by Josie Pickens, Ebony
Sometime after a very difficult end to a long romantic relationship, I was ready to feel my feet again. The tears dried on their own (à la Amy Winehouse), and that heartbreak diet had me looking and feeling fierce and sexy. In walked Deon, with his trumpet and big, beautiful calloused hands. He quickly became a man I thought would ease my weary blues and get me back to happy. He was gentle and adoring, intriguing and titillating—a perfect cocktail of what I needed to feel desire and passion again.
I relished him, our long walks and fascinating conversations, watching him perform… until he began making plans for me to meet his family and inquiring about future plans. I realized in that moment that we clearly had different ideas about what we were doing and where things were going. I was having fun as I healed and was not yearning, at all, to be entangled. I’d assumed that all I’d learned about men meant he’d feel the same way, wanting to be free of binds and titles, but I was obviously wrong.
For him, I was a woman he wanted to settle down with, to build a life around. I abruptly (possibly surprisingly) expressed that my heart simply wasn’t in it. It was in time-out regaining my heart’s rhythm, and wasn’t ready to open up to what could possibly become a new pain. He said he understood, and we continued to date, but he told me later that he spent a long time hoping things would change, and our relationship would head in the direction I explicitly told him it would not go.
As I reflect, Deon was looking for the same as many of us: a special connection that’ll shift us towards our higher selves. He’d just (unfortunately for him) found that connection with someone incapable of wanting or giving the same.
When I came across this at Single Black Male—a post hoping to explain why some men are prone to being emotionally unavailable and how women should behave in those situations—I thought about Deon and how we tend to genderize our very common human experiences. The author wrote:
“The concept of being emotionally unavailable is pretty natural for most men. Every guy I know has, at some point, decided to check out and withdraw from the spiritual, emotional and physical commitment that comes with ‘falling in love.’ We do this for various reasons: sometimes it’s because we want to focus on our careers, sometimes we’ve been hurt and are not interested in feeling that again, sometimes we have obligations and responsibilities that for a time will supersede our own feelings and sometimes we just know that for the moment… we ain’t about sh!+.”
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