This Just Isn’t Working for Me…

“This just isn’t working for me,” may be the most powerful words you can use to end a relationship whether romantic or business.

It has been more than four years since my last significant personal relationship.  Selfishness lead to the end.

I’m man enough to admit that.

Within my hiatus, I allowed myself to descend into a period of complete self destruction through alcoholism and bounce back into being a man I can look at in the mirror and be proud of.

I worked out mentally, physically and spiritually enough to build up my confidence and enter back into the dating world.  

But things had significantly changed since the last time I dated.

Everything had gone digital.

Grindr, Tinder, Bumble, Plenty of Fish, Hinge… those were the few that I signed up for and created a profile on.

Each day I spent a few minutes swiping left or right based on photos and profiles and soon I started matching with potential mates.

But over the course of a year, little more than a few dates or hookups came out of it.  In most cases it never went further than a meaningless exchange of “hey” or “how’s it going.”

Grindr proved to be the most fruitful in the event I was in the mood to be assaulted by an endless stream of dick pics, close ups of an asshole and guys eager to open themselves to anyone with a pulse.

It’s my understanding that regardless of sexual orientation, there are apps available for those solely interested in sex.

And to be completely honest, for a time, that was my sole objection.  

Afterall, it had been three years since becoming single and I wanted to explore my newfound confidence.

But soon that mentality becomes boring and I wanted something more than a quick cum and go.

My search continued, but it’s important to note I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular.  I was open to building relationships of varying degrees with hopefully guys with at least a little bit of depth to their character.

Whatever happened, happened.

Recently, I received an interesting message.

I was sitting in a hotel room in Asheville while on a business trip when a young man slid into my messages.

I took a look at his profile and initially didn’t give him much thought.  He was a cute guy, mixed race.  His profile read like he was someone tired of the normal dating game and wanted to find someone to connect with.  Then I saw that he was 22.

Oh Lord…

I’ve been through my 20’s.  They were a lot of fun, but not something I care to live through again.  I hold my maturity and developed perspective about life very close- ideology only gained through experience.  

How could I have anything in common with anyone so young.  So, I ignored him and moved on.

But this guy was persistent.  “Age is just a number,” he cited.  “I want to treat you like a king.”  I’ll be honest.  I was flattered and a little more than intrigued.  

So, after some pressing he convinced me to take a shot.  And I made a date with him a few days later.

Seems he couldn’t wait, so he came over that night.

And we spent every night together for a week.

There were little things that popped up during our time together that posed red flags that informed me that this could never grow into a serious relationship.  His addiction to his phone, perspective on Covid-19, politics and overall view on how life works.

I attempted to remind myself that I was dealing with a 22-year old and allow some of the arrogance, conceited mentality and naivete go, with an internal chuckle.  Afterall, I was exactly the same when I was his age.

And what the hell.  He was 22 afterall and seemed into me.

But it quickly became glaringly obvious that we were simply in very different places in life and wanted very different things.

This just wasn’t working for me.

And apparently it wasn’t working for him either.

He started pulling away, making endless calls and checking social media relentlessly so it was pretty clear he and I were finally on the same wavelength.

It would not have been fair for either of us to pretend.

It’s never easy to end a relationship, regardless of how short it may be.

But there is empowerment in knowing when it is time to end something and take action to resolve the issue.

And one of the most empowering words you can use is, “this just isn’t working for me.”

I left his apartment, after having said those words, with my head held high and my shoulders pulled back.

I did the right thing for me and I did the right thing for him.

That’s empowerment.

Joshua Abel

The Men’s Empowerment Network 

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