No Answer is Not an Answer

Dec 12, 2014 by

          In the summer, I was certain of only one thing: I wanted a relationship. I didn’t want to date to get one (yes, I see the irony), but I knew I wanted one. However, with respect to every other aspect of my life, I was completely disoriented. I impulsively bought a ticket to Italy, thinking a week in Europe would help me gain some clarity. I met up with a couple friends, drank some absinthe, talked to some strangers, and returned home more confused about my life than I was when I left. I quit my job because it was a dead-end, and I hoped doing so would relieve enough I-hate-my-job stress to help me better evaluate my life. Something needed to change (I needed to get over a guy), but I didn’t know what (my feelings for said guy), so I bought a ticket to Paris (despite diminished interest in travel).

          In conclusion, I didn’t know what the fuck I was doing or what the hell I was looking for. The only want of mine that remained constant was a boyfriend; and because I was so sure that I wanted a relationship, it was hard for me to conceive what it might be like for other people to not know what they want from the sex and dating realm. How can you not know? What is there to be confused about? You’re either interested or you’re not, I’d argue with air while alone in my car, pissed that I wasn’t given the courtesy of a response. All I wanted was a clear “I’m not interested” or an honest “I don’t fucking know.” Anything that wasn’t nothing, because no answer is not an answer. We say it is, but it’s not. It’s a cowardly loophole for the mute and a bitch of hope for the waiting.

          It wasn’t until shortly before I left for Paris that I opened my mind to the idea that dating goals could be just as obscure to others as my life goals were to me. I knew without doubt that I wanted to date this guy to assess relationship potential; but, with regard to everything else, I had no fucking idea what I wanted. I was changing my mind faster than I could process the reasons why. What if he was experiencing the same level of confusion that I was, but in a different area of his life? What if he was as unsure about what he wanted from me, or girls in general, as I was about what I wanted from my ticket abroad? If that was the case – though it absolutely did not excuse his asshole move of ignoring me – I could see how it was possible for him not to know. Assuming that his opinion on dating would be easy for him to formulate because mine was clear was egocentric.

          Each person lives on his or her own timeline, and how two people’s story unfolds largely depends on how closely their timelines match. If you definitely want to date at a time that someone else doesn’t or doesn’t know, you and that person are not going to date. Hypothetically, you could be an amazing couple, but it’s irrelevant if you don’t want a relationship at the same time. This leaves me wondering how our stories with various people would have played out had we encountered them at different times in our lives. For instance, many people get married between their late twenties and early thirties, often to someone they’ve met closely leading up to or during that time, when most other people are also looking for marriage. But what if you disregarded someone more suitable that you met earlier, when you weren’t thinking about commitment? Or what if you overlook someone incredible that comes along later, when you’re already wearing a ring? I guess the answers to the what-ifs don’t matter, but I find it fascinating, the degree to which our lives and the people we spend them with are the products of timing.

          Then again, it could have just as easily been me – not time – behind his disinterest. I don’t know. I didn’t get an answer. All my speculations are just guesses. That’s the problem with silence. It leaves you hypothesizing your way to closure, because no answer is not an answer. It’s a tormenting question.

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