Sometimes it takes a long time to get over someone.
I first noticed Christian at my gym two years before I actually met him. He was tall, fit, and had a quiet bearing. Apparently, he had noticed me too, but neither of us did anything about it for two years. In the spring of 2004, I walked into the back room of the gym to stretch and there he was sitting on the floor doing ab work. We were alone … and then he spoke, “You do yoga, right?” A conversation ensued. We goaded each other to take the weight-lifting class beginning in the studio – unbeknownst to me, that would make it his third hour in the gym for the day. He asked me out to dinner after the class. I was hooked.
So what’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, that evening I found out that he was a lieutenant in the National Guard. No problem, I had dated a “weekend warrior” before. On our third date, as we walked to our table at a local restaurant, a woman who knew him said, “So will you be shipping out too?” I had heard rumors that the local guard troop may be deploying to Iraq, but I was in denial that this may mean that Christian would ship out, too. The same week that he learned of his deployment, I was offered a job on the East Coast (I was living in the West at the time). Christian encouraged me to take the job, even though we were both so deeply in love with each other, he said that we could make the relationship work no matter where I was.
I’m addicted to flirting! I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of it. I’m fixated by the attention I get from men when I flirt with them. I’ll pretty much flirt with any man of any age, if I know I can get something out of them. When I was a young adult, I became aware of my womanly charms and how I could use them to get attention from men — attention that I didn’t get from my father. I never, ever thought that I would be the type of woman who would use her “charms” to get attention from men. In college I was referred to as a “tease.” I would say that’s a fair description of my behavior because I like to flirt but never follow through with any physical interaction.
For this installment of “The Y Factor” I’d like to take the opportunity to respond to feedback provided by a couple of readers. My intentions in responding to the feedback aren’t to rebut or “correct” anyone, but to internalize the comments and incorporate them into my own healing process.
In the blog titled “I’ll Hurt You Before You Hurt Me,” I wrote about my family’s unhealthy behavior of deflecting our internal pain into nasty verbal barbs towards each other. A reader named “Weiss” reflected on this saying, “It seems like you naturally mellowed. The fighting may have helped you along.” I think it’s entirely possible that I may have started to “mellow” with age (although I’m only 35!), but I don’t think that I would have begun the mellowing process if I hadn’t been jolted into it by circumstances that I brought on myself (offending a boss one too many times with my nasty attitude and getting fired). I suppose that the mellowing began when I started putting all of the pieces together in therapy. The concept that the “fighting may have helped (me) along” is hard for me to wrap my mind around. The fighting actually worked to drive us more apart before I became conscious of why I was doing it.