Some words recently came back to haunt me.
I was sharing my recent heartbreak over the ending of my relationship with my young friend, when a friend offered this unsolicited piece of insight: "I think he's only saying what he wants you to hear."
And yet behind those words, I heard, "Don't you realize he's only playing you?"
And that was my initial reaction. After a few weeks, okay months, of reflection, I have come to believe that is what we all do in the majority of our conversations. We say only what we want/believe the others to hear. I teach my students what they need to know for that lesson, only what I want them to hear. I share details with friends about my life, but only what I want them to hear; certain friends get certain details depending on our type of relationship and where it is at the moment.
Which takes me back to my friend; she, too, only told me what she wanted me to hear, as well. Or, perhaps I am projecting. But, what else could she be thinking?
As I have begun to anticipate the possibility, no, the probability of re-entering the gay dating pool at some future point, these very words from my friend came back to reverberate throughout my mind. They became a giant caution sign. Almost a nuclear warning sign. Any guy is only going to tell me what he wants me to hear; all the good stuff. That makes sense, who would lead with his faults? Bad habits? Tell me what he doesn't like about me?
It's the other kinds of comments that make me freeze up and wonder: "You're very sexy", "I always play safe", "I think we'd be good together." It could be he is being sincere. It could be otherwise, only to get what he wants.
It will only take time.
And my gut instinct.