The Standard Lie of Courtship

I have been told this lie my whole life by women, even after I got married:

“I just want to be by myself for a while.”

This lie has always been told to me by very attractive women who have just gotten divorced or broken up from a serious relationship, and never, not once, have any of these women been by themselves for a while. Typically they are with someone within just a week or two.

I imagine that on the surface, they mean what they are saying. I say “on the surface” because deep down, they know they are full of shit. Deep down they know they will be with someone soon, because no one who is married or in a serious relationship wants to be alone for a while, or even for the next five minutes. If they wanted to be alone, they would have been alone the whole time.

At some middle-depth level, this statement is really this: “I don’t want to be with you.”

This lie and similar ones, like, “It’s not you, it’s me,” (it’s you, or she would want to be with you), or “I just want to be friends,” (which is almost never even remotely true), or “I don’t think we want the same things,” (which was spoken with great irony to me by a girlfriend who later became a lesbian, proving we both wanted the exact same thing, to be with a lesbian woman), are part of the pointless thrust and parry of courtship, and one of the reasons I am so very glad to be in a healthy marriage.

Sidebar: a woman once told me, “I just can’t be in a co-dependant relationship right now,” then proceeded to marry and divorce two more times in the next ten years.

I know I am asking for a lot more courage than almost all of you are capable of mustering, but people, please, at least once in your miserable little lives tell someone the truth, that you are thinking only of yourself.

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2 Comments

  1. Ditto. Every word of it was my experience also, for about 15 years.

    But I’ve seen men say even stupider, less honest things when trying to get with, or get rid of, a woman.

    I blame Hollywood. And Pat Robertson.

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  2. OK, I couldn’t let this one go. Perhaps it is the context – women saying this to men who are expressing an interest in them. Then yes, I can see it as one of those “I don’t want to hurt his feelings” kind of untruths.

    But have you heard this from a friend, someone who had just been through something rough and knew that they weren’t over it? Sure, jumping into any relationship distracts from the pain, but usually sets you up for even more. Smart girls know this.

    Also, what do you consider “a while?”

    I haven’t said this to a man, but I’ve said it to myself and friends. Going on 3 years separated, 1.5 years divorced and I MAY be willing to date again. Soon. Soon-ish. Who am I kidding, the thought scares the crap out of me.

    But now you know one woman who meant it.

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