Just two weeks ago he’d been chasing me like he was a hunter and I was the prize he’d been searching for his entire life.
“You’re so beautiful,” John would text me out of nowhere in the middle of the day.
A smile would bloom on my face.
I’d blush. I’d feel this heat in my chest and this wonderful, terrible hope growing in me. I’d feel myself start to fall…
“I could fall in love with you,” he whispered after the first time we “made love,” “had sex,” “hooked up.”
Whatever you want to call it, it was amazing.
I wanted him from the very first moment we met, but I made him wait. I wanted him to feel like he “earned” me.
But it was our fourth date and we were kissing on the couch…
And I inhaled the good masculine smell of him and felt the strength in his arms…
And I felt so safe and protected and desired…
And afterwards we lay there tangled in each other.
He ran his fingers through my hair…
As I lay my head against his chest and listened to his heartbeat, I let myself believe in some way that maybe, just maybe, it was beating for me…
And we had two perfect weeks before “you know what” happened.
Two perfect weeks of flirty and sexy texts and laughing in bed and talking in vague terms about the soft-focus far-off future…
Letting the walls I’d built around my heart – brick after bitter brick – start to fall.
And then… “you know what” happened.
Twenty passionate texts a day turned to ten boring ones.
And “I can’t wait to see you,” turned to “I’ve been really busy with work.”
And then suddenly, like a bad nightmare I’d had again and again and again…
I was the one chasing him and feeling disgusting and hating myself for it.
And then we got coffee and the table between us felt like the Grand Canyon.
And while he used to pull me towards him, pick me up in his arms and kiss me like a movie star.
He just bent down a little and kissed me like his sister and walked away a ghost.
And I knew I would never hear from him again.
“Kate, I thought you finally learned this with Sean,”
My best friend Sally said as she hugged me while I sobbed.
Sally, whose idea of a “successful relationship” was a guy remembering her name after a one-night stand, or paying for the Uber ride home.
She showed up with ice cream and bad advice 33 minutes after I texted her.
“The guy you want, Kate? He doesn’t EXIST. You would have found him by now.”
“You’re better off just being alone.”
I lay there that night, hugging my pillow.
Alone. Just like she said.
Feeling a raw wound where all my hope used to be.
Thinking about Bill who I met at a drunken party back in college.
Or Mark from work who chased me and chased me until I finally agreed to go out with him. We had three dates and then he wouldn’t talk to me and never looked me in the eye again.
Or Chris who I was even engaged to. Who I spent 5 years with, only 2 of which were any good… because I didn’t want to be alone.
So I lay in bed staring at the ceiling and feeling the tub of ice cream rumble in my belly, and the nausea in my heart…
I thought about starting over again and wanted to sob…
Going on “Tinder” or “OK Cupid” or whatever weird dating “app” people were using these days since no guys actually just walked up and asked you out anymore.
And I thought about John. And how sincere he had seemed.
And how you couldn’t fake looking at at a woman like that.
And wondering… what happened?
Wondering why he pulled away.
Wondering what I could do to make him want me again…
Wondering what I could do to make him chase me and hunt me and…
Make him worship me the way I so desperately wanted him to.
“Hello, it’s Michael,” the deep, kind voice said as I stared at a bald guy with penetrating eyes on my phone screen.
We were “Skyping.” I’d been working to talk to him for about 3 weeks. I’d tried everything.
See, his name is “Michael Fiore,” and when I’d scoured the internet trying to find out WHY John pulled away…
Michael’s name kept on coming up again and again.
He’d written some popular books. He’d created these “programs” you could buy online about getting your ex back and using text messages to bring the romance back. And how to understand the truth about men.
I’d even seen a video of him on “The Rachael Ray Show” and “liked” his page on Facebook — just like over 2 million other women.
And I hoped and prayed and hoped again that he could help me…
“Hi, Mike, uhh… my name is Kate and… uhh…” I babbled.
I couldn’t believe I was finally talking to him.
I mean, I’d had to work hard to get this “interview.”
I’d told him I had a blog and a podcast and wanted to interview him.
Because… well, because his staff said that he was really busy. His staff said he didn’t do one-on-one consulting.
“Hi, Michael. Hi, hi. um. It’s really nice to meet you,” I said.
“Yeah, you too. So, how can I help you? Are we recording? What do you want to talk about?” he said and I felt ice in my heart.
What was he going to say if he found out I lied?
“Umm. So, I wanted to talk to you about why men pull away,” I said.
“Like, all the women in my… uhh… audience talk about this, like…”
“Like it starts out great and then after a few months or years or whatever, things change, and you become invisible?” he interrupted.
“Yeah, how did you…?” I asked.
He stopped me right away.
“I get this one a lot. A lot. Every day. It’s the big question.
And it’s the question I… uh… What’s the name of your show again? I know everybody in this niche and I’ve never heard of you, so…”
“Um, it’s uhh…” I scrambled for a name. I’m not creative. I never have been.
I decided to tell the truth and hope hope hope it was OK.
“Um. I don’t actually have a show or anything. I’m just a woman from the Midwest and…” the tears started flow.
“I just don’t know what to do. I met this guy. And I thought he was different, but he wasn’t. And it hurts so much and I feel so stupid.”
I told him the whole story. The whole story about John. The whole story about every man, my whole life.
“Listen, Kate, I feel for you. You’re not stupid. You just fell in love. And I want to help you. I do. But…”
“Do you want me to tell you what you want to hear…
Or Do You Want Me to Tell You The Truth?”
I felt confused. He was staring right at me. Right through me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
I heard defeat in his voice. He suddenly seemed exhausted.
“Look, I’ve been doing this a long time,” he said. “I’ve helped a lot of people. A lot of women. A lot of men.”
“And a few years ago I decided I wanted to do something scary…
“How to make him worship you like the queen you want him to.”
“That’s perfect!” I said.
“How much? I don’t have much money but if you let me do a payment plan or something I…”
“No, that’s the thing, Kate…
I don’t sell it. Not to anyone.”
“I made it and I invited a few women to look at it…
and it didn’t go well.”
“It wasn’t what they wanted to hear.”
“They got mad. Really mad.”
“They couldn’t handle it.”
“They wanted the lie and hated me for telling them the truth.”
He paused for moment, like he was thinking.
“I feel for you, Kate. But… uhh… it’s nice meeting you… I need to…” he looked away, grabbing for the mouse.
He was turning me away.
“Wait!” I said, “I want to hear the truth. I want to hear the truth, Michael. Whatever it is.”
“No matter how much it hurts. I’m not a little girl anymore. I don’t need fantasy.”
“I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to have to date again.”
He bit his lip. He weighed it in his mind.
“I shouldn’t do this,” he said. “Every guy I know told me I shouldn’t even have created this thing. They said it would destroy my career.”