Six years ago, I'm afraid handled it quite poorly.
She was pretty and she was available - and that was enough for a 22-year-old me. The harder she tried, the more she reached out to me, the further I pulled back and the more indifferent I became. I guzzled the affection she so freely poured into the relationship and offered little in return. It was cruel, self-absorbed and unfair of me - I realize that now - but at the time, it didn't matter to me. She didn't matter - not in the same way I did to her.
Is it human nature to discount that which comes to us too easily?
But chalking up gross failures of empathy to 'human nature' is a cheap cop-out. I think I'm a bit wiser now in such matters - that it's better to be content with oneself than use the love of others when it's clear you can't return it in kind. My greatest regret is that the tuition for my life-lessons were so often paid for by others.
wild_magnolia writes with extraordinary thoughtfulness, and radiates with honest emotion at the invisible moments of peoples' lives:
What’s a Meantime Girl?
She’s the one you call when you’re bored because she makes you laugh. She’s the one you talk to when you’re feeling down because she’s willing to lend an ear and be a friend. She’s not the one you call when you need a date to your company’s Christmas party, or to go dancing with on a Saturday night. She’s the one you spend time with between girlfriends, before you find "The One". You know, the one who you keep around in the meantime.
She’s not one of the guys, not a tomboy, but you don’t look at her as a "real" woman, either. She’s not bitchy enough, moody enough, or sexy enough to be seen in that light. She’s too laid-back, too easily amused by the same things your male buddies are amused by. She’s too understanding, too comfortable – she doesn’t make you feel nervous or excited the way a "real" woman does. But she’s cool, and nice, and funny, and attractive enough that when you’re lonely or horny and need intimate female companionship, she’ll do just fine. You don’t have to wine and dine her because she knows the real you already, and you don’t have any facades to keep up, no pretenses to preserve. You’re not trying to get anything of substance out of her. She’s not easy, but you know that she cares about you and is attracted to you, and that she’ll give you the intimacy you need. And you know you don’t have to explain yourself or the situation, that she’ll be able to cope with the fact that this isn’t the beginning of a relationship or that there’s any possibility that you have any real romantic feelings for her. It won’t bother her that you’ll get up in the morning, put on your pants, say goodbye, and go on a date with the woman you’ve been mooning over for weeks who finally agreed to go out with you. She’ll settle for a goodbye hug and a promise to call her and tell her how the date went. She’s just so cool . . . why can’t all women be like that?!
But deep down, if you really think about it (which you probably don’t because to you, the situation between the two of you isn’t important enough to merit any real thought), you know that it’s really not fair. You know that although she would never say it, it hurts her to know that despite all her good points and all the fun you two have, you don’t think she’s good enough to spend any real time with. Sure, it’s mostly her fault, because she doesn’t have to give in to your needs – she could play the hard-to-get bitch like the rest of them do, if she really wanted to. But you and she both know that she probably couldn’t pull it off. Maybe she’s too short, or a little overweight, or has a big birthmark on her forehead, or works at Taco Bell. Whatever the reason, somehow life has given her a lot of really great qualities but has left out the ones that men want (or think they want) in a woman. So she remains forever the funny friend, the steadfast companion, the secret lover, and you go on searching for your goddess who will somehow be everything you ever wanted in a woman.
You’ll joke to her that she should be the best man at your wedding, and she’ll laugh and make a joke about a smelly rental tux.
She doesn’t captivate you with her beauty, or open doors with her smile. Mainly she blends in with the crowd. She’s safe. She doesn’t want to be the center of attention and turn the heads of everyone in the room. But she wants to turn someone’s head. She wants to be special to someone, too. We all do.
She has feelings. She has a heart. In fact, she probably has a bigger and better heart than any woman you’ve ever known because she’s had a front-row seat to The Mess That Is Your Life, and she likes you anyway. She obviously sees something worthwhile and redeeming in you because although you’ve given her nothing, absolutely no reason to still be around, she is.
Anyway, yeah. I’m a Meantime Girl. Been one more times than I care to admit. I don’t know the reason, really, and at this point I don’t even care. I just want to let every guy know who’s ever had the good fortune to have a Meantime Girl that we may be a lot of fun, but we cry, too. A lot. And someday we won’t be around.
she turns out the light anticipating night
falling tenderly around her
and watches the dusk
the words won't come
she carries the act so convincingly the fact is
sometimes she believes it
that she can be happy the way things are
be happy with the things she's done
and yet I need not to need
or else a love with intuition
someone who reaches out to my weakness
and won't let go
I need not to need
I've always been the tower
but now I feel like I'm the flower
trying to bloom in the snow ...
- Vienna Teng - The Tower