Backsliding – noun: the action of relapsing into bad ways or error.
I needed a lot of time and a lot of patience to write this blog. I began writing this particular piece during a time where I thought having a second chance with someone was going to work out really well. I’m glad I waited to see that chance sour drastically and experience how it switched up my perspective on backsliding. Backsliding in the relationship sense means to go back to talking to, dating, or having sex with a previous ex, which I never had a problem with. Until now, I believed that if you both feel like things are left unfinished, there’s no reason you can’t try again. Nothing is ever black and white, which is why named my blog as such, to be funny about it. Now, to preface this episode of “how to fuck up constantly” (I did say in my previous post that this is exactly what the little ‘bubble’ I was in would turn into) is about a man named Paul. Obviously, Paul and I are not exes. We never dated. I mean… he’s still seen me naked and yes, I could explain in graphic detail all the things he could do to me in the bedroom *sigh* I don’t know what is wrong with me either. I do everything backwards and we can all agree it’s not working out for me. We met on Hinge during a time when I was still detaching myself from Franks. By ‘attached,’ I obviously mean still being gullible enough to believe the lies he was telling me about the future he wanted with me and still allowing myself to be manipulated and emotionally traumatized by him. For a really smart girl, I have made some incredibly dumb decisions. And ghosting Paul thinking I was going to end up with that ‘someone else’ is the dumbest thing I’ve done yet. That time I climbed up on the roof and did a back flip into the pool and hurt my neck? Not as dumb as this. That time I layed out in the hot Vanuatu sun with no sunscreen and burned to a crisp so bad, I was a lobster for two weeks straight? Not as dumb as this. The time I wrote that blog, that makes me cringe right now thinking about it, where I said “I’ll always wonder if Franks was supposed to be the one?” *VOMIT* Incredibly stupid, but still… not as stupid as screwing things up with Paul for the fucking sociopath Franks is. Here’s where this blog is about to get really fucked up, Paul and I reconnected months later and this time I was invested. I mean, how could I not be? Have you seen his face? It’s very handsome. I won’t act like that was all he had to offer though. He was kind, hard working and before things got messy, he used to flat out make me laugh. We’d rib each other and make jokes at the other’s expense. They were dark and highly inappropriate but so funny. I’m actually laughing as I remember the first time we tore strips off each other. I definitely anticipated seeing him at DMAs and in my hopelessly romantic mind, there would be fireworks and I’d kiss him while my favourite song played. He’d take me home, love me all night long the way he always said he would and that would be it. We’d be together. Steps 1, 2 and 3. But do things ever go that smoothly for me? NO. OF COURSE NOT! So, naturally, was everything about to bite me in the ass? BIG TIME. Paul and Franks? Mates from high school. Did I know? Not until very recently. Is it all about to kick off? *DUN DUN DUN*
How I ended up in the most messed up love triangle of all time, with two guys who went to school together, from the same town, who have the same friends, I’ll never understand. We talk about how I always find myself in these ridiculous situations and here we are again. At the risk of sounding defensive, HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW? I didn’t even spend that much time there and yet I managed to land myself in the hottest of hot water. Now all I can do is think about how this has to be in the Southampton Lads group chat. Oh that Australian girl, straight up got played by two of them and didn’t even realise it. They probably pass around my photos and laugh at the fact I AM AN IDIOT. You know what I’d NEVER do but really, really want to? Start a group chat with Franks’ girlfriend. I just hate him so much. Every romantic feeling I ever had, has just turned into full blown rage. As if he didn’t fuck with me enough, he also gets away with getting in between me and Paul AND gets away with disrespecting another woman who has no idea who he really is. Wyatt, honey… I have ALL the receipts. Even ones from as recent as two weeks ago. Your boyfriend gave me this big spiel about how he’s grown up so much and has so much respect for women. On and on he went about how I’m amazing and I shouldn’t be disheartened by my love life blowing up because “it’s not you, I hope you know that.” I FUCKING DO. Thanks. Yet by the end of it, it was evident he was as full of shit as he’s always been, when he asked me to talk dirty to him so he could ‘sleep better.’ No, I’m not kidding. Yes, he really said that. Did I go off on him? You bet. Giving me the same old “there’s nobody like you” speech, he puts on a constant loop. He’s as manipulative, unfaithful and overwhelmingly disappointing as he’s always been. I got you, girl. Actually, let’s go get some margaritas and have a nice long chat, shall we? Give me a few hours to paint the town red with you and by the end of the night, I’m positive I can find us both a guy that is 100x the man Franks will ever be. And you know what? FUCK IT. I have always been careful about what I write because I know that all these stories are about real people, but lets not act these boys didn’t know EXACTLY what they were doing. And this blog, as I said, is about Paul. (Because let’s be honest, we’re all bored of Franks.)
