Because this is how it would go if we date:
You are married.
We have arrived at this awkward place because I naively thought your marriage made you entirely safe and therefore I was comfortable being myself without much of a mask. At some point, the tension will become too much and you will say something suggestive to which I will respond.
We will have a steamy time of sexting banter and you will develop this conviction that I really am what you have always wanted and all that you are missing in your stagnant marriage. I will try to point out that you are in the middle of a very intense guilt fantasy, and I am simply the object of your midlife angst. I will be convinced and convincing. At first you will deny this and try really fervently to show me this is not the case. I will actually begin to believe you just about the time that you realize that it is so.
You will become conflicted, begin to backtrack, panic, and blame me. You will disappear, go dark. I will go into retreat mode after a very short period of trying to keep communication lines open. When I realize that is fruitless, I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a long weekend to being completely overwhelmed by negativity and self-loathing. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the idiocy of your guilt fantasy.
You will eventually miss me to the point that you will make contact. We may or may not have a flare up, but I am done with you and am comforted only by knowing that you wake up and go to sleep thinking about me.
If you are kind of married: long strained, separated
You are the worst kind. See above but add in the feverish manner in which you will attempt to convince me that the only reason you are still with her is convenience for kids or logistics or health insurance. You will be struck by my intelligence and attention. I will be struck by what I wrongly perceive as emotional intelligence by your ability to diagnose the strangely textured mess that is your marriage.
In this scenario, I get suckered in by your explanation and the attention that you are enjoying showering on a woman when actually what is going on is that I just haven’t quite made it to the part where I realize probably the reason your wife isn’t responding to you is that you are a boy in a man suit and she has figured this out. You still love her but you miss her attention. Soon you will realize that I am an actual person with actual children. You will begin to think that I am after you for your resources and you will begin to do the math on the cost of being involved with two households. You will also begin to realize that now that you are considering making a real move, you might as well figure out if I would be the right person to do this with.
You will begin to backtrack and though I will save myself the embarrassment of finding that your dating profile is re-activated, I am pretty sure that it is. You will start to ask me questions that are designed to instill doubt in me, but I won’t have quite figured that out yet. When you test me with the idea that you may never divorce, and I respond very rationally with the scenario of my life energy going toward what takes best care of me and if I am on my own financially, how is that going to feel when my efforts come before you, you are slightly offended.
When you suggest maybe I just like you because you have a good job, I will hate you from my core and know that you understand nothing about me. I will be too passive to break it off right then, but I will lock you into a very tiny dark place in my heart and I will lose a weekend to being completely overwhelmed by feelings of rage and hatred. By Monday I will be pissed and filled with a renewed sense of fuck you, and I will begin to recover and wonder why I let myself get off my own life and wrapped up in the futility of being your toy.
Your wife will eventually get her sense about her and leave. You will eventually date other women and realize what an idiot you were. There will be no flare up. Linking my willingness to trust you and let you in to me wanting you for your money was a bad, bad move.
If you are single
I will make it very clear that I have three kids half time. I will explain that I am volcanic financially, and I’m not in a position to rush into anything. We will be struck by each other’s witty banter and business acumen and we will end up sleeping together way too soon.
I knew this was a bad idea, because you will begin to backtrack and panic almost before morning hits. Though feedback I’ve received would indicate this is not a lack of skill in the intimate arts, I am beginning to wonder. I am not going to rush you into a dark box because this is new territory. Maybe single guys are different than married guys.
At least you answer the phone when I call and ask, “I just want feedback. I’m not trying to stalk you.” You explain that I have three children and am financially volcanic. Most of a Saturday blown out, but mitigated by a text from the married guy who assured me I am still desirable. Whatever.
When you call back months later to ask me for help with a writing project and ask if I’m still sexy, it takes great pains not to tell you to go fuck yourself.
If you are single with kids from five different women
You are such a sweet guy. You are kind, you listen, you tell me I am amazing and you clearly enjoy being around me. You open doors and hold my hand. And then I find out that you would really like to get custody of your youngest daughter and you think I am just the woman to raise her.
There are two reasons that I am not gay. The first is that I am not physically attracted to women. The second is that if I were, women have the same baggage men have.
I lose far too much time wondering why we humans need contact when it seems to be such an impossibility. I lose far too much time wondering why I still want connectivity when I see little evidence of its existence. “Just take your mind off it,” people say, like I’m 13 and having my first crush. Understand this, I’m 46. I get that it doesn’t happen when you are looking for it.
My fear isn’t that I can’t find guys who find me attractive. Shooting fish in a barrel. My fear is that I am creating a decision point somewhere between my head and my heart where I am trying to kill my desire for it. I find myself getting bitter and having a really short leash on anything that smacks of doubt or rejection. I am fighting the belief that I must be somehow defective. If for no other reason than because I don’t even want to try with single available men.
I wonder if distrusting men is in my blood and I am acting out some karmic debt. It makes me sad because I’m kind of fun to be around and I am a generous soul.