To Be or Not To Be: Dating, When Do You Know It’s A No-Go? by Damian Ruff
I recently had one of those phone conversations. You know the one. I went in telling myself that
I wouldn’t give him an ultimatum because those never work, at least, not in a constructive way.
It started as a text the day before, but it had been building up for a while.
We had met on the J platform at Broadway Junction one night when the L was shuttling
between there and Canarsie. We had seen each other on the A train up and somehow, we ended
up standing next to one another on the platform. He was sweet as pie and did this weird chin
rubbing thing like he was conspiring or something; it was very cute, and I laughed. We
introduced ourselves, exchanged numbers, and hadn’t stopped talking since then. I invited him
out to the Latex Ball, the first ball he had ever attended, then out to see the fireworks at Coney
Island, and the universe conspired for us to meet again at Slayfest the next day where we had our
first kiss. We didn’t see each other for a week after that because he went out west for business, throughout his time there we were texting and talking on the phone, as creatives we were sending each other our work, but when he came back he was distant.
I had arranged for us to go to the Botanic Garden of Brooklyn a week after he had gotten back but he canceled. I went by myself, determined to not waste a ticket, but as I sat there in the herb garden journaling, I became comfortable with the idea of him not lasting long. Since then he and I played cat and mouse with communicating until he asked to see me. We saw each other one more time after that and yet still the feeling persisted after we had had our second kiss.
Since meeting him I had talked with both Malik and Stevie about some of what had been
going on. This had been new territory for me, as I’ve never formally dated anyone, and he, as far
as he told me, had never been with another guy. For him, it was about exploring his queerness,
something he had mentioned a few times, enough for me to start to feel like maybe he was
treating me as a trial run for a homosexual relationship. Honestly, I was only partly bothered by
this because for me it was also about seeing what I could be like dating someone, but still, my
self-worth persisted. I had been thinking on how to broach the subject when, after coming up on
two months of just “talking” I needed to know what he thought about the situation-ship. His
answer, “It’s been a new experience,” this grated my nerves because this was not brand-new
information. When he asked me what I thought, I told him, that I felt like it’s been a lot of work
on my end to get him to open up so that we could start having more than surface conversations,
that I didn’t want to feel like I was pressuring him but that’s exactly what I had been feeling.
I asked him what he wanted out of this relationship and he couldn’t tell me.
Now, I know that I can be a very cut and dry person, and I feel like a lot of what life has handed me has made me into that kind of person, but above all, I am an understanding person. I told him that that was a valid way to feel and that we should spend some time apart until he could make up his mind. I guess what bothered me is not knowing how he felt, not feeling desired, not feeling like he wanted me as much as I wanted him, and I don’t deserve to feel that way. I don’t think anyone should have to guess how someone feels about them, especially in a potentially romantic
It’s fair to say that I was blinded by what I thought we could become, that I saw a future
with him more vivid than anyone else I have ever talked to, but I also feel like he wasn’t as
committed to the idea of exploring our relationship the way he said he wanted to. This, among
other things, led me to believe that I was more imposing than I intended and so I made the
decision to take a backseat and watch him move. On more than one occasion I let him know that
if he wanted to stop seeing me that I would rather he tell me sooner than later where we’d
probably grow to dislike one another. He is a very special young man and I wish him all the best
and so, when we had that phone call, I told him how I felt, gave him time to say what he felt, a
lot of silence and “I don’t know.” Well, I know.
So, as someone who is stepping into the dating scene, when do you think it’s time to stop seeing
someone? What’s a telltale sign for you that it won’t go anywhere?
You can leave a comment below or hit me up on Twitter @DamianRuff.