I was 18 & he was 32. On paper he read like this: handsome, worldly, wildly successful, home owner, career driven, dog lover. Any other woman with a level head on her shoulders & a little life experience under her belt would have seen his 30-something-single-status & the very fact that he enjoyed dating naïve 18 year olds as a giant red flag & run for the hills. But oh no, not me- I gravitated towards it like a moth to a mozzie-zapper. I’m the type of girl who’s always enjoyed a challenge. And going where no woman had been before with this commitment-phobe was right up my tortured, self-inflicted-alley.
Now before I go and write myself off as a total #psycho, let me give you the back story. I met *Brad on the dance floor of the Victory Hotel in Brisbane. (*Names have been changed to protect the innocent parties. Just kidding- his name really is Brad but we can call him Captain Twat-Waffle for all intensive purposes.) Anyway, amongst all the sweaty bodies, the sticky floors & Nelly’s ‘Its Getting Hot In Here’ pumping away in the background of this classy establishment, Cpt TW & I locked eyes. It was instantaneous. Our sexual chemistry was palpable. From that moment on he was mine & I was his.
There were long lunches, lustful gazes & late nights between the sheets. We’d talk endlessly about our lives & shared our hopes & dreams for the future. But no sooner had it begun then **poof** he’d disappear faster than you can say ‘I’ve named ALL our future babies/ marriage/ joint bank account/ 50th wedding anniversary.’ There were no apologies, explanations or break-up. He’d just fallen off the face of the earth. I’d spend the week upset, ugly-crying into the bottom of an ice-cream container & scouring the obituaries for his death notice. Then weeks after I’d pulled up my big-girl panties & brushed off my bruised ego he’d miraculously reappear, with apparent amnesia of the past & rearing for round #2.
Well slap-me-silly and sign-me-up! Ring -a-ding-ding ladies! Step aside as this emotionally unstable, commitment-phobic, little boy is all mine. As I’ve said- there’s nothing I like more than a bit of a challenge. Captain Twat-Waffle had set the bar for unattainable & I quite liked to jump through his hoops. His reasons were that I was never enough… Not skinny enough, not funny enough, not educated enough, not worldly enough, not pretty enough. The Captain could have worn his issues like a giant neon sign flashing across his forehead (DANGER, giant wrinkly ball sack ahead with a penchant for dating supermodels despite not being a model himself) & I would have sat there dazzled, wide-eyed & mesmerised by the lights.
Now back in the real world, I think most women’s criteria for finding a suitable man goes a little something like this:
Good sense of humour? Check.
Tall, dark & handsome? Check.
Nice smile/ sexy eyes/ well groomed? Check.
Big D (just kidding, but we all wish & hope).
While my checklist has always been a little more like this:
Emotionally unavailable? Check.
Commitment phobic? Check.
Mummy-issues? Check. Check. Check!
We’d be blissfully together, apart, together & apart again. We’d only just recommence our relationship (for the 5th time) before Captain TW pulled another Harry Houdini-disappearing act. Except this time I wasn’t having a bar of it. This time there was no escape clause or civilised parting of ways. I was mad & boy was he going to hear about it. Cue 15 drunken messages on his answering machine at 3am sobbing ‘why won’t you just love me??’, turning up on his doorstep unannounced & standing at the foot of his bed, quietly watching him as he sleeps… (Wait, wha?? Totally joking on that last one). Because ladies, if he doesn’t love you when you’re sane & rational, then he’s certainly going to love you when you go all ‘single white female’ on his ass…
We continued this toxic somewhat-relationship for the good part of 5 years. Sometimes in the middle of relationships, outside of relationships & at any other time either of us felt lonely or had a void to fill. Until one day I woke up, sorted my life out, got an education & learnt how to stand on my own two feet. I didn’t need a white knight to ride in on his horse & save me; I could mother-fucking save myself. It well & truly ended when I grew up. When I jumped off the emotional merry-go-round of lust with its intoxicating highs & devastating lows, and learnt the importance of real love… (Shout-out to you stud-ly hubby-o).
True to form, I don’t think the Captain invested any time into self-discovery the way I did. Three months before I was set to marry I saw his name pop up in my email inbox- he too was engaged. He asked about me, tried to woo me & asked if I’d run away with him. Seems old habits die hard & running away from responsibility was what he loved most. So what would any self-assured woman with a petty score to settle do? With the blessings of my now-husband, I strung him along for a month or two, then bundled up every incriminating email & sent them directly to his fiancé. Funnily enough, she still married him & coincidentally, only a day after I was married. I guess for every commitment-phobic guy ready to throw away a relationship, there’s an equally desperate woman prepared to look the other way. I’m just glad I grew up in time to not be her. I’m also totes thrilled that when I stand above a man now, casually caressing his cheek as he sleeps I’m not in breach of a restraining order… (Jokes).
Helenka – The Unlikely Mummy.