If you ever played the game “Hide and Seek” when you were little, you’ll remember the idea of the “safe” object. This was the object that at the end of the game you returned to (or ran as fast as you could to) in order to win your turn. If no one caught you before you reached the safe object, then you could call SAFE! and no one could touch you anymore.
When I was a little girl, my favorite part of the game was the hiding part. I was always really good at it, and hardly anyone ever found me. I was small, flexible and could stay quiet for hours. I used this game sometimes as a way to retreat from the world and have some private time, where I would get lost in my own imagination. My least favorite part was when someone would find out my hiding spot and I would have to run away from them to the safe spot. I just wasn’t that good at running away from them and I barely ever made it to the safe spot before I lost the game.
As an adult, the Hide and Seek game I play is no different than when I was little, and I often find myself playing a version of the game when it comes to dating. Instead of being triggered by a number countdown, it’s triggered by 5 – he ignored me; 4 – he slept with me; 3 – he rejected me; 2 – he was a jerk to me; 1 – he moved on…and now I’m in my hiding spot, tucked away so tight no one could ever find me.
And so now I’m here. No one has been able to touch my hiding place for months. Instead of my voluntary stint of abstinence I undertook this time last year, I am now in an involuntary stint of not only abstinence but complete retreat from any kind of dating or interaction with men on a romantic level whatsoever. Guys can feel this retreat and back the f**ck away. It is like being around a bitter, man-hating lesbian = no inkling of interest at all.
It’s been interesting in my hiding place. I’ve realized the countdown to my retreat went more like this: 5 – he never had any interest in me at all except for when I threw myself at him and so he slept with me (4), he told me it could never happen again because he didn’t like me that way (3 & 2), and he moved on because he is actually interested in someone else. Phew…that is hard to accept and admit. But in my hiding spot, it’s safe because no one else can find me.
And then one day, someone finds me. I squeal and retract like an earthworm being exposed to the daylight, and he is just standing there. I stay in my spot, frozen, I want nothing more than to stay in here forever. But now that he’s opened the door, I cannot. I have to run. Run as fast as I can to the safe spot or he will catch me.
Now my heart is racing and I’m not exactly sure which direction to run…I don’t know where the safe spot is from here, but there is nothing else I can do, I cannot let him catch me. No matter how much I pull away from him, he still wants to date me, he is still interested and I cannot figure out why. I reluctantly start to emerge…