I wrote this specific part of the blog about Paul on the WordPress app on my phone in the gym. For once, I wasn’t going to curl up in my favourite hoodie with some gin and write from a place of sadness. I let these boys get to me way too much and I won’t allow it anymore. No longer do they get to be the ones that fuck up and I’m the one left being sad about it. I wanted to be level headed, clear and feel nothing but reflective when writing this part. I didn’t want to get emotional about it, I didn’t want to cry and I wasn’t going to let it turn into a big deal when it doesn’t need to be. Still, I know Paul. Not as well as I’d like but just enough to know he’ll read this. He always reads my work. It’s one of the things I liked the most about him. He’s always been supportive and interested and that meant a lot to me.
So I traded the hoodie and late night writing session for a sports bra, converse sneakers and early morning weight lifting. Traded my laptop for my phone and wrote down the first things that came to mind when I think back on what happened with Paul. As happy as my brain is at the moment, my body sweating it out at 6am, I still can’t help but feel a little bit sad. So I’ll stop here for a second and rip into another set.
So far in 2020, my home country has been ravaged by devastating bushfires, then floods, then the Coronavirus pandemic hit, putting my plans in the UK on hold once again, now we’re marching in the streets, fighting racism and social injustice and standing alongside our brothers and sisters who need our help just to gain basic human rights. How is our world this fucked up? So what I absolutely understand is an incredibly minor problem in comparison to all of these soul destroying events, it’s still worth mentioning that on top of it all, I have been slapped around and fucked over by just about every guy I have met in the last 12 months. I’ve always believed that my ability to see the good in every man was a beautiful quality for me to hang onto. That it was so easy for women these days to be swept up in this whole “I hate men” attitude and that doing so would only end up hurting themselves more in the end. But am I turning into that kind of woman I hate. Bitter. Angry. Hurt. And I don’t want to be. I want to believe men are good. I want to believe men are kind. That they can have pure intentions. That they won’t drag a woman along for the ride, just to boost their ego. That they won’t start something, they can’t finish. Am I guilty of ghosting and handling things terribly, yes I am. But it all has to stop. We can’t keep treating people the way we have been. Me included.
When I reconnected with Paul, I did so with the absolute best intentions. This time I was the backslider. Classic Franks move. Knowing you fucked up and constantly trying to fix it? Oh Hi, that was me. It wasn’t just to get his attention. It wasn’t for a quick fix. It was because I remembered how he made me feel when we first met. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know exactly what I was doing when I got in touch with him. I knew he’d answer me, because I was banking on the fact he still felt the same way. If you look up the definition of right place, wrong time, you’ll see a picture of Paul and I. If I could go back, I truly, whole-heartedly would erase every trace of Franks from my life. If I could, who knows what might have happened with Paul the first time around when he was really trying. He really went all in. And I remember it clearly because the second time around was the polar opposite. It was difficult this time. Trying to have a fluid conversation with him was way too hard. I could barely get him to flirt with me let alone get him to want to go out with me again. But I shouldn’t have had to ‘get him’ to do anything. When it’s right, it’s easy and I could tell, as much as I wanted to believe I was wrong, it wasn’t right. His heart wasn’t in it anymore. He already had, once before. He’d done the whole dance with me about wanting to take me out and be with me and I blew it. So why would he go over it again? I put this all down to the fact that I had just blown it the first time around. But this voice in my head said no… there’s something else wrong here. If he cares about you the way he says he does, if he thinks you’re as beautiful and amazing as he always says you are, then what is the problem? And I asked him that. I asked ‘what is the problem?’ and he couldn’t give me an answer. He must have a girlfriend. That’s got to be it. So I searched his Facebook. His Facebook didn’t say he had a girlfriend, but it did say there were a hell of a lot of familiar faces in his photos that I’ve seen in Franks’ photos. Shit.
