Tin-Can Effect

As a girlfriend, I’m as loyal as a Golden retriever. But once it’s over, that’s kind of it for me. I move on because I just don’t get the idea of being friends after dating. No matter what, there always seems to be a lingering ambiguity, at least on one person’s part. For instance, I went on three dates with Lorenzo last fall and even though we said we’d be friends when I told him I wasn’t interested, he still kissed me when we were out one night.

Maybe that’s not such a great example. But whatever.

Generally, I’m just never friends with people I used to date. And I get kind of annoyed with people who are. I mean, is it just that they don’t want to totally lose touch with someone they were once fond of? Or, maybe they like having a cushion of possibility? Who knows? 

Alas, despite my disinterest in keeping up with the flavors of months past, stragglers still pop up from time to time. It feels like tin cans tied to a string wrapped around my ankle. I just can’t shake ’em. The hypothetical tinking of aluminum on pavement behind me is both reassuring and mildly annoying depending on my mood. But not at all cumbersome. Except for Jeb, whose more like an empty milk carton full of sand.

I dated Jeb last summer for three weeks and he broke it off when he found out I was writing a book. And that he was part of it. I was crushed. He wanted to stay friends. “We can try,” was my response right before he walked out my door and I burst into tears for two days straight.

Friends didn’t work out because his version was me giving him rides to work when his car broke down and him blurring the lines and making me feel like it actually wasn’t just friends with cheesy comments like “I almost just kissed you.” I went from feeling rejected to feeling indifferent to being utterly annoyed. And now he won’t go away.

Instead he showed up on my stoop bearing gifts when I didn’t call him back, and when I told him I didn’t want to be friends he said, “I won’t accept that.” It was August then. I was deep into finishing the book and just couldn’t deal with him. I told him this as my last ditch effort to cut the cord thinking he’d forget about me.

But, on Oct 4th he emailed wanting to go for a celebratory dinner when I finished the book. He didn’t want to date me because of the book but now he wants to celebrate it? Forget it. After a slew of ignored voicemails and emails, and a final cell phone show down where I yelled at him for being a selfish manipulator (felt good), I finally cut the milk carton loose.

Simon on the other hand is friends with lots of girls he’s dated, and his string of tin cans always seems to be calling him on the phone. (Okay, this is totally an exaggeration. But still.) Hardly any of them were serious relationships, and he has reassured me there is nothing to worry about. I trust him and I know he cares about me. I’m going to see him for Thanksgiving for god’s sake. But there’s still a part of me that wants to whine, “But can’t you just not be friends with them?” There’s the other part of my that wants to call on one of my tin cans just to make things even. But I don’t, because I just don’t feel like it. If we lived in the same city this wouldn’t be an issue. But the insecurity that always seems to go with the LDRs is catching up with me.

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One response to “Tin-Can Effect

  1. One of my very closest friends is an ex … it took about a year, but we reconnected. It was easy for us, though – same social circle, same interestes. It just happened naturally.

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