Saturday, February 23, 2008

My anxiety is leaking out

I am composing this Saturday, before my date, so I can remind myself tomorrow of what great insight I have after the date.

I am not completely comfortable about tonight.

This fellow, I will call him Glenn, is very opinionated and forceful about it where I am much more genteel. I will listen to someone carry on and I don't feel the need to pipe up about how much I disagree. At one point in a phone conversation, he said he's taken care of his larger issues and he has two smaller ones to clear up: impatience and jumping to conclusions too quickly.

I think it's nice of him to put those things into words so I can use his own words back at him so he'll understand my perspective.

During our phone conversations, I learned he is a recovering alcoholic from about 15 years back. He doesn't feel it's an issue, but when I mentioned this to my therapist, we simultaneously said, "there's always the dry drunk." I am pretty adept at recognizing a control freak and I see some warning signs.

Later, I mentioned that, not to label him or make him feel bad, but I seem to be an alcoholic magnet, a topic that has had vast implications in my life as I'd inferred when he first told me. Because he sort of blew me off the first time, I began to quickly develop the whole picture and describe my exFIL, ex finance...when he interrupted me (par for the course and he told me to tell him to stop, but I find that reverse interrupting irritating, too), to elaborate quite fully how alcoholism has affected everyone in our country and there probably aren't five people in the whole country who don't know an alcoholic. Of course, my goal was not to talk about the whole country and my point wasn't that I knew alcoholics, but that they had grossly affected my life. I never got that far. (For example, of the four men I dated last year, two were weirdo adult children of alcoholics and one was a barely recovered alcoholic/pill popper. The fourth I didn't get to know well enough to find out.)

Tonight I will need to muster up more backbone and decide I care enough to debate and interrupt back or just end it right here. He needs to understand that I am a storyteller. I am not usually long winded, but I bring together nuances and details to make my point. (I believe reading this blog would put him over the edge.) I take the winding path. He is not a details person. He needs the direct path, or perhaps he feels a need to direct my path.

I told him I don't judge alcoholics. Often I admire them for their strength and what they went through. Overall, I appreciate people who have had personal strife to overcome. My life has been hard, too. I could not identify with anyone having a perfect life, perfect outlook, and perfect family. They seem shallow, false, and ill reflected upon.

We've had other conversations where he talked about instances that I feel he judged people very quickly and unfairly, without perspective. In the same situation, I have had to respect the others' wishes and move on, even though it hurt. He seemed so flip about one recent relationship, significant enough in which he admits to having the beginnings of feelings, that he called it a two month waste of time. I told him that I am overly patient, my personal foible, and I don't nag, yet am deluded enough to think someone is going to finally come around after I tell them what I need once or twice. Each time, though, I learn something and I could never sincerely call anyone a waste of time.

I hope this goes well, but I realize I am making a case for it not going well. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

being aware of red flags is good. you may find they are all appropriate, or you may find you've been overly either case you are protecting yourself.

thank god you can think this can save you from much grief.

some people never learn to look at these signals.

I do really hope you have fun tonight!!

Tara said...

People can be different in person. I have a friend who was having doubts about meeting this guy she liked because online he seemed like an egomaniac. In person he was totally different and now they're dating exclusively. But when you meet him (or maybe you're doing that already tonight), and your intuition tells you still to get the hell out, then listen to your intuition. Best of luck!

Anonymous said...

Seems like a lot of red flags, but yes, in person is much different than over the phone or email.

At the end of the day, listen to your gut. or talk it out with trusted friends... and us, of course! ;-)

And THEN listen to your gut.

NoRegrets said...

I love your last line - about it never being a waste of time. If that's true, that's good, as long as pull that learning forward, which it looks like you are doing.

brite69 said...

I've never heard the term "dry drunk" before. What's it mean?

I hope it went well and that he didn't throw up too many red flags.

Anonymous said...

The phone is never the final measuring stick, though it is a decent gauge. Don't kill it before it actually hatches, patience my dear.