"It Was A Risk — Dating You. Risking My Reputation. Where Was Respect For That?"

For three weeks before she moved to Southern California from San Francisco, Meredith dated Paul. "Un-exclusively." And because it is inevitably in those situations when a girl believes that she is entering an unambiguously noncommittal no-strings fling that she finds a guy who is ready to purchase adjacent cemetery plots with her, she had to break it off a few days before she left. He didn't exactly take it lightly. But it wasn't until she told him that an ex-boyfriend of hers with whom she was still friends would be helping her move — and I'm sorry, in situations like this you almost have to call up any borderline sane ex you have, just to assure you that the vast incongruity in your respective levels of perceived intimacy isn't an outgrowth of you having no soul — that Paul really went nuts, texting Meredith that she was "evil" and "a dirty little slut." (She writes: "He also used the phrase "for shame.") Shame indeed!

> From: "Paul"

> Date: January 14, 2008 8:13:14 AM PST

> To: "Meredith"

> Subject: Hi

>

> Meredith,

>

> The words I text you have been rolling around in my head since I sent it- wondering how I could have wrote it. How could I deliver those words. The answer is simple- to hurt. To get my feet underneath me in an environment and situation I am unaccustomed to.

>

> The situation- both heading over to your apartment, and before. If every word you told me was true, if you described was the whole and real scenario you were in, I saw my actions as generous, and facilitating your move. But it wasn't the whole scenario- there was a friend with history. You never mentioned this before.

>

> And so it unfolded- but what was missing was respect for me. Respect for the the good-will behind my actions. Respect for my intimacy, and the right for me to decide who I am intimate with- full consent based on all the facts- my partner's situation included. Where was that?

>

> I wondered how I looked to you in the elevator, with you standing next to your history-friend. Looking at me. Me wondering what's going on, but you not looking out for me. The night before irrelevant. "Breaking up," but wanting to be with me. Until the morning. And throughout the day- "I can't do this." Do what? Have any contact with me? Tell me the truth?

>

> And little respect for my situation- where I work, where I live. You may have been leaving, but this is my San Francisco, and Ninth Circuit job- this is me moving to an area with no timeline of when I will leave. It was a risk- dating you. Risking my reputation. Where was respect for that?

>

> Or even the conversations we had- sometimes just talking and talking and talking. Or the comfort I felt, and thought you felt, waking up before I flew back to New Jersey for Thanksgiving. But even then, there was an element of away- "even if we never see each other I'm still going to enjoy this," you said, or something similar.

>

> Or how "wonderful" I was, in the context of we probably won't see each other again.

>

> So what was real? What was true, and what wasn't? Did you envision a scenario where I visit you one weekend, and then another "friend with history" visits you another weekend? Did our first conversation, when we went out, discussing exclusivity and fidelity with intimacy mean anything?

>

> Where you deceiving me? How easy it was for you to watch me leave- present me with your cheek, after lying with me the night before. How come we weren't inevitable, as opposed to inevitable to be apart?

>

> But that morning, after seeing you and not hearing back from you- knowing you were most likely in bed with Mr. History, I had to have breakfast with my unit. My unit which was inappropriately informed about my intimacy- who I chose to share my bed with. And that person was leaving- apparently under the impression that whatever you said to me didn't matter. How I felt, and the feelings of confusing and betrayal irrelevant.

>

> And overall, just wondering why you didn't tell the truth. The whole truth of your scenario- not definitions of levels of intimacy (dating, history, friends with benefits, an "understanding," etc.) but what I could expect when I lower my guard with you. Me fully invested, and you- who knows. Invested partially? Fully? Why not just tell me...

>

> Why wait until I'm asked, when I see you while you are packing, if I'm leaving? And then you're not there when I get to your apartment to park my car, then presented with your cheek, your physical distance from me, and the message- you're out- forget what I told you. Walk away. No ackowledgment of me, of "us" in any capacity, or how the night before, you wanted to kiss me.

>

> But I'm still here- and I had to face your friends, so well versed in this rumor mill, that morning for breakfast. The full truth, and the faith that you would have informed me of anything that would disappointment or hurt me (regarding your dating situation) shattered. Somehow special to you, your life, gone. A cheapened feeling- no value given to my intimacy.

>

> So I texted you those spoiled words- just as irrelevant as any justification (why didn't you tell me that your friend is a friend with history, who would be spending the night?) that you felt not due me- "it doesn't matter what I say anyway."

>

> And if I would get partial credit for bringing out the worst in each other, then the worst it would be. If I was left alone with the message I thought you were delivering me the night before, then the worst it would be.

>

> No matter- it still feels ugly. And I still don't understand why the truth- the whole scenario- wouldn't have just flown from you. Without truth, there can be no true intimacy. At best, the inadequate salve of an orgasm.