Texting Etiquette

Today I thought I would write about a few insights I have had recently while dating. Oh, this should be entertaining.  But I have to promise myself I will not let this turn into a rant session.  Good luck with that.  Because there is nothing better that Mr. E would like to do than complain. You got it! And I have recently noticed since Mr. P was wiped off the face of the earth, Mr. E has made some new friends but we’ll get to that later.

But before I get into these honorable mentions, maybe I should take a step back to provide a little history on my dating status.  This will be short.   Yes, it’s pretty simple.  Back in July of 2010, I decided to take a year hiatus from dating.  I’m sensing a theme here.  That meant for one year no dates, no hook ups, no nothing.  Sounds fun, eh? The goal was for it to be a year of reflection, healing, self devotion, etc. (Insert eye rolling here)  Well, that year ended up stretching into about 18 months, minus a 2 week short reconnection with a previous lover (with lots of drama courtesy of you-know-who because he had enough of the whole no sex thing) at about the 13 month mark.

So, as you can see, 2012 was off to a pretty quiet start.  But unfortunately Mr. E prefers a bit more action so he suggests “Now” would really be a good time to jump back into the singles scene, with my time off and all. And he always likes to mention this at a low point when I am feeling a little lonely and bored which makes the Executive more than happy to jump and do something before I can change my mind.

See, deep down inside,  I’ve really got mixed feelings about the whole dating thing.  Some days I’m interested and some days I’m not. Because I’ve reached a point where I am totally good being alone.  I enjoy hanging out with myself. Hiking, movies, restaurants, you name it, I’m fine to go all by myself.  I’ve even gotten over the need to bring a book, etc. I’m like Hans Solo, well without the Hans part.

And while, it definitely seems like it would be “nice” to find someone to do things with and certainly get a little something-something….I must admit most times it feels like a lot of effort (especially internet dating which seems more like a job than an adventure) and I’d truly prefer just to leave it up to the universe to align the stars whenever the timing and situation are right.  But without an official dating strategy, Mr. E just likes to call this “lazy”. Thanks for the love, E. Anytime.

So a couple of months ago, Mr. E reved up the “I really should be making an effort to date” thing and off I went off to find “the one”.  Remember back to a post or two ago, I mentioned a weekend hiking date?  Well I had been casually seeing someone for about 2 1/2 months who lived about 2 hours away.   And I knew from our initial conversation, he wasn’t “the one” but he seemed like a decent guy to hang out so I decided to just go with it. Good practice, I told myself.  As you can imagine based on the distance, we only saw each other a handful of times during this period.  But we did talk on the phone and definitely kept in enough daily contact via text that it had consistency and continued momentum.

See, if I’m going to ‘date’, I have to continue to remind myself I need to remember to be a “passenger” not the “driver”.  Because I’m pretty much the driver in everything I do which links back to our previous discussion on male/female energy. (Refer to blog post titled, It’s Official)  Yes, in my new glorified self, I’m going to embrace allowing, going with the flow, being receptive and basking in my beautiful feminine glory. Yeah, right.  Which just means, this whole process is going to be painful.  Hey, what happened to the attitude of gratitude? I’m sorry, I meant, this is definitely going to be a growth process. Stop interrupting, E!

Now might be a good time for me to state for the record, my stance on texting.  As someone who worked in a company that pioneered the first smart phone, texting is actually technically called, SMS.  Or short message service.  Get it?  Not LMS.  Long message service; a.k.a. I’m too wimpy to dial the damn phone and tell you voice to voice what is really going on.  Attitude check, please?

Believe me, texting is great but has a time, place and purpose. Texting to me is perfect for short quick notes, one liners like … “Be there in 5 min” or “I’m here” or “Where are you?” (that one is sent usually to my kids).  Or anything to an established friend/family that is a quick “check this out” or “I’m in a meeting and can’t talk but need to tell you something asap” or “Are you free to chat later” or “urgent message”, etc.  And don’t get me wrong, it also can be used at the right dating points as the sweet “thinking of you” or nice hot juicy sext message, etc but SHOULD NOT, I repeat, SHOULD NOT replace the basic standard communication mechanism for longer important conversations that require more than 160 characters especially when the subject warrants a detailed back and forth Q & A session.  Deep breath. No ranting, remember? 🙂

Ok, maybe this isn’t going to work.  Let me regroup.  I’ll think try to use a technique my therapist recommended because I can tell that Mr. E isn’t getting enough action these days and just wants to vent.  I am going to attempt to articulate just the neutral “FACTS” of the scenario vs the “STORY” that I was telling and feeling inside.

