I will admit, I am starved for positive attention. As such, it's surely safe to say that I'm not always in tip top form when it comes to decision making. And it's also pretty clear from my disastrous marriage that I'm not a very good judge of character when it comes to men. So I suppose it shouldn't surprise me that I fell so easily into this trap considering those two things.
It's been so long since someone complimented me instead of torn me down. It's been so long since someone showed an interest in my thoughts and feelings and opinions instead of mocking them. It's been a long time since I've felt valuable as a woman. And even though I know that I should not allow my sense of self worth to be wrapped up in a view of myself through the eyes of any man, it's difficult to put that into practice. It's difficult to hush the negative voices that my husband introduced to my head.
So when this other man started paying attention to me, I was hooked immediately. I didn't cross any real lines; I never even saw him in person. I'd be lying if I said it wouldn't have progressed to that if he hadn't proven himself to be such a horrific asshole, but before his true colors were revealed the most interaction we ever had was phone conversations.
And they were such fabulous conversations. It was simply delightful to talk to someone who listened to me, who cared what I had to say, who challenged me and made me think, who respected me. We laughed together, we debated, we commiserated, we shared stories and we gave each other advice. We bonded almost immediately and while the thought of another relationship with anyone in the immediate or near future absolutely paralyzes me with fear, I thought maybe in the distant future, in a few years when I am free and things are settled, maybe if we were still in one another's lives that there could be something there.
I'm so naive.
I fall all over the first man who tells me I'm beautiful and, predictably, it doesn't bode well. It's a good thing I learned the truth about him early, though it hurt more than it probably should have. We had a fight about something ridiculous - I won't share what it was because first of all it doesn't even matter but secondly, I don't want to out myself or him; that would be terrible - but the point is, we had this misunderstanding, this fight, and he absolutely flipped shit.
He lost control. Had I been in the room I don't know what would have happened. As it was, he spent twenty minutes on the other end of the phone screaming and railing at me, saying all sorts of unnecessarily cruel and hurtful things.
And while our "relationship" such as it was had not progressed beyond a friendship, at least in my mind, the loss of the man I thought he was was painful. And learning that he wasn't that man at all, that I fell for this persona he created to suck me into his web was very frightening. Frightening because while I am not looking for anything from anyone for a very long time, I will at some point. And I am terrified, terrified that I am doomed to repeat the mistakes I've already made.