To The Fisherman: He Who Always Tries To Reel You Back In

Let me just first say that the iPhone block caller feature is phenomenal. I feel like it’s the modern-day realistic equivalent of going totally Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on a bad love situation. When it’s the most useful though, is when your ex is a Fisherman. That is, a guy that seemingly has either a psychic connection or a weird sense perception that goes off when you’re moving on, wherever you are, that causes him to cast out his line and try to reel you back in – even though he doesn’t even really care about you in the first place.

I’m not sure if it’s because this is the first time since high school that I’ve allowed myself to be truly, wonderfully, wholly and beautifully single, with no plans of changing that anytime soon, that this little game is so blatantly obvious, sick, and frankly downright annoying. Whether this type of behavior just never really fazed me before or whether I only ever witnessed it happening to my friends. Let’s just say that I met my ex at an interesting place in my life – right out of a rough break-up with my college boyfriend, about to graduate college, a few months before I was to up and move to another state, and one month after losing my father – I could go on and on – there is a deadly cocktail of reasons I could give you as to why this “relationship” was doomed from the start. Deep down I knew that and though he claims to have not known that, I wanted to be in denial and he was totally fine with playing along. All I wanted was a distraction at that point, to not think too much, or really at all, not take things too seriously, and basically just survive that summer before going to law school.

The last thing I wanted was to fall in love, but he fell into my life. With him it was perfect, he was the perfect distraction while I was in this limbo. It was one of those things where you can spend every waking moment together and never get sick of each other. You could do nothing, you could do anything, you just never wanted it to end. If you could just live forever it still wouldn’t be enough time together. It was easy, you didn’t have to try, you never stopped laughing; you were best friends, you were lovers, you were just a continuation of each other. We didn’t have to talk. Or we could just speak in absurd internet memes. Everything about us just worked when we were together. That was the reality of the situation, that was how we lived that summer. But, it was superficial. We ignored the question of “what are we” and if it did come up it ended in a fight because hey, reality, being a grown up – it’s just not as fun. Why deal with what would happen when the summer ended when we still had the summer, we still had right now. Looking back I was more guilty of it than he was. We didn’t talk about what was going on beneath the surface of ourselves and in that sense we were both using each other. Worst of all, we weren’t willing to let go of each other, for what we did for each other, for who we were when we were with each other – at least superficially happy.

Fast forward. I move to a different state. Living in blissful denial ends, as we always knew it would but never acknowledged, and we were over. Except that we weren’t. Every time I went “home” on break, I went home to him, and we went back to summer (though in fairness I didn’t have an actual home to go to, he had literally and figuratively been my home before I left, thus making the sticky situation even stickier). And then I’d go back to school. And this went on for months until I just couldn’t live like that anymore, I had to wake up. I couldn’t continue in la-la-land where people pretend they don’t have real issues or communicate on a genuine level – that was great after my dad died and I literally couldn’t process thoughts or emotion – but not anymore, not when you need to start accepting things and move on with your life. All summers end. I told him I couldn’t see him again. But he didn’t get it. He didn’t want to lose me as a friend. He made me feel like an awful person for trying to cut him out of my life. He wasn’t ready to give it up, he wasn’t ready to grow up.

The problem was he knew it was hurting me, he knew that I cared about him, and he knew how much I would love to continue living in that denial. He, mind you, who is old enough that he has had no excuse to refuse to grow up. So I’d ignore him, then he’d text me, then weeks of silence, ignore, he’d call, silence, lather, rinse, repeat. It’s extremely hard to realize, in that situation, that the person you think you know so well, who claims to care about you immensely, that you spent every moment with for so long – actually doesn’t give a crap about you. He cared about the idea of me, the place-filler of me, who he was to me. How easy it was when we were together, that after months of not seeing each other it could go right back to normal. This is the issue, this is what made him a fisherman. If he cared, really cared , he would have just left me alone because he knew I had to move on in my life – I deserved to move on with my life.

But no. He had to keep trying to reel me back in. For two solid years since I met him, he kept trying to reel me back in. You can just imagine my utter elation when I updated to iOS 7 and discovered the wondrous, beautiful creature that is the block caller feature. It’s finally over. His denial ran deeper than mine, he didn’t and still doesn’t want to face reality. But you can’t go down with a sinking ship that’s too stubborn to save itself. Pulling the plug in the first place is hard enough. Pulling it twenty more times is excruciating. Especially when you do truly care about the person, you miss them with all of your heart, you’d love to go back to that place where you were both happy – at least on the surface, at least in the moment. Full of laughter and warm buttery pancakes at the diner on Sunday morning. Driving up the Taconic with no real destination, just you two and good ole’ Bob Dylan. It would all be so easy. But it’s not real life. And for those fishermen, you just need to cut the cord once and for all. Because they will never do it for you.  TC mark

image – Shutterstock

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