FACTS:

  • My male “friend” was not following up with scheduling our next date after we had spent an overnight together in the city the week prior.
  • When I pinged him about making plans, he response was luke warm but he offered a few time slot suggestions about potentially getting together.  When I replied and suggested we chat on the phone to arrange, he went dark for several days which was inconsistent with his communication patterns over the last 2+ months.
  • After not hearing from him for several days, I again reached out to him to check back in. (I KNOW, I KNOW!!  It’s a hard habit to break!!)
  • I finally received an “LMS” advising that in the last 3 days he had quit his job, accepted a new one on the East Coast, had been selling, sorting and packing his stuff and will be moving in next 5 days.

WTF??? Wow, would have been nice to get a heads up anywhere in the prior 2 months if not 2 weeks that any or all of this was potentially coming down the pipe. Hyper-V had been circling for days searching for signs and clues of what was happening and PTSD doesn’t like surprises so it turned out to be a bit of an emotional wake up call or “wake up text” I should say. Now, as you can see, I’m ready to talk about my story line that was running in my head as this was happening.

STORY:

  • Initially, when he was not making plans with me, I believed it was because; 1) He’s super busy (and I’m not important or a priority). 2) He’s seeing other people (therefore, he’s not trustworthy). 3) He’s just not that into me (contrary to him telling me how crazy he is about me, etc which then makes him a liar on top of it all).
  • Then, when I first reached out and he offered some times to get together, it felt half hearted and he went dark again, so I knew there was definitely something wrong.  I thought he’s avoiding me, blowing me off, etc.
  • I felt compelled to figure out what was happening because the uncertainty was annoying me so I started debating a hundred of different scenarios of what could be happening and then of course carefully crafted my potential responses to each of those scenarios.
  • I also really started to get mad that he wasn’t taking my schedule into consideration.  I had plans pending with other people and was trying to hold time for him but it’s wasn’t going to work even if he gets his act together because I only have a specific window available when I don’t have my kids and if we miss it, it’s going to be 2 more weeks.

Needless to say, I was kinda shocked when I received this via text at 6:45AM on Saturday morning because none of the scenarios I had been running in my head were actually what had been going on.  Interestingly enough, of all the scenarios I had mocked up for him not engaging were all about “me” AND it turns out it actually had nothing to do with “me”.  Literally and figuratively.  He wasn’t even thinking about me.  HA!  This is Mr. E at his finest.  It’s always about him.  Always.

So after I read the message, here is what went through my head.

I was definitely hurt by the communication via text and the timing “after the fact” of what had been happening.  I also felt bad for him as it seemed like he had been going through a lot alone and I could have helped support him through it.  So part of me wanted to bail on him now and the other part of me wanted to help him.  Also, I felt this really strong need for closure and I thought that this was because the poor communication was lighting up a bunch of past pain pictures for me but I realized later, it was much deeper than that.

As the texting hell continues.  I responded back, “Wow. Hope you are ok.  Sounds like this is goodbye, etc.”  No response. I laid in bed and cried for a bit not because of him per se, I was actually totally fine ending this because I was never that attached to him but I just felt a lot of sadness come over me.  Past healing of old wounds, I told myself.

So I continued to type um, “communicate” with him telling him I supported his decision, “I thought it was too bad that we didn’t get to say goodbye, wished him the best, etc.”  Then he chimed in with the maybe we can get together, which then I responded, “No pressure/obligation, I’m sure he was busy”, etc. When he then responded 3 hours later, “he was sorry to have kept me in the dark, how great I’ve been, how hard this was for him to decide, etc.”

