There once was a lovely woman. Beautiful, charming, sexy, smart.
She gave me the gift of her body – photographically, only, alas – we were at a distance.
The way she was wired, though, was challenging – for me, sure, but for her, more so.
When she sent me a photo, she was in utter agony, anxiety, desperation, until I acknowledged it. If she pressed “send,” she experienced in every minute of my not responding as confirmation that I shared her deep-seated belief that she was ugly, repulsive, worse.
Suffice it to say, she was wrong. Her body, her face, her personality – all were charming, beautiful, sexy, lovely. And inevitably, I would respond, by telling her so.
But it turned out that the interim period, the period between when she pressed send and when I replied, was simply intolerable for her (even if it was just a matter of hours – it was rarely more than that). And what I responded with often was not reassuring enough, praising enough.
While she was waiting for my response, she would pepper me with messages – messages that were either self-abnegating or complaining about me. Or both. And, after a time, I got tired. Not of her pretty body, her pretty face, which I would never tire of. But of the constant reassurance she demanded, of the constant complaints to which she subjected me.
And I called things to a close. Politely, respectfully. “I can’t bear to hurt you any more,” I wrote. “I like you, and I like your pretty body. I don’t want to participate in these bad stories you’re telling yourself about yourself.” Or something like that.
But then this happened: as is true of all of us at different times, she was not able to see me as a nice, fun guy with whom she had shared good times, and/but who had moved on. In order to make sense of my departure, she had to make me all bad. She sent me a screed that attempted to undo, to deny, all of the good we had enjoyed together. And we had enjoyed good together.
It was a fake, she wrote. A fraud. She derided what I’d sent her as a “template.” (It wasn’t.) She told me I’d never respected her. (I had. I do.) She told me she was sure she would be replaced. (She won’t.)
I understand her perspective. Rejection sucks, and it’s far easier to be rejected by someone who, retroactively, you decide was no good.
But I’m sad. I liked her. And I hope she does well.