There was a message in my Instagram mailbox. I was never great at checking it. I tend to get anxious when I think of all the avenues that people can use to contact me, but something told me to check it.
It was a newspaper link to the most romantic places to eat in San Antonio.
“Maybe we could go visit one of these sometime.”
The message came from a gorgeous man, he looked to be in his 20s with a cherubic face and a skin tone I immediately envied. Clicking on his picture sent me to his profile. He was physically everything I fantasized about, incredibly muscular but not overly so, but there was no way this man could be real, and if he was, there’s no way he’d be attracted to me. Men who looked like him generally began their messages with (though they were always replies), “Not into fats” or “you have such a handsome face, hit me up when you lose some weight.”
Granted, when he reached out to me, I was in great shape…I worked out nearly every day, sometimes multiple hours a day because I wanted one man to notice me, hold me, kiss me, like he once did nearly a year prior. I hadn’t yet accepted the fact that this man was a narcissist and that I fell right into his hands. He got what he needed from me, then cut off all psychical affection, but kept me close enough to long for more, without ever giving it. For an entire year...
So I told this new, beautiful man, that was brave enough to ask me out, “I don’t think my boyfriend would like that.” He didn’t contact me again for weeks and I kept pretending to be Ashley’s boyfriend (not his real name). Then one night, I’d finally had enough of being strung along by Ashley. I’d had enough of him calling me only AFTER he’d spent the evening with his friends just so he had a warm, younger man to share his bed with, without any sex, of course. I’d had enough of being one of his “boys,” ornaments he kept around so he could feed his ego.
I was done.
Here was this beautiful specimen of a man asking me out again, his persistence was attractive. I said yes, but only to a non-date. What did that mean exactly? Well, I’d told my best friends that I wouldn’t be paying for his dinner or buying his movie ticket or even kissing him. I was scared of falling into another trap. I'd learn to hate dating. But I immediately knew something was different with this one, but I had no idea.
I had no idea how hard it would be to keep those promises and never would have fathomed the beautifully, traumatic, nearly-four year relationship that would follow…For the first time in my life, I would know what it meant to be in love with someone.