Friends or more? Mixed signals made me wonder, so I asked point-blank in my blunt ADHD way.
by Jane D.
Autumn is in full season here in this Asian city; thankfully the humidity has died down and I can once again walk about without being drenched in sweat. I've been swimming and working, going at both with great gusto mostly to try to keep my mind off the man problem and my desire to date people who are simply unavailable.
The latest problem guy is the Texan (I've dubbed him the Texan as he worked in the Lone Star State many moons ago). We've reunited, or shall I say reconnected, after a six-year gap in which we've both changed jobs many times and he has married, divorced, and probably dated numerous folks in between. He's a vintage older than me and is known for constantly and consistently complaining about his job, his boss, and his work — everything in life for him is problematic or not good enough. It's like interacting with Oscar the Grouch, and never having the Grouch ask me with sincerity, "How are you doing? Really, how are you doing?"
So why do I like him? I've been wanting him to turn around and say, "Hey, I really like you. Will you be my girlfriend?" The problem is the several time zones between us, the 8,000-plus miles and the Pacific Ocean and Atlantic Ocean, but nonetheless I was hoping he would be a bit more responsive in terms of truly being interested in me as a person. Since connecting over the summer in person, we've talked once a week. Actually it feels more like a session with the shrink, me being the shrink. He complains about work and how he wants to move and find another gig if this doesn't work out — the usual song and dance. I've been wondering if he's ADHD or has some other mental ailment; maybe he's been undiagnosed and untreated for what I see as "Chronic Complaining."
And then a few days ago I grew tired of assuming and wondering, and perhaps simply upset with knowing the fact that he sees me not as a soul-mate, but as a phone buddy. So I did something the sister advised me against. I emailed him and asked in my usual ADHD blunt 'n' bulldozer style, "Dear Joe, You know we've been chatting for like a month now, oceans apart. Frankly I'm looking for someone to date and potentially have a relationship with. If that's not the case, we can stay in touch as friends, but I'm really busy with work so let's chat every so often..." After sending it I retreated into Regretville. Why couldn't I be more patient and see how it unfolds? There is nothing tying me to this Texan. There are other fish in the sea, right? Not.
The response, which came a day later, went something like, "Dear Jane, In fact, I am interested in dating you and hope that I've showed signs of interest, but with distance it's hard so I find talking on the phone the best way to stay in touch..." Yada, yada, yada. From my viewpoint I felt somewhat resigned rather than relieved. The words don't match his action: phoning me up to dump complaints on me. Why did he delete me off Facebook a month ago, and why did I need to basically arm-wrestle him into adding me on again? ("Did you accidentally move the mouse around? If so I'll friend you again...")
The relationship kinks keep me in a tizzy, and wondering if ADHD women aren't capable of having long-term and deep relationships with other people, especially those of the opposite gender. I wrestle with these worries at night as my 37th birthday approaches. As a friend, who is the same vintage as I am, pointed out, "We will officially be in our late thirties."
And in the meantime my friends' timelines continue to add life milestones: "married...," "second child...," and promotions. I keep wondering, what if I live an entire life without any of those milestones? Not out of choice but simply because of who I am.
For the rest of the weekend I fell into a funk, and simply emailed the Texan, "I'm not available to talk this weekend; it's crazy-busy...I'll let you know when I'm next available."