“I still remember you as a little girl who overwaters plants
because she doesn’t know when to stop giving.”
~ Trista Mateer
In the 2 and a half years I have been single I have talked to a LOT of men.
Some only in the app after I swiped right.
Some by text.
Some on the phone.
Some over drinks.
Some over dinner.
Some in the afterglow.
The interesting thing these guys all had in common was their entitlement to my emotional labour.
The flirty messages and the random get to know you witty banter went from anticipation and excitement, to deep stuff that they wanted me to hold space for, cure, heal, and listen to.
99% of the time I had zero interest in any of it.
It may seem cold and callous but it is actually a boundary issue for me.
For my people I am willing and able to be there when they need me. If I can’t be, I tell them so and I will check in with them later. And then I do.
If I sense someone needs witness or love I will reach out to them and ask “what do you need right now?”
With these men it is the ENTITLEMENT of my time, emotional labour, and space holding that rubs me the wrong way.
Every single time it pisses me off.
Because I had swiped right, said yes, laid down, told them I was a life coach – or done all of the above – at some point all of them went from trying to woo me, to trying my patience.
I coach and counsel people as part of my living.
People reach out to me all the time and I genuinely love it and I am 100% here for it. I am a kind and generous person but *I* get to decide when to hold space for someone.
My friend Coco fabulously coined the first steps to getting to know someone as “the flirting train.”
I did not give any of these dudes permission to get off the flirting train.
What happened to romance?
To being wooed?
To anticipation and excitement?
To pillow talk?
To dreams and plans and silly randomness?
I want all of that.
As women we are taught that when you care about someone, that means caring about all of their stuff.
Making it better.
Keeping the peace.
Not rocking the boat.
I don’t really jive with that sentiment.
I don’t think because I am barely, or deeply, romantically involved with a man that it is my job to care about all of their stuff.
I used to think it was my job because that is what society said a woman did.
It took time and many false starts to be aware that I was bored out of my fucking mind with the “fix me hold me make me better” obligation to listen to men I had no responsibility for, history with, or commitment to.
Yes I want everyone to find peace, and be content, and unpack their baggage, and slay their demons, but it’s not my job to make that happen.
Even in deep long term relationships I have told the guy that I am not the one for this conversation.
Just because I love you does not mean you are entitled to all of me, at all times.
Especially when it comes to their ex relationships.
I am a firm believer in not opening the ex files.
Whatever damage they have suffered in those relationships is not my burden to fix.
I really truly don’t want to know.
I don’t want to know because my self esteem is always in flux as a woman in this world and I know I will compare myself.
I don’t want to know because it takes away my ability to be ME when I tether my reactions because SHE used to react the same way.
When I say “I get you are hurting from this, but I am not the person to discuss this with. I don’t open the ex files.” – they are flummoxed by the no. By the boundary. By the loss of entitlement.
When they say “I had a shit day.” and my response is “balls, that sucks.” I am always asked “don’t you want to know why?”
Ummm, no. I don’t.
Serious jaw dropping silence and then “WHAT? but but but you are a woman. You like me. You HAVE to listen to me. Why can’t I talk about this with you? This has really fucked me up. I need to sort this out and you are a life coach. You are so tender and warm and inviting let me just tell you the story so you can hear my side, I really want your take on this, I am so pissed off about this….yada yada yada” and so on…..
You would not believe how often this happens when we are still texting in the dating app. Even more when we have exchanged phone numbers or have carnal knowledge.
They can talk to their mom.
Or a counselor.
They can’t talk to me.
Not at the beginning when they really need to stay on the flirting train.
Stay on it until we BOTH decide we can skip a stop and see what we mean to each other and MAYBE then I will be there.
Not for the ex files, but for the other big stuff.
By my choice and my decision.
Until then my response always remains the same.
“I am not here for you.”
Stay gold wild ones.
Thanks for hanging out with me.