The story you are about to read is true. The names have been changed to protect the guilty. I’m not a doctor or an expert and I’m certainly not always right.
I’m already sinking and he hasn’t even left me yet. Two weeks ago I left H&D to work out of town for two weeks, thus propelling us into a trial run of what might be…dun dun dunnn...a “long-distance relationship." Halp. How did I get here? Let’s see…
In case you’re just tuning in, and even if you’re not, allow me to explain. About two months ago I started seeing my ex-boyfriend, High & Dry because my current guy, Mr. Sugar, who I was casually having sex with, was not ready for a relationship. Perhaps I should've been more patient. Perhaps I had a case of FOMO (fear of missing out—thank you Abbi and Ilana) and I didn’t want to waste time on someone who wasn’t serious about me. Or perhaps it was a matter of time before I reconnected with H&D. Even more likely it was some amalgam of all three. Cue MØ.
In any event, before I plummet into the trepidation and heartache that you can be certain is coming to me with the goodbye to H&D before he moves away, I want to explore the threads of history that wove this anxiety quilt that blankets my logic, preventing me sometimes from believing that a LDR (long distance relationship) could work.
Besides the conventional, recurring Friday night appearance of FOMO, there are fomomenons, or people who give you the fear of missing out tingle while in a commitment. These fomomenons are frequent guests in the minds of men and women everywhere who just. Have. Too many. Options. Does that girl on Instagram appear to have the perfect body? Did you say the 57 matches you have on Tinder seem like really interesting people? What about that hottie who just eyed you across the bar after you’ve had one too many?
I hate to break it to you…but if you’re already grooving with option numero uno, those fomomenons are just as likely to bore you to death than they are to be the perfect match. That girl on Instagram is just really good at taking pictures, your 57 matches also have 57 options of their own and that guy across the bar? You’re going to want to kick yourself in the morning when he asks you to drive him to work… because he doesn’t have a car (not that serial carpoolers are a deal breaker, but you catch my drift).
To make matters worse, as previously mentioned, people in Los Angeles are not only picky and more self-aware…they’re freaking beautiful. These perfectly pedicured creatures walk straight off the runways and movie sets of Hollywood and us regulars spend our best nights competing with them. I’m not passing a judgement here, I’m just relaying a fact. More people in Los Angeles get paid to look good. So we do! (Then we subsequently are able to write off our facials as tax deductibles. There are some perks.)
However, do we spend enough time considering the alternative? That no one is perfect and there’s a possibility, or sometimes a really good chance, that the person we’re with is certainly not perfect, but in fact a really good match for us. Does it occur to us that if we put our necks out there to date that perfect bod on Instagram, she might be too self-absorbed to inspire us, or share the same sense of humor we do with our current fling?
I am by no means encouraging any one to settle for less than they deserve, especially something unhealthy or dangerous. This is specifically directed at those of us (ahem, my exes and sometimes yours truly) who aren't present. Those men and women who are happy but still wondering and then wandering. I’m not an expert, but my only advice is to focus on what's in front of you with enough energy to recognize it if the right thing is staring at you in the face. And if it’s not, well then turn to that fomomenon you met last month across the bar and give it a shot.
The frequency and potency of fomomenons in this city and our social media culture are what give me that pang of uneasiness and jealousy moving into the next chapter of dating my ex. Knowing that I’ve been left in the past, and left other people, when FOMO kicked in. Cue Parra for Cuva.
I don’t know if things would have worked out with Mr. Sugar if we both would have seized the moment rather than being torn by separate fomomenons, but I do know that he felt the need to express his remorse. Cue Mr. Sugar.
MR. SUGAR: After reading through your latest dating article, I felt compelled to write a response. I know we have talked about everything between the two of us. I thought voicing my feelings would give you and your readers my perspective of it all… It definitely makes me feel accountable for my actions, however the articles themselves were not the trigger for my shift of perspective and how I see you now… And now, here I am, finally ready to reciprocate all of the love you had given me, and it is too late. However, I learned something over our past together I think is important that we both could benefit from. I learned that “If you have to wait ’til you are ready, it will be too late.”
I cannot be certain what the future will hold, but for the moment I know that I haven’t felt so sure that I need to be present and appreciate exactly what is in front of me…regardless of how far away “in front of me” actually is.
More on that next time.