At this point, I was on the fence. The part of me wanted closure believed that if I refused to see him at this point, I thought it was my Ego just being mad at him (which I was about the communication part not the leaving part) so I thought, if I did decide to see him, it would be good to smooth it all over, not let my Ego win and end things on a positive note”. (Like a mature adult who knows how to communicate) Sorry, Mr E. needed to get a dig in.  He can’t help it.  Nice story, I was telling myself, eh?  I just didn’t realize it time.  Because Mr. E. is soooooo tricky.

But I did honor myself  on some level and continued to type, “communicate” to him my feelings were hurt (a win for me as I usually don’t tell someone when my feelings have been hurt) about the late news and hearing this all over “text” but I would figure a time to see him before he left. He advised he would call me the next day.  Did he call me the next day? Of course not. See the pattern? Well, not at least until I prompted him AGAIN. (I know, I really need helpfirst step is to admit you have a problem) Long story short, finally after an hour of real phone conversation where he did all of the talking about himself, for some reason we agreed to connect to say goodbye.  Until I came to my senses 2 days later and cancelled. 🙂

See, the whole time I thought I needed closure.  I thought this was about communication. I thought this was about me wanting to support him, be the bigger person, end this on a positive note.  Well, I thought wrong.  You know what I finally figured out a couple of days later?  For me, this was really about control, abandonment and responsibility.

Turns out, I realized I wanted to control the way it ended.  I wanted it on my terms, my way, so I felt safe and didn’t feel abandoned.  This wasn’t energetically about him per se, this was about my father and other men that had left me too.  And you want to know what?  For him, I am 1000% sure this wasn’t about me at all either!  None of the decisions that he made had anything to do with me.

The responsibility part was that I felt I need to “fix” things which looked like a  “support/rescue” mission.  But there was nothing to fix and he wasn’t coming to me for assistance, he was focused on other things in his life and I all needed to do was let go…the first time he disengaged!  Did you notice it took me at least 3 times of re-engagement before I could finally get to this little nugget?  Crazy.  🙂  If I had just truly been able to stay in the moment, “Be” not “Do”,  choose Love over Fear, listen to the Soul not the Ego,…and not feel compelled to react or keep jumping in to figure it out what was going on, this would have just had just played itself out and faded quietly away minus the several days of stewing in self inflicted drama. NOTE TO SELF!

Yes, the Ego always wants to “do” something and even when I thought I was doing something to counter act my Ego’s anger or hurt, it was all a trick.  What this lesson was for me again is a good reminder about how in relationships each person is usually wrapped up in their own emotional decisions and projection without the direct input or influence of the other on the situation.  I definitely read the situation correctly, that there was something wrong but I had told myself, it was my responsibility to figure it out, when it wasn’t. I hadn’t done anything wrong so there was nothing to do but sit back and watch it all unfold which Mr. E absolutely cannot stand.

For me, in the end, this actually all turned out positive even though we didn’t get to officially see each other or say goodbye.  I realized all of the above and I didn’t need to see him.   And I’m totally ok with it all.  I carry no ill thoughts whatsoever and I’m honestly very grateful to him for the role he played in this interesting lesson.  I did enjoy our time together and I know this is just all just a part of the journey.  It’s time to take this wisdom and move on.

Next! 😉

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This entry was posted in Ego, Hyper-V, Mr. E, Mr. P, PTSD, Soul, The Executive and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Texting Etiquette

  1. Brad says:

    Awesome post. You tell a story well. And you seem very insightful.

    • Hi Brad,
      Thank you so much for your kind words. I think all of those self help books and years of therapy are paying off. HA! I follow your blog as well and enjoy it. I hope all is going well at with your new job! 🙂
      -Leandra

  2. Beautiful. Although I’ve been married for nearly 25 years, I connect with this post on so many other communication levels. Also, I can’t wait to share this with a (single) friend of mine. Thanks for sharing. :>

  3. Pingback: It’s Starting To Feel A Lot Like It’s Over « My Pathetic Attempts At Love

  4. Pingback: Day 27: My Niche | The Bradlands

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