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Gerri Luce

Gerri Luce
Location
Westchester, New York, USA
Birthday
February 13
Bio
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive." By Harold Thurman Whitman. What lights me up is my work as a psychotherapist, and my passion for writing. Thank you to my family and friends, those within shouting distance and those who are virtual for sticking by me through the highs and the lows. A shout out to all of you - a simple thank you is all I have - and it is not nearly enough. Please check out my other blog at www.psychologytoday.com/blog/both-sides-the-couch and visit my website at www.gerriluce.com

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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 26, 2011 5:00PM

Unfinished

Rate: 6 Flag

            I had a date the Sunday before Thanksgiving which is an extremely rare occurrence.  I hadn’t had a date since 2008.  I met him online and we began to chat.  He was everything I had thought I wanted; he was intelligent, able to discuss Salinger and Rainer Maria Rilke, he was a writer and sent me poems that he had written.  He had come from a fucked-up family as had I and he had struggled with depression.  When I revealed that I too had battled depression and even anorexia, he didn’t blink an eye.

            We e-mailed each other every day.  It was my choice not to talk on the phone – I’m terribly awkward on the phone.  He was sixty to my fifty which I thought was a manageable gap.  He revealed that had been married for the last thirty years, and had been in a sexless, roommate-like situation with his wife for the last six years.  I took a couple of days to consider the implications and thought that it might work.  I knew I didn’t want to get married and I didn’t want to live with anyone.  I realized the risk I was taking was that I could end up wanting him, needing him more than he could give.  But that was a risk I was willing to take.  I resumed e-mailing him.

            We set a date for lunch at a nice restaurant that served northern Italian food.  I did the usual female primping; choosing a nice outfit, jewelry, getting my nails done and playing with my hair and make up.  As I entered the restaurant on time he called – he was running a little late.  I sat and sat and then a half-hour later he called.  He had just parked the car.  I caught a glimpse of him walking up the block and I was mortified.  He was wearing sweats.  Not just a sweatshirt hoodie, but sweat pants, a faded tee-shirt and a wrinkled hoodie.  I cringed as I greeted him, trying not to let my embarrassment and also my anger show.  After a month of pouring our souls out to each other, this is all he thought of me?

            The first thing he told me was that he had lied about his age.  He was actually five years older than he had put on his profile. He was also very heavy, a possibility for which I had prepared myself, but the reality bothered me more than I expected.  I know what’s on the inside is more important than what’s on the outside, but I also believe that physical attraction is a part of chemistry and I wasn’t physically attracted to him because of his weight. He kept commenting that I seemed more “on edge” that he would have expected.  I didn’t know how to respond.  I felt trapped by my anger; I reverted back to the good girl I had always been.

            He said he would like to see me again on the upcoming Friday – we were off due to the Thanksgiving holiday.  When I asked what he would like to do he replied, “Make love.”  Shocked beyond comprehension, I collected myself and said it was too soon which he accepted.  But I didn’t know how to say I didn’t want to see him again. He took my hand in both of his and stoked it sensually.  Inside I was freaking out, thinking get your fucking hands off me.

            I went home at 4PM, crawled into bed, curled up into a fetal position and rocked myself to sleep.  My psychiatrist, Dr. Adena is in Europe for Thanksgiving week.  From work on Monday, I called the psychiatrist who is covering for her whom I have seen before and made an appointment. 

            “Why did he get you so dysregulated?” Dr. Stack asked me gently.

            “I don’t know,” I managed to choke out through the sobs. 

            We figured out I was freaking out at the thought of having to see him again.  I had gotten my hopes up over the course of our on line chats and it was more than a big disappointment; I didn’t expect to feel embarrassment and anger as well.

             On Thanksgiving Day he sent me an e-mail asking about Friday.  I sent him a reply saying that I didn’t want to see him; saying it was me, not him; that I wasn’t ready for a sexual relationship. The first sentence of the e-mail he sent me back read “I’m not surprised.”  I haven’t read the rest of it; I’m waiting to read it with Dr. Adena.

            Maybe it is me, maybe it was him.  Probably, as Dr. Stack said it was a combination and he wasn’t the right guy for me.  Too many red flags.  All I know is she was right when she said emphatically “You’ve worked too hard, you’ve come too far to let this one guy derail you now.”

