Unwitting Puppet

If it hasn’t been painfully obvious, I’ve fallen off the wagon. I’ve been thinking about her again.

But it isn’t my fault.

You see, she came by my work and gave me a box of homemade shortbread cookies in a cute little box (as well as some for my other co-workers). I would normally say that it’s a nice gesture, but in this case, it was a cruel and painful reminder of what I had lost. But that pain subsided as I ate them (admittedly, in one sitting) and I decided to forgive her for that one. It’s hard to stay angry when the sugar and butter hits your brain.

Then she walked by at a concert, and squeezed my arm as she was passing by. I didn’t even know she was there until it happened. Then she did it again.

This whole time, I’ve been trying to get over things by staying away, and I was doing pretty well, until the touch1 of her hand fanned the ashes of passion that were left smoldering in my chest, reversing several weeks of emotional recovery.

I told my friends I knew I was being selfish, because I’m the weaker one for not being able to handle it when she’s dating someone else2. But they tell me it’s not selfish, it’s self preservation. That I’m just taking care of myself, and she’s the one being selfish and inconsiderate, because she’s not respecting my wishes to keep a distance. I’ve since stopped feeling guilty for staying away.

Still, I’m left with this wondering. What do her actions mean? What is she trying to communicate? What does she want?

I can only guess that she wants to remain friends, but there’s this stupid hope in the back of my mind that it meant something more. Maybe it’s a habit; I lived with that hope for more than a year as we fell into a relationship at arms length.

I’ve considered going back to her and asking for some closure — some real closure — but I don’t think even she can explain her actions at this point. And if she could, her answer would probably be the same as it’s always been.

But I really don’t know for sure because she’s chosen not to stay away, against my wishes, and my heart feels like it’s hanging by a thread. I doubt she’s doing it on purpose, but yet again, she gets to figure things out at the expense of my emotional stability. After all, it’s hard me to move on when mixed signals are holding me back, like an open, gaping wound constantly being picked.

  1. This is the same sort of caress that can melt one’s resolve when coming from a person for whom one has a weakness. Humbert Humbert refers to this at the end of Lolita when he says to her, “Don’t touch me. I’ll die if you touch me.” []
  2. Then again, at least I know enough to stay away, instead of stalking and going psycho. []


  1. She is being absolutely cruel to you. She does not respect your wishes AT ALL. You say it’s not on purpose and I wonder how she accidentally wound up at your office.

    It’s obvious what she wants; The wants to constant adoration without effort on her part. Who WOULDN’T want that? She’s having her (beef)cake and eating it too.

    She’s toying with you, and that is absolutely not fair.

    • You’re right. Absolutely right. Everyone is telling me the exact same thing. For some reason, I’m the only one who can’t see it as simply as that.

      It’s funny, my best friend used the word “premeditated” to describe how she came to my office during the day to visit my co-workers (who also happen to be her friends, as we both worked there).

      I also hear quite frequently that she wants all the good parts that she was getting, even though she can’t offer me what I need in return. That’s exactly how I feel about it. I made a fricken diagram about it. I need to keep reminding myself of that.

      All this means I need more time to heal, since every point of contact keeps putting me back right to where she wants me; emotionally committed to her without giving anything in return. It feels like I’m starting over, but at least it’s a start.

  2. Does she know that you need the distance right now?

    Have you heard of the Big Mac and Fries analogy for staying friends? I’ve pasted it below:

    Imagine if you went to McDonalds a lot and ordered a Big Mac Combo meal. A Big Mac, Large Fries and a Coke. You really like this meal. One day, you pull up to the drive-through and order the Big Mac Combo meal and the girl tells you, “I’m sorry – you can have the Big Mac and the Coke, but you can’t get fries with that anymore.” You think about this for a moment, and sure – the Big Mac is the centerpiece of the meal, but McDonalds has some really good fries and you like their fries with your meal. So you say, “I’ve been able to get fries with that before, why can’t I have fries with my Big Mac combo anymore?” The girls says, ”Well, I just think it is better if you only have the Big Mac and the Coke from here on out.”

    At this point, a lot of guys are going to go to Wendy’s or BK and see if they can get fries with their combo at that drive-through window. But there are some guys who REALLY like McDonalds Big Macs and they might think, “If I keep coming here and ordering the Big Mac and Coke, maybe she’ll change her mind and give me some fries with that later.” So they will keep on getting the combo without the fries until the deal breaker happens: One day that guy is going to order the Big Mac and Coke and then he’s going to pull up a little bit to pay, and someone else is going to pull up to the drive-through speaker and order the “Big Mac Combo” and he is going to hear the girl say, “Would you like fries with that?”

