Through These Eyes: On Romantic Masochists & Inactive Facebook Users

By Justin Jones November 13, 2014

Categories: Dating & Relationships, Our Lives

You didn’t intend it to go as far as it did, unless, of course, it turned out well, in which case you planned it all along.

We risk our hearts when they’re on the line. We risk big. We risk closing ourselves off and missing the opportunity to find him, or otherwise risk being “too available.”

I risk both, and more. Add to the mix that I’m incredibly “picky” and the prognosis puts my chances at everlasting romance equal to the odds that we’ll see a sequel to The Passion of the Christ.

My condition isn’t uncommon. Those who suffer the collective call themselves “romantic.” Those who consider it bullshit prefer “crazy.”

Being a romantic means wishing for perfection but wanting volatility, hoping for happiness but thriving on heartbreak. “Lifelong” sounds great, but “Until” feels better. Deny it all you want.

Romantic writer Leopold von Sacher-Masoch aptly put it, “Your madness is nothing but a demonic, unsatisfied sensuality.” (Guess whose name the word “Masochism” comes from…)

“He’s so cute,” says a friend. We’re looking at a stranger’s Facebook profile, and yes, the man on screen is cute: he has a scruffy, chiseled chin, wears baseball hats, and does manly things like off-roading and hunting.

My friend and I review his profile and are pleased to see that he isn’t active on Facebook. Last post: two weeks ago, an impassioned two-sentence commentary on the Vikings and Packers. This is reassuring because active Facebook users are more annoying and conceited than inactive ones (I am an active Facebook user).

“Oh, look, we have a mutual friend,” my friend says. “…you.”

I don’t know 90% of the “friends” I have on Facebook so this means nothing and my friend and I go about our day.

A month passes and the off-roading inactive Facebook user messages me. He says my posts about my tragic love life are funny and that he’d like to take me on a “real” date. This excites me and I think of him incessantly for two days, when finally I message him back, “Oh sorry, I’ve been really busy…” and accept his invitation.

Our date goes perfectly. He calls me afterward to say he had a great time and I’m already thinking of white picket fences.

The day after our date he texts me a funny picture and follows up with, “When will I see you again?”

We schedule Date Two.

Two days after our first date he texts me a funny picture and “good morning” and “good night.”

As he does the next day.

And the next.

And the next.

And the next, and with increasing frequency.

I cancel our second date.

I debrief with friends and tell them about how clingy he was, how desperate his texts made him sound, and about how disappointed I was to lose such a potentially great guy. I end with that terribly ironic, compliment-fishing, whiny comment, “I’m going to be single for the rest of my life.”

Not long after my encounter with the off-roading inactive Facebook user I go on a date with a lawyer, himself a masculine inactive Facebook user. Our date goes well and we schedule Date Two.

The lawyer doesn’t text me incessantly, and at first this is reassuring. He isn’t desperate. He isn’t clingy. But, the more I think about it, I’m worried. Why isn’t he texting me? Maybe he’s busy or maybe… maybe he didn’t really like me, as in, really really like me. Maybe I did something wrong. Because he‘s an inactive Facebook user I can’t know whether or not he’s busy, and I dream up awful scenarios of my having done something embarrassing during our first date, or that maybe he’s heard a rumor about me. There’s something wrong, right?

With the lawyer not reaching out, I want to text him myself, and the desire to do so grows uncontrollable. I want him to want me, and, ever the peril of the narcissistic romantic, I want him to tell me. Thankfully, I don’t succumb to my madness.

Our second date goes well, but in the time since our first date, I’ve become so engrossed in the idea of unrequited infatuation that I’ve built him into an impossibly perfect man. I’ve constructed in my head someone way out of my league—someone I could never have—to rationalize why he doesn’t like me. Our second date, then, is a disappointment. He isn’t perfect. He is who he was on our first date—the guy I wanted only when he was new, when there was no expectation of him wanting me back…

Maybe it’s that we play both roles when our hearts are on the line, at times romantic, at times crazy, but always masochistic, forever wanting what we can’t have.

3 Responses to Through These Eyes: On Romantic Masochists & Inactive Facebook Users

  1. Jeffery says:

    Just like everyone else on the planet …. It so sad you want people to want you, but you don’t want them to want you to much cause then they are perceived as creepy. Then when your the one who is left wanting then you start to become the creepy one… but that’s ok why is that? It seems rather like a double standard to me …Why is it ok for you to be needy and obsessive but then you cast out others that behave the same way ? People should not be treated like a piece of meat just because they are not “cooked” to your exact specifications. Shame on you.. I generally like your writing very much but as for this piece I have to say I am genuinely offended. I would have never guessed that you were so shallow…but then again why would you even care what others think most of your friends on Facebook you admittedly don’t even know.I suppose they are just a bunch of desperately clingy guys…That is all… I will be de-friending you post-hastily

  2. Ken says:

    Jeffery has some valid points, but I think he’s a bit too harsh.
    I’m sure I’ve lost second dates because of being like the first guy in the article. But here’s the rub. Once I came out of the closet, I lost all patience for not being an authentic me. That means if we’ve had a date and I’m interested in seeing more of you, I’ll let you know. It means I’m interested in getting to know you.
    Games are for children and insecure people. I refuse to participate in the “rules” of not being the first to call/text, or if you are, you must wait a specific length of time.

    Justin, Do you not think you are worth someone being “excited” about having met and had a wonderful first date with? Because when you write off someone who’s clearly excited to have met you (so much so that they can’t wait until your next date to contact you), that’s what it looks like. You are basically judging them to be inferior because they are TOO into you and it creeps you out.

    Then you with the lawyer. Did it occur to you that he was playing your game? Maybe he’s the one used to being pursued and expected you to not wait so long to message him. Perhaps he read your non-messaging as a sign of disinterest or lack of sincerity in being open to dating or relationships.

    I still love your writing and enjoy your columns. Just some things to think about from those of us who put games away a long time ago.

  3. Jim says:

    You sound like a Nelly little Drama Queen who likes to date Real Men. Sorry to inform you Real Men are’nt interested. As Ms. Behavior would often say; Therapy Perhaps, or honestly leave us Real men alone and date another drama queen, that’s what you’re gonna wind up with.

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