A popular saying in regards to insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” I had gone into this friendship with Ariel with my heart closed, opening my heart was not something that I either wanted to do nor would allow myself to do, but with her I almost felt like I could allow myself to become vulnerable again.
The weekends together were perfect; experiencing Costa Rica during the days and taking in nature, at night falling asleep in each other’s arms. Other than a few short kisses there was nothing more than a good friendship, but of course my lonely heart and mind started trying to turn it into something more.
This was my unicorn. She had all the traits I was looking for in a woman. Within 10 years of my age, Check. She had a Job, Check. Was Beautiful inside and out, Check. Did not have kids nor want kids, Check. And those were just the must have traits. With Ariel I could add in great sense of humor, big heart, loves nature, was not materialistic, and so much more. When I find a woman that I think is perfect and could be “the one,” I begin to tune out the signs that she is not ready or not available. I did it with the girl after my surgery, although the pregnancy should have been a clear cut sign to not get emotionally involved. With Ariel the signs were a little more concealed and allowed my mind to ignore them at the beginning.
For those that have ever watched “How I Met Your Mother”, I am like Ted Mosby. I wear my heart on my sleeve and fall in what I think is love quickly. Normally, this gets me in a bit of trouble as the ones I fall for are either not available or do not feel the same and the ones I don’t do this with fall for me. It is a cycle that is not fun or healthy for the heart.
After two perfect weekends together with Ariel, I was thinking with my heart instead of my brain. I had tuned out the obvious signs that she was not ready for a relationship nor was she over her ex-husband. I did the same things with Priscilla after the hospital and my surgeries. With Priscilla I did not have many people in my life when she was taking care of me and helping me get better. In retrospect with Priscilla it was the Florence Nightingale syndrome. This is when a romantic attraction or bond develops between patient and caregiver and is the direct result of the caregiving experience. I think for Priscilla and I this happened to both of us; I, during my recovery from the hospital and her, during her pregnancy. We both needed someone in our lives to rely on and be a shoulder on which we could cry.
What is strange, and is probably one of the reasons I am writing this book, is that just writing that last paragraph helped me let go. I should just be thankful that someone was there for me during my time of need and that I was able to reciprocate the actions. True friendships, if that was what it was, are based on unconditional actions of love.
Moving on to Ariel and the signs that showed me I needed to shut down that part of my heart when it came to my feelings towards her came fairly quickly. Although we had great weekends together, that was just what they were- only weekends. She lived 2 hours away in San Jose. Although that is not that long of a distance, and we are not taking about 2 different countries, it was two different lives. I had my life at the beach and I travelled to San Jose normally about once every 2 months. She would come to the beach about once a month. We had our paths we were following and they only intersected about once a month. This was the definition of a long distance relationship and they never work.
Even if we had been able to somehow been able to work through the fact we would only see each other from time to time, there were too many other red flags. First and foremost were the other guys. Women – here is the deal, unless a guy meets a woman through your group of friends and he is dating someone or a guy who has just grown up with a woman and has known her for years, guys do not want to be just friends. The only exception is if a guy does not find the girl attractive. Even if she has repeatedly denied more that friend status, guys still hold onto the hope that one day he can break out of the friend zone. This is the rule, and there are very few exceptions to it.
Ariel repeatedly stated that she only wanted “guy friends.” In actuality this might have been true, hard for me to believe, but possibly true. For me I was more inclined to believe that she was seeing if there was anything better out there. But be it one way or the other, the fact still remained the same, I, like these other guys wanted to be more than friends.
The last time I was in a situation to try to prove myself to a woman and tried to show her why I should win her heart, I lost, and the only person that gets hurt is me. I had too many strikes against me. I was still putting together my businesses and that part of my life was a wild card. I lived 2 hours away. I was an introvert and enjoyed nights relaxing and watching movies while she liked going out. I had to just let her live her life and if her path led to me in the end, then great, but I was no longer willing to fight a battle I was destined to lose.
The final red flag which could not be ignored no matter how much I tried was the fact she was still in love with her ex-husband. They had married young and had been together for 12 years. After the 12 years they had just grown apart. She had been divorced less than a year and although she said that she was trying to move on, she was still emotionally attached to her ex. They worked at the same place, they had the same friends, their families were close, and they lived right next to each other.
When I went through rehab in Houston, there are a few pieces of advice that always stuck with me on my path in life. One of those was “in order to overcome your addiction you have to change people, places and things.” When it came to my alcoholism that meant not driving by the same bars I used to frequent. It meant no longer hanging out with my drinking buddies. It meant not putting myself in situations where urges to drink would be summoned. The same thing holds true about exes and past relationships.
How many of us had a boyfriend or girlfriend in high school or college or work with whom it did not work out? How much longer did it take to get over them if you saw them on close to a daily basis? A lot longer…having interactions with these people stimulates a part of our brain that remembers the good times we had with them. For some reason we are unable to really think about the reasons why it ended, and it keeps us holding on. Ariel was living in a world where each and every day she was reminded of her marriage. Each and every day she had an internal battle raging with her heart, mind and soul. Let go and move on or return to her husband?
All you can do is watch from the outside and wait for her to make a decision on her own. Like an alcoholic trying to overcome an addiction, so it is with a person trying to let go of love. One can try to give advice but the only way you get through this is on your own and in your own time.
Some unicorns are not meant to be caught……