What you should know before falling for an emotionally unavailable person

Painting by  Joseph Lorusso

Painting by Joseph Lorusso

The end of a year seems to be an appropriate time for reflections and revelations. Time, when we decide to leave certain things behind. Usually, I tease those who say that, but life is ironical, and this year I became one of them. Before throwing away an old planner (yes, am one of those rare specimens who still uses old-school paper planners), I want to share a story about the relationship that affected and transformed me in so many ways, and that has to be left behind.

At least once in every lifetime each one gets a chance to engage in a relationship with someone, who is being perfect at the first glance, will leave us a complete wreck. Sometimes we even have signs that it will not lead us to anything good. For example, they are married. Can any sign possibly be more clear than this? Not with the right-wrong person, no. And it does not really matter, how high morals are, or what the reason says. When feeling come, rational part of self surrenders. At least, so it happened to me (and, take my word for that, among a group of friends – I am the rational one). Destructive as they usually are, these relationships have a great effect on everyone involved, and hardly ever – positive.

Summer 2012 it was, when I participated in an international, interdisciplinary symposium. During an introduction party, an old friend of mine shouted my name across the room to introduce his room-mate. Lightning strike-like sensation hit me during the first few minutes of conversation. Felt either as if I knew him forever, or if I was talking to my double. So similar, so compatible, we spent all the free time together. Meeting after seminars and workshops, sharing meals, going for walks, talking late at night, discussing every possible topic: from poetry to a gun-shot wound. A friend, towards whom I felt incredible attraction, but knew perfectly well that his marital status is a big red “Stop” sign, and thoughts about him should stay in a friendly dimension. However, it all blew up one afternoon, when he interrupted my monologue with a couple-hours-long kiss. Last pieces of guard shields went down after the “Sex is off the table” statement, right before giving into temptation. “It’s an affair, just a meaningless fling. He will forget about me the moment he arrives home, and all will go back to normal.”

Few days after the conference I went on vacation, devoted to the idea of putting all the events behind. However, couple days later I found myself exchanging messages with him. Many hours spent discussing the wrongness of our did, and promising to be friends, never anything more. However, another however – so ridiculously many of them in the story, – close friendship lead us towards developing inappropriate feelings towards each other. Connection so strong, feelings so intense that the relationship made us sick. Emotionally, physically. Unable to focus on work, on other relationships, our words started crumbling and falling apart. The worse it got, the stronger we were grasping on each other. The stronger our bond was, the more fragile other spheres of life were. Vicious cycle. Nevertheless, none of us was ready to make sacrifices in order to be together. He could not “just leave everything” to be with me, and I could not keep on playing the role of dirty mistress, neither could admit that I am one when he did want to tell. All or nothing for me, everything and twice – for him. Dance continued for months: I moved to his country, to be closer. He was sneaking from home on every possible occasion, and texted 24/7.

In late spring we went away for a weekend. To celebrate his birthday, to spend quality time together, without hiding and pretending. Naked in bed, he played with my hair and in soft voice said words that broke me into pieces: “I don’t think I can do it. Get divorced. Do you understand?” Taken by surprise? Hardly. Something one suspects, expects and fears has the greatest power over one. I’ve spent five days in bed, unable to open blinders and to face the world without him.

Gradually, I have accepted the fact and started recovery. Met someone good, made big changes in life. “This is it? So, you had an affair, he dumped you, and now you are all cool with it, moving on?” If only. The thing is, we are still very close. After the Spring accident, as we call it, we met several times, he wanted me back and asked to give him time, which was not something I could do anymore, but… When you are so close with someone, someone, who is not available, but is your perfect fit, hardly it is possible to give on the connection, at least not completely. Last night, for example, we were talking till 4am. Going through every single mistake we made in the relationship, hurting each other more and more, and admitting own inability to let it go.

So, what is it that I have learnt and want you to know, when you fall for someone unavailable? It brings nothing good. People do not change, and do not like changes in their life. Changes are scary, demanding, and lead to an unknown. Even strong feelings and realization of one being the one is not the reason enough. Saying this, I want to call for everyone who is falling, has fallen, and is going through something similar: there is no was up, only way down from the fall. No matter how right these people seem to be for us, they always will be only too wrong. Be that emotional, legal or any other form of unavailability – they will never become part of the world we live in. The yes-no dance, broken promises and empty hope are a shortcut to a low self-esteem, commitment and trust issues, and rejection issues, after being in a position that whatever-it-may-be is repeatedly chosen over you.

The end of a year seems like an appropriate time for changes. This is the first time I make a resolution I intent to keep: by unwrapping my new planner, I promise that there will be no place for his name and that pain. Cheers!

Submitted to ArtParasites by Martha Frank