The Real Girl’s Guide To Accidentally Falling In Love, On Purpose

image - Flickr / Rita M.
image – Flickr / Rita M.

My 23rd birthday marked my one-year anniversary of the end of my longest relationship, and I was single in the best sense of the word. I had reached the peak point of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Being Single. I was in love with my job, in love with my city, in love with my friends, and had even learned to love myself. I thought I might be ready to share myself with someone else again.

Enter “Mr. Big.” We went to high school together, but had never interacted, or even realized we lived in the same city until we matched on Tinder. Go figure. Mr. Big had everything together. Plenty of friends, baller job, beautiful apartment, and an endearing affinity for the outdoors. Our first rendezvous was at Brooklyn Bowl. Pretty soon after meeting up, I realized he had been drinking all day. He kept saying, “I’m normally more smooth, I’m not being smooth!” Little did he know, this was what hooked me. He had a reputation back in the day for being a cocky lacrosse hotshot and I had been worried we wouldn’t get along. Further on in the night I caught a glimpse of a text he sent to his friend that read: “This girl is unreal.” The next day, he answered a phone call by saying, “What’s up, I’m with my new girlfriend.”

Seem too good to be true? Of course it was. After a few weeks of misleading signals, I asked him what the deal was. In front of his friends it was all PDA and promises, but when we weren’t together it was like I didn’t exist. He replied to my query that he “didn’t mean to lead me on, but wasn’t ready for a relationship.” At first I was mad. We didn’t talk for a while. However, he was still liking my pictures and sending me SnapChats. I figured, maybe he wants to be friends, or didn’t think this was as big of a deal as I did. We started hanging out again. He even gave an Oscar worthy apology about leading me on, and said the reason it happened was because he liked hanging out with me so much that he truly considered being in a relationship with me. Until he realized he wasn’t ready. I thought that was understandable. Maybe I wasn’t ready either. Maybe this could be a no-strings sort of thing.

The night before I got my wisdom teeth removed, I asked if I could sleep over since Mr. Big’s apartment was next to my doctor’s office. I met up with him and his friends at a rooftop bar. One of the guys was also from our hometown. Let’s call him “Pete.” Similar to Mr. Big, we hadn’t had contact in high school. But Pete was extremely nice, and when he found out I was visiting LA the following week, he insisted we hang out since he lived there. We all had a grand ol’ time, and headed back to his Mr. Big’s place.

Later that night, Mr. Big told me how excited his friends were to meet me. I gave him a look. “What, you think I don’t talk about you? I talk about you.” I said nothing. As much as it would have been nice to believe him, this was exactly the kind of thing he promised he wouldn’t say. Especially with texts from “Lucy” popping up on his lock screen at 1am.

Fast forward to next Wednesday night, in LA. I decided to meet up with Pete because he had brought up hanging out while I was in Cali multiple times, to the point where it surpassed casual pleasantries. My friends and I went to drink on his roof with some of his law school buddies. Obviously I was a bit nervous to be drinking around my current hook-up’s best friend. I didn’t want to drunkenly pry for details, or say something stupid. To my surprise, Pete brought it all up. He asked questions, and shared details, and provided advice about how to succeed with Mr. Big in the long run. I got the feeling he had wanted to hang out for the sole purpose of having that conversation. By the end of the night, I was wondering how he would relay our conversation to Mr. Big. “Yeah buddy, I told her about all your weaknesses and how you secretly care about her a lot but feel like you need to act a certain way in front of other people.” I was actually proud of myself for saying very little. To acknowledge the whole thing, I had sent a SnapChat to Mr. Big of Pete drinking out of a solo cup, with the caption: “Pete says hi.” He opened the snap, but didn’t respond. Which was fine. Further along in my California adventure, I noticed he hadn’t liked any of my pictures. Ten, total. Is this overanalyzing? Yep. But Pete made a point that Mr. Big is pretty calculated. And when I hadn’t heard from him three weeks later, I knew he was sending me some sort of message. Something along the lines of, “Hey, we never happened. And I am not going to acknowledge you from here on out. KTHANKSBYE.”

So what happened? Did my conversation with Pete somehow affect things? Is Mr. Big just an asshole? Who’s Lucy? Who knows. Luckily, I have figured out some answers to bigger questions since then. I started with deleting the root of all evil: Tinder. And Hinge for that matter. Why should I have to worry about explaining to random dudes that I have two cats, or that I’ve changed my hair roughly 4 times since January? Not only have I decided that I am not ready for another relationship, but when it happens, I want it to be organic. I want The One to come from the fabric of my life. I am going to keep weaving together pieces of people and projects and experiences until this imperfectly perfect quilt is made, and the pattern emerges as my Great Love. Mr. Big may not have been around very long. He never met any of my friends or roommates. He didn’t want to be part of the fabric. But ultimately he played a part in helping me figure things out, so I wish him luck. Maybe one day he will meet a girl he deems “unreal,” and he’ll figure out she is in fact, real, and treat her as such. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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