“You gotta new girlfriend?” she asked inquisitively.
“Um, no. Why?” I asked, puzzled.
“Well, you’re losing all that weight I figured you found you a girl,” she replied matter-of-factly.
“Um, no. I’m losing weight because I need to.”
“So what’s her name?” he asked.
“Who’s name?” I replied, once again confused by a question asked from deep left field.
“The girl you’re losing all this weight for,” he replied as if I were playing coy.
“There’s no girl. I’m losing weight because I need to.”
“You’re a hot commodity,” he said. I couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or serious. “You should hang out with (single female coworker).” I’m pretty sure he’s being sarcastic.
“Um, no thanks. I’m not trying to get involved with someone with that many kids.” The truth is, I’m not trying to get involved with anyone.
I’ve lost over 30 pounds in the last two months. While I’m very happy with that, I’m not so thrilled with the assumptions people have been making in the process. Evidently the only reason a dude will lose weight is to get in some girl’s pants. It has nothing to do with the fact that there’s a family history of diabetes and heart disease tucked neatly away in my genes. And there’s no possible way it could have anything to do with the fact that playing with my son in the backyard for more than a handful of minutes left me gasping for air. And it certainly didn’t have anything to do with how disgusted I was by the hideous reflection constantly staring back at me from the mirror.
Nope, I obviously had some secret girlfriend. So secret, in fact, that I’ve yet to meet her. I’m that good.
I have occasionally entertained the thought of putting myself out there again, but then I remember what’s happened every time I’ve tried that in the last five years. My heart has been shattered completely and repeatedly. I’ve shattered hearts, and been left astounded I have the power to do so; that someone could care so much about me that not returning their feelings has magnified their fragility.
I would love to have someone to share my life with; someone to do things with when I’m not being a father. I’d love to have someone to laugh with. To confide in. To support and be supported by. But I can’t.
I’m scared of the potential pain. I’m scared of potential failure. I’m scared that I’ll hurt yet another. I’m scared the next time my heart breaks will be the time it can’t be pieced back together. I’m scared that I’ll fall again for someone who’ll have expectations so lofty I can’t, or won’t want, to meet them.
The truth is I just don’t want the drama right now. I have enough on my plate without adding a relationship to it. I have a high-maintenance six-year-old to raise. I have two almost-18-year-olds I’d like spend time with when both our schedules allow. I need to work on some professional development so I can advance my career and get a damned raise. I need to get myself in a better situation both personally and financially. I know myself. I fall hard and I fall fast. I would neglect to achieve my goals if my focus shifts elsewhere. I also tend to see those I love through rose-colored glasses. I’ll ignore obvious red-flags and assume things will be okay in spite of them. And I’m always fucking wrong. Always.
So, no, I’m not losing weight for some girl. I don’t have a secret girlfriend I’m not telling you about. I’m not going to go hang out with that single coworker no matter how beautiful she is (and she truly is). All I’m trying to do is get my shit together, which, looking back, is something I don’t think I’ve ever been able to claim before. I can truly say I’ve never, not for even a moment, ever had my shit together. I wanna know what that feels like. I want to know what it’s like to be content with life.