In the few months that we interacted, I thanked you for various things and you told me not to. Your response caught me off guard. Gratitude is a thing for me—it's how I am oriented. I am grateful for everything that comes my way, including men who say a lot of really great things and then disappear without explanation.
More than a month has passed since the abrupt end of our regular contact. I've had a lot of time to ponder our time together. While our friendship was short lived, it created the space for me to learn new things about myself and get a better grasp of what I want in my new life. I'll be forever grateful to you for that.
Thank you for being wicked smart, gorgeous, tattooed, and having great hair. The fact that you, with these attributes, were attracted to me, built up my confidence.
Thank you for telling me after our second date that you were concerned about my weight. In the past, I've missed red flags and have been nervous that I would miss them again. This comment about someone you didn't yet know, and my ability to recognize it, gave me confidence that my red-flag meter is properly calibrated.
Thank you for being chattier than me and not letting me get a word in edgewise. It provided an opportunity to practice my active listening skills. It also underscored that reciprocity in relationships is essential.
Thank you for our endless conversations about writing and the writing life. These taught me that while writing is my life, I have other interests and want to explore them and share them. When I mentioned wanting to challenge us to talk about something other than writing, your response, “That would be a challenge,” spoke volumes. You really are a great editor and my work improved every time you read it and offered feedback. This, I will truly miss.
I am grateful that you are a devoted, intentional parent and that our times with our children were on alternating weekends. Our opportunities to meet in person were few and far between. This taught me that parenting and dating is hard, and that right now it requires more energy than I want to give to it. This was both an unexpected insight and a valuable lesson.
I am proud of both of us for examining the difficult times in our lives and working hard to rise above them and be the best we can be. Your response was to draw your circle very small. Mine was to draw a much wider one. I am reminded of how grateful I am for my precious tribe.
Thank you for initiating four dates in a row and canceling each of them with little or no explanation or regret. What you didn't seem to appreciate was that I was disappointed every time. I really liked you. I liked your company and our conversations. I wanted to get to know you outside of our text exchanges. Your cancellations created the opportunity for me to be direct and voice, “Enough is enough.” This is a new skill for me, and I am grateful I was able to practice it with you.
Thank you for returning the mug I loaned you weeks before. That mug is a cherished gift from a friend. While I'm not generally attached to material things, the idea of losing it caused me more angst than the thought of no longer seeing you. That, too, was an instructive moment.
I wish you very well, Writer-Dude. You have a lot of pressure and responsibilities that you are shouldering alone. I want things to get easier for you and your children. I will continue to pray for you because that's what I do. I look forward to seeing your work in print. I know it will happen, and when it does, I'll buy a copy.