            I nodded in agreement, silently afraid to tell her what was on my mind.

            The session was coming to an end. 

            “Look, if you need me, e-mail me, text me, or call me.”

            You text?” I was astonished. Dr. Adena didn’t e-mail or text.

            “Yeah,” she laughed. “I’m all modern now.  She scribbled her e-mail address and cell phone number on her card for me.

            “Thanks,” I said. “Thanks so much. You’ve really helped. Have a good Thanksgiving.”

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I probably shouldn't comment here, and I would like to be supportive, but there's something that's not quite right when a person can't read their own email without their psychiatrist. I hope you find someone... maybe going on-line is not the way to do it.
Oh dear, I've dated the geriatric jock and I'm so sorry that was your dip back into the dating world. Trust me it's not you he thought very little of, it's him. He's just an old man who didn't outgrow still playing to score. He pretended to be everything you wanted as part of his playbook and the first thing he told you was that he lied about his age to lure women.

Part of understanding myself is learning not to ascribe feelings I have to others. As a sensitive person it's hard to understand that some people are insensitive. If you'd been blunt and told him you were not attracted to him he might have pretended to be hurt and tried for pity sex, but would have shrugged inside and tried to "score" with the next woman.

It's very disappointing and I used to wonder why I hadn't seen the future and beat myself up for it. You did great replying that you didn't want to see him again and even better that you didn't read farther. I've heard more than his first line and you can go through it with your therapist. You're doing well and had the same response as many women who aren't in therapy. My healthiest girlfriends have fetal bawls over disappointments like that, we all get our hopes up.

You won't be derailed, you'll move ahead at the speed you and your doctor think is best. I'm so sorry you had such a terrible experience, I hope the rest of your weekend is better. Love and comfort to you.
Sorry it played out that way, Gerri, but I've heard enough stories about online flirtations to have been skeptical. When a man lies about himself online, it's not just to trick you; it's because he's embarrassed about the reality. Put it behind you as quickly as possible.

BTW, love the new avatar!
Oh Gerri, what a stunning disappointment! I mean really, sweat pants?? And his "make love" response? Oy, what a dolt.
No Gerri, it isn't you. It's him. Sometimes it really isn't us, it's them.
I hope you will recover from this quickly. He's not worth your time or tears. ~r
Jeff - No offense, but that;s not really the point...if you knew me via the last 1 1/2 years of my posts on OS it might make more sense. You might be right though- on line might not be the way to go.

Cruella? - you've changed your name?
Thanks for your support. I needed to hear that it wasn't me. What really helped was when you wrote "Part of understand myself is leanign not to ascribe feelings I have to others." I guess I still have some work to do.

Cranky - Thanks for the man's perspective. I'm trying hard to put it behind me. Writing about it helps.

Joan - "Oy what a dolt." Thanks for making me laugh out loud. That's good therapy.
OMG Gerri. First I cringed when he came dressed as you said and then doubly cringed when he said he wanted to Make Love. I would have run the other direction as fast as I could. No, it's definitly not you. You deserve more respect than that.
Trilogy - That's the word I needed to hear, that's the word that was missing - respect. Thank you so much Trilogy.
Sometimes bad dates read like horror stories. I read them, my mouth dropped in shock. Sweat pants? Ew. Wrinkled clothes? What a lazy arse.

It's almost an aggressive act. Like you have to try to come across that way. Because who does that? Who puts that little effort into meeting someone for the first time? It's just human nature to want to look good when you're meeting a possible romantic interest for the first time. So if they don't, I see it as being an eff you a little - not to make you feel worse. Just mad myself. Some men need to kick it up a notch. No one should have to tell them. That's just what grown-ups do.
Thanks Beth - You are so right. "That's what grown-ups do." And he is fifteen years older than me! At the danger of repeating myself, it is just beyond me how anyone could put that little effort into their appearance for a first date. Thank you.
Oh, Gerri....it's NOT you at all! I hope you meet a guy and preferably more magically, not thru the internet. I'll be sending my kismet-y wishes your way.
Dirndl Skirt - magic would be nice. So would more kismet. Thanks. I like hearing that it's not me, as well because I did wonder.