It finally made sense. Why he asked me if the names in my blogs were accurate. Why he kept asking what was going on with ‘Frank’ when he would read my posts. He knew who Franks was. So I made a point to straight up say his name in a conversation with Paul, thinking he’d definitely come clean. Nothing. And I know now why he won’t choose me. It’s not because I have done anything wrong. I got the whole “I am going through some personal shit” speech again and while I’m not calling that bullshit this time, I think maybe he is, I know now there is a whole other reason. I know he’s going to read this and message me and say Franks has nothing to do with it, or that he didn’t know and Paul… don’t. As for you Franks, don’t find another social media app to message me on. Just be done with harassing me, for the rest of our lives, leave me alone. You’ve done enough.
I can’t do it anymore. I can’t do this back and forth, over the phone, are we or aren’t we bullshit. I am the most drama free person I know. My friends and I don’t put up with this shit. I’ve dropped men over far less than what I’ve put up with recently and I have no idea what’s changed, but we have to get back to simplicity. I don’t do drama. I don’t do tears over boys. This is not me, this is not who I am. I’m the girl who buys everyone tequila shots at the bar and sings Everlong at the top of her lungs when the band plays my Foo Fighters request. I’m the girl who chases good times, travel and adventure, weekend gigs and late nights. I am not the girl who sits around worrying about a boy and I don’t know whether it’s because I’m getting older and would like someone to share all that adventure and those late nights with, but I want to get back to being Sara. The OG me.
So I guess I’ve finally learned. And isn’t that what this blog, navigating the dating minefield and life in general all about? Growing. Learning from past mistakes and heartache. I have finally learned that when it comes down to it, it really is so fucking simple. It is not supposed to be hard. It’s not supposed to be waiting around for him to figure out how he feels. If his immediate reaction isn’t “YES! I want you” then that is NO. A non-answer IS an answer. Healthy relationships are not supposed to be so hard. Sure, you’ll hit rough moments together along the way and disagree on some things, but for the most part, especially in the beginning, it’s actually supposed to be really fucking easy. It’s as simple as two people saying “I want you and only you” everyday. I’m done with ‘I don’t know how I feel’ or ‘It’s complicated’ or ‘I just need some space’ or late night drunk texts telling me I’m ‘the one’ – no. Even if you DO get the “I’m going through something tough” speech, if they really care about you, that speech doesn’t mean they leave. That speech means please bear with me because I really care about you. It is so fucking simple. It is not hard. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve heard “It’s complicated” lately. It’s NOT. It’s really fucking not. It’s as simple as I want you and you want me so lets be together and we’ll sort out the rest as a team. I need the Alexis Ohanian to my Serena Williams. A man who is my biggest fan, supports me as hard as I support him and knows he is married to the mother fucking GOAT and is loud and proud about it. Because I am the GOAT. I’m not perfect, but if I am guilty of anything, it’s only being too there for them. I have kept my cool (and admittedly, lost it on here) for these men and I have HELD. IT. DOWN for them. I have talked them through their bullshit and been there whenever they needed me. I am not going to blame myself for being taken advantage of, it’s not on me. It’s on them. One day, whoever he is, is going to thank his lucky stars he met someone who is as rock solid as a life partner as I know I can be. And if that man isn’t all “Fuck yeah! That’s MY girl” I don’t want it.
I needed reminding of that. I needed reminding of how easy it’s supposed to be. That it’s supposed to be fun, you’re supposed to laugh non-stop and be told you’re the greatest thing that’s ever happened to them. Anything less than “you make me so happy” isn’t good enough.
“You’ve just been so consistent, that stability, it’s so healthy, it’s confusing me. And I’m done with romanticising dysfunction and compromising, you treat me so well, it’s weird but I love how much I like it. Some people wanna switch it up like just one love could never be enough and some people watch golf on TV and neither of those things make sense to me. Some people think its supposed to hurt, like it couldn’t be real, if he’s putting you first and some people watch golf on TV and neither of those things makes sense to me.”
Lennon Stella – Golf on TV
PS. Selling 2 x DMAs tickets for their Southampton show. Something tells me I’m not going to make it.
PPS. Going into witness protection as soon as I hit ‘Publish’ on this blog post. Bombs away!