusional, I will swear up and down that I will feel nothing for him beyond friendship. It’s not inconceivable that it could happen, but I will fight it. If it starts to happen, I will end things. I’m not ready to risk my heart. I’m going to be clear about this with him. He deserves honesty. I just hope he’s honest with me too.
I guess I’m just going to have to either figure out a way to be less oblivious in the future or my friends are just going to have to tell me everything they think I already know about myself. They all saw this coming and they thought I did too. Nope. I was too busy shouting, “INCONCEIVABLE!”
It didn’t work out well for Vizzini and I’m finding that it isn’t working out well for me either.