I had just seen the movie Across the Universe about an English guy who falls in love with an American girl. It brought back all my memories of visiting England when I was 18. That night, logged onto Match.com, I was still on a nostalgia high from the movie. I wondered if they have Match in England. They do! A lot of the guys were gorgeous, but they were saying