Playing Games

Like 73.2% of my posts come about because of incidents that point me back to a recurring theme. I told ya'll -- Motif is the literary term for my life.

So today's motif topic is playing games. Clearly I don't mean fun ones like kickball or keep away or 4 square or any of the other warm fuzzy games of our youth. I mean the kinds adults play with each other that too often involve manipulation.

Twice in the last week I've recounted the "true" end of my relationship with J:

Right after J came out of the closet, my personal life, understandably, went a little topsy turvy. One thing he kept saying in the intial conversation was "nothing I've ever said to you about how I feel about you was a lie."

But the truth was, I felt like the preceding 3 years of my life had been one big lie. It was really quite the existential crisis and I went into crisis mode. In fact, the next day I called his mom to tell her that I would be calling J to tell him that we couldn't talk anymore (which had more to do with the argument that ensued after he came out) and she should be prepared. When she called me back, it was to inform me that he'd been in a car accident that'd nearly taken his life.

J was sent to CA for rehab -- physically and mentally. He went to a drug facility on a beautiful beach for 60 days. He called me for the first time about 2 weeks after his accident. I'd promised his mom and myself that I wouldn't talk to him for a while because we needed the space. However, he called me from an unrecognized number. We spoke. I told him how I felt and that while I wanted so badly to be there for him through rehab, he had to find someone else. He'd taken it all from me.

Fast forward about 3 months. I'm in DC for the first time on an internship and I'm stretching my "adult and on my own" legs. One thing I have nagging at me is unresolved issues with J. Over the summer, we talked a lot. Some conversations were good, others were hard. He admitted to me that he wasn't sure of his sexuality but that he wanted to try again with me. He was sorry, he would do better, he was -- well all the things I'd wanted before.

And I'm believing him. Too much and too fast for myself. Though I cautioned him early on that I wouldn't tell him not to try but I wasn't sold that he could win me back, he was winning and I was not in control. I felt like I was right back where we had been before, but he wasn't. Which, honestly, was just as things had always been.

I threw the brakes on. One night after he promised to call but didn't, I text him then called him and I told him that I didn't want to speak to him anymore. We were over. It was best that way. I wanted him to fight me on that. I wanted him to fight me and prove to me that he really DID want me back. I wanted reassurance that I wasn't falling by myself as I had done before.

I could've gotten reassurance if I'd just asked him. Maybe he would've lied, sure. But at least I wouldn't have been playing games. It took me 2 months to realize he really wasn't going to call me -- even though he told me (when he found out 2 days later I had the chicken pox; yes, I was 20 yrs old and had the chicken pox for the first time) that he missed me and every day without me was more painful than the last. At the time I thought it was bullsh*t, but now I know that he was trying to respect my wishes. By the time I got my sh*t together, he had a new boo and it wasn't me.

Never, ever, would I do now what I did then. I'd rather put myself out there than to play games. Manipulation like that may yield you an answer you want (it didn't in my case) but there's always a price to pay. If I had shared with J my fears (that I was falling and he wasn't) my concerns (that I would wake up one day right back where I'd been with him before) then maybe we could've had an honest convo. Yes, maybe that convo would've hurt me but all the game playing that happened caused way more pain than necessary to both him and me.

Earlier today I had a gchat status that said,
You know, I think the best advice I've ever given can be summed up in this fashion: Don't play games. If you want something, just go for it. The game playing only leads to more issues. Less games, more...real. Yeah. More real.
And that's the point of this post. I wish we would just be real with people instead of trying to trick them into the answers we want. Ignoring his phone calls because he pissed us off. Not calling her back to make her sweat so she'll be extra nice when you do call. Saying you don't want to see them again when all you ever want is to see them. Game playing gets you nowhere but played and that lesson I learned the hard way.


The Diary of a Shy Black Woman said...

You are so right about that! Playing games is a waste of time and some people do it so much they can differentiate whether they are being real or not. Great blog. I plan to visit again!

A.Smith said...

Shy Black Woman, thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked it!

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

I think you'd like my current post. It hits hard on this theme. Come check it out.

When Relationships Are Like An Onion And A Maze

~ Kit

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

That's a heavy lesson, Ashley, but you've obviously learned the most important aspect. The game of manipulation has no winners and, as you made perfectly clear, being honest saves time and heartache.

A.Smith said...

Kit, I'm headed over now.

CurvyGurl, it was a very heavy lesson but I'm glad I got it too. Wish it'd been earlier, but you know, you take these lessons where you can get them.

Akirah said...

Agreed. I am such a direct person...I don't like games. Just like the Backstreet Boys. Quit playin games with my heart.

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