I briefly recounted the Sam debacle to a friend yesterday and a colleague today.
By saying that "hearts might change" and that "the spark might die out" if we leave it until next week, Sam effectively sealed that fate himself. By uttering it in words, he was not only inadvertently speaking for or revealing something about himself (Read More: Reverse Psychology) but he was also bringing about a Self Fulfilling Prophecy. He was manifesting his own "change of heart" and "dying spark" through his own words.
Had we left it a week, matters might have been different. Had Sam waited and contacted me after a week, this is precisely what would have strengthened the relationship. Because despite all odds, he might have shown a renewed / continued interest in messaging me.
Yes, I might not have lived up to his expectations. Yes, he might have developed an attachment with me too quickly. But it was not a healthy attachment. Through his fear of rejection, he lost control of his thoughts and emotions. As such, his fears and insecurities manifested themselves. Although he wanted a relationship, he killed the relationship before even allowing it a chance to grow and develop. The last thing that I wanted was to become the bad guy who brought about his perceived rejection. But he gave me no choice. I did not need to say anything. I listened. I let him do the talking. In making the above assumptions, he was not only rejecting me but he was also rejecting himself through his premature rejection of me.
A relationship cannot happen overnight. You cannot go from zero to hero, from one extreme to the other. It takes time to grow. By saying "if we become boyfriends", Sam seemed to be trying to label / define something before it even existed. I am prepared to "date" (get to know) someone with the possibility that the relationship might not work out as expected. I am prepared for the possibility that we might end up as friends, or he might become my business partner, or I might end up hiring him. Whatever. But I always give it a try. It is a process. Because there is always the possibility that the relationship might work out better than we expect. It is important to allow as much potential for that possibility become a reality.
When we had that discussion on Monday, I gave him all of my dates and times. I reserved them all out in my calendar and said that I would update him if anything cropped up. I felt secure enough in myself to give him the power to choose a time and location. DF likes my style. Giving someone the choice like that. Not putting it all on me. I believe that a positive and healthy way to approach a relationship is to empower the other person and allow them the choices. A fertile soil is one in which the plants have the right conditions (air, moisture, nutrients etc.) to grow. In this case, the conditions are time, space, patience and mutual respect of boundaries.
Love Is What You Do
Yes, Sam cancelled Friday's date due to legitimate medical reasons. But dig deeper, and he might have preferred to hang out or something less "formal" than a "date". Despite his expressed enthusiasm for Italian food, might have felt uncomfortable with my choice of restaurant and preferred to go for drinks instead or choose his own restaurant (he mentioned about taking me to his favourite restaurant). His subconscious might have kicked in to trigger the cancellation because he was aware that he had set a precedent through his words. I do not know. There is no way of me knowing. All that I can do is speculate with uncertainty. I felt secure enough to give him control. But he was unable to recognise the control that I was giving him for what it was. His perception of himself (his perceived rejection), by virtue of reflection, prevented himself from accepting that control as an imparted empowerment of him.
I wished to focus on Sam's wellbeing rather than the cancelled date. Turn the misfortune into an opportunity to show him that I am a caring person. He might have interpreted this as a reluctance to reschedule the date and, by extension, as a form of rejection (which it was not). For me, pushing back the date was allowing him the necessary breathing space to sort himself out. Prioritise his own wellbeing above the date. The date was of lesser (albeit secondary) importance. That could happen at any time. There was no rush. But it was vital that he needed to heal.
When he sent me the voice note (which he deleted) asking if I was OK physically, mentally and emotionally, my first thought was whether or not he should have asked himself this question. Subconsciously, he might have realised this, too (hence the deletion). It might have been an inadvertent projection.
DF observed that it is a kind gesture to say that he is welcome to message me or reach out to me whenever he wants. Most people would not say that. She knows that I would not deliberately block or ghost. There is more to life than that. We are human beings. We are complicated creatures with actual lives. We are not disposable trash cans. Cancel culture.
Like I jestingly said to my line manager today, blocking is for people who lack emotional immaturity.
Despite my assurances, Sam seemed to think that I would disengage. Despite his fears, he might block or unfriend me himself. Which would render his doubts about me as nothing more than doubts about his own ability to not disengage.
That is fine. It is something that is out of my control. He might block or unfriend me. But there is nothing to prevent us from seeing one another anyway. We use the same gym. The irony is that he described my gym programme as "bullshit" when he might not have a gym programme of his own. And if he avoids the gym, I will have the gym all to myself. 👍
By avoiding me, he would only be further limiting his own choice and freedom of movement. I think that he realises this. Hence why he has done neither.
During his tirade, Sam branded himself as a "whore" and a "slut". Since coming to London, he has slept around. He has done "this, that and the other". Unfortunately, he is stuck in that "Epidemic of Gay Loneliness" cycle that has claimed so many good souls. Like Plato's Cave, he cannot see beyond his own experience of moving from one guy to the next, week in, week out. Obtaining temporary gratification and validation. And moving onto the next guy once the source of the validation has drained away.
Vessels of liquid analogy
It is impossible to imagine the sun without seeing it. You have to take a blind leap of faith. Just like the man who broke out of the cave and saw the outside world but could not conceptualise it to his fellow men because they had no experience of it.
Plato's Cave analogy
Likewise, Sam is not strong enough to take that blind leap of faith and consider the possibility that things might be different this time. Understandably so. He does not know me. He does not know enough about me to warrant such a leap of faith. Hence the need to take it slow and get to know one another before assigning labels and setting precedents. I took that risk (leap of faith) with Avi Taler without knowing him. Yes, our hearts might change. They might not. But Sam has brought about that change sooner by refusing to accept the possibility that it might not. This Eternal Victim mentality arises out of fear and insecurity. Just as it did with me.
For Sam, I feel bad. Mentally and emotionally, he is not well. There is nothing that I can do or say. Other than I hope that he manages to break out of that cycle and heal. 🙏
I have not changed, my heart is still my heart. I am not going anywhere.
For me, it has been an interesting self-strengthening experience to be on the other side of the table for once. Having struggled with similar issues myself.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have his reward.
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I have been recommended to acknowledge and process all that I have been though, where it all started from how it has affected me.