    • Oh yes, I’ve told her unequivocally that I didn’t want to see her again, after she said it would never work between us.

      I’ve never heard Big Mac and Fries analogy before, but it’s FANTASTIC. It explains so well why it’s so hard for me to give up; I really liked her, and that’s why I’m so willing to keep waiting for her to come back). I guess I need to hear from her that she’s dating someone else before I can feel like it’s finally over and move on. Unfortunately, that’s probably not going to happen since we don’t have any contact.

  3. we women are such cruel and ferocious creatures, and we don’t even know it. Does she know you do not want her to contact you the way she does because it hurts you? Have you made that clear to her?

    It seems like she either wants to communicate to you that she still wants to be friends, that she still cares about you, and that she wants you in her life… maybe to show you she didn’t mean to hurt you.. or something…

    But honestly, that’s the wrong thing for you. It’s very selfish of her. She’s probably doing it all to make herself feel better and doesn’t take into account at all what you feel.

    • A lot of people ask me if she knows that I don’t want any contact. If she didn’t know, then her actions would be forgivable. But I was completely clear that I didn’t want to see or hear from her again, and she still ended up doing these things.

      She had also made clear that she wanted to remain friends with me, so I guess this is her trying to feel out if I’m still resolute on that. Unfortunately, I’m the one who suffers for her experimentation.

      • I’m glad some women acknowledge that many of them are such cruel and ferocious creatures.

        Even if she hadn’t known you didn’t want any contact, she should have avoided any contact at this delicate transition, knowing full well how you took the breaking up. And you doubt she’s doing it on purpose? I don’t. Sorry, I’m just angry.

      • Hahaahah…I know how you feel. I was going to say the same thing, but didn’t because I felt like I’d come off as being sexist.

        You’re right about the timing. I had never thought of that before, but everything certainly happened in a time that I was still healing.

        I still doubt that she’s doing it on purpose in my heart. I never felt like what she was doing was anything malicious. More like careless, and that was only toward the end. Maybe I’m just love-blind.

      • it seems to me, the muddle of separation continues with mixed minds. you can’t turn off fondness. you want to continuity, integrating past into the present and feel normal again.

        without seeing someone they get larger in your mind. seeing in person makes it all human-scale again.

        I could speculate that maybe she wanted to know where she was at by seeing you again at a closer distance, testing if she was reactive. an arm squeeze is still extending a friendly caring. maybe she wants to tell if you’re feeling neutral again yet.

      • You can’t turn off fondness. That’s exactly it. And at night, when I think of the good times, is when the image becomes…biased.

  4. She really should respect your space… A. has respected my space, but my problem is that I can’t respect my own space so I end up going to her.. as you know..

    Either way it doesn’t matter… seeing her WILL make it worse… regardless of whether she’s the one who comes to you or you to her… if nothing has changed on her end in terms of wanting you in her life as “that person”… then seeing her again will be as painful and as pointless as pouring alcohol on an open wound and then pissing on it to infect it… And I learned this the hard way this past week… when we last spoke I told you that I met with her at a coffeeshop… well since then nothing has changed on her end in terms of wanting to “get back together” …

    I actually feel a hella lot worse now after “reigniting” some lost desire and emotion by seeing her and being able to touch her, hold her, smell her again… who knows what her intentions might be or whatever the case is.. the fact is that if she now made the decision to want to be with you, then there would be NO confusion on your part, she would make that CLEAR to you in whatever way… it wouldn’t be a subtle arm squeeze or a phantom box of cookies… it would be a phone call or a letter… “Let’s make this work”… straight up… she knows where you stand, why would she make a decision to want to be back with you and spread the new realization/answer onto a timeline and a series of subtle gestures? The subtleties are for the people on our end.. the ones who were left behind trying to reach out to the one who left us…

    Sucks!! But what can we do…… After speaking to A again earlier this week, i think it’s pretty clear that she’s sticking to her decision… I’m now forced to finally let go and move on with my life… it’s gonna be hard but I’m looking forward and trying my hardest not to look back… hope you feel the same soon…. good luck to you sir !

    • You’re totally right. If her actions meant more, then it wouldn’t be in this form of subtlety. What haven’t I realized this before?! I should print this off and put it in my wallet. Good luck to both of us. We can only look forward now.

  5. I was so embarrassed about posting this entry, but I did it anyway because I really felt like I had to get it off my chest (I haven’t been sleeping well for too long). I’m so glad I did now. These comments have really opened my eyes. Sometimes it’s not enough to hear these things from your friends, who probably side with you whether you’re wrong or not, but from people who have the information boiled down to essentials and can give an objective view from there.

    • You should never be embarrassed about expressing your feelings. They are your feelings and should be respected whether they are agreed with or not. Im glad posting it has helped you.

      • I know, I know. I really have to stop being so sensitive about stuff like that. Easier said than done, though.

  6. I think she’s wondering how you can resist her. The knowledge eats away at her confidence as a desirable woman. She’s started doubting whether or not you really loved her that much. The fact that you are able to stay away changes some beliefs she had of your relationship. Mainly, the fact that you were in the palm of her hand, thus becoming a boring target (I am not sure why you parted ways, but this is what I am assuming). By not doing the expected thing (contacting her) she is re-evaluating you, or the you that she thought she knew.

    I agree with the rest. It’s a cruel and selfish thing to do.

    • In most cases like this, I would agree with you. In this one though, I really have no idea what she’s thinking. And that probably just makes me wonder even more.

      I was never a target though. It was more like she was the target, and at one point when she kept trying to put a distance between us, I decided I couldn’t take it any more and had to make a clean break.

      • I don’t think I conveyed my message assuming either of you being the target. It doesn’t matter whether you are chasing her or she is chasing you.

        I find that for woman, they instinctively knows how to play the game of chase. So whether or not she planed to incited desire or that she may be one of the exceptions is not an argument in my point of view. To do so would violate the definition of a woman.

        That, you can’t blame them for being. Again, just based on my experience. I sure as hell wish it is the opposite.

  7. Sounds like she is just trying to reconnect and maybe assess your reaction by making small steps. she probably lost a really good friend and that is just as hard to deal with.

    I have been through the exact same situation where my best friend told me he had feelings for me and I wasn’t sure what to say. I didn’t turn him down immediately because I had to explore these feelings I may or may not have. When I finally turned him down he completely flipped and told me he never wanted to see me again. I was so hurt that he cut me out of his life like that, as if our years as friends meant nothing. Eventually I reached out to him in very small ways and we slowly started talking again.

    I don’t think it’s fair to call her cruel or that she is being discussed publicly in a negative way. I mean, can she not read all these entries?

    • I agree that she’s probably just trying to assess my reaction to see if she can resume the friendship. But that’s like sticking a knife in a wound to find out how much it hurts, in an effort to see if it’s finished healing. Just because the intentions are good doesn’t mean they don’t affect me in a negative way. It would be unfair to call her cruel if she didn’t know that she would hurt me by doing these things, but I’m pretty sure she knows better than that.

      The difference between your situation and mine is that when I was told that it wouldn’t work out, I said I only needed a break (in other words, time to heal), and that we could resume our friendship when I felt like I was ready. But she made contact with me again after only a week, wanting to resume the friendship again. Every attempt I made after that to distance myself and heal was met with more contact and more pain.

      I didn’t want to end the friendship completely, because it did mean a lot to me. But she couldn’t respect my wishes, and my heart was toyed with over and over again. I doubt she did it out of malice, but I ended up being the one paying for her mistakes. I had to put my foot down eventually.

      Perhaps you were hurt by the fact that your friend cut you out of his life, but you also need to consider the fact that he was also hurt because he doesn’t mean more to you. It’s not that your friendship meant nothing, it was that to him, the pain was far greater than what he gained from your friendship, which is why he cut you out. Each person can blame the other for being inconsiderate because both want something different, which means at least one person is going to get hurt in any case. It’s true that she has just as much right to blame me for being inconsiderate as I do to her. But I can more easily live with being seen as inconsiderate than with a heart that can’t mend.

      And yes, she can read these entries if she wanted to, the same way directors and actors can read the words of critics who talk about their movies, so I’d say that this is as unfair as a movie review in a newspaper or magazine. Admittedly, not all my commentors are aware of all aspects of the situation, and some of them give opinions based on big (and sometimes wrong) assumptions.

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