Younger, naive, much less in tune with the ways relationships work (and don’t work). To put it simply, I was just young and dumb and hopelessly romantic. I thought I was in love, maybe I was. It sure seemed that way, when we weren’t fighting over something silly and he wasn’t ignoring me or giving me the silent treatment.
We were very different. At that young of an age, I had a restlessness to do things. Anything, really. I wanted to have have dinner and an evening of conversation at my mom’s house, go catch a movie once in awhile. I wanted to have my pregnant step-sister over and make her brownies and see how excited she got when the pan came out of the oven. I wanted to go to ballgames with my dad and not see his disappointment everytime I left the house.
And he didn’t want to be around people. Not anyone. Not his family, not my family. Sometimes, I think, not even me. I did everything I could to catch his attention — cooked great meals, suggested movies to watch, brought home card games I thought he might like. To no avail. The harder I tried, the more he ignored me.
I see now that it was terribly painful for him to be around other people. When he said, “Rose, I don’t know what to say!” — he really meant that he didn’t know what to say. I thought he was just shy at first. And that was okay because I’m a little on the shy side myself when I first get to meet someone. But it was more than that. There was a complete confusion, for him, about how people interacted, talked to each other, empathized and loved one another. He didn’t understand it, and it couldn’t be taught. I tried — he would say, “just leave me alone.”
I don’t know how I made it through three years like that. My biggest problem with him was that he constantly ignored me. I would get home from work and we would talk for a little bit and, even though he had been home all day by himself, he had to get away again. He would go to the basement and play video games at full volume, for hours on end. He would take his tablet or his iPod and go listen to five or six or seven podcasts.
I remember thinking, “I just want him to like me. To love me, even!” I remember wondering why he never wanted to be around anyone, no matter how loving and including they were. It was all very confusing to me, because I felt like I was doing all the right things, like my family and his family were doing all the right things.
When things were close to the end, we were sitting around taking online questionnaires. I sent him one for Asperger’s Syndrome. He read off his answers to me, which were all lies. The truths were all such CLEAR markings, and I can say that I do have some experience with this, having worked in the the mental health field for over ten years. I began to think, not for the first time, that something clinical could have been playing a role in our dysfunctional (nonfunctional) relationship. Not that it was or that it had, but that it COULD have.
Right after that, we got into a big fight about the same old things (ignoring me, never wanting anything to do with anyone, playing video games for 12 hours at a time overnight). He said he was leaving. I told him that I would hold him to that, and he left the next day.
It’s three years later and imagine my surprise when he friends me on Facebook. Knowing I shouldn’t, but wanting to know how he is, I accept. And he starts messaging me. Over and over. Won’t stop. I finally figured out to unfriend him. He kept messaging me and I didn’t understand how that was possible, so I blocked him. My phone rang a few minutes later, and it was him, pretending to be a customer service rep. I told him we were never getting back together, that it would never happen and that I had bad memories from that time. He said he understood and would leave me alone.
I hope I don’t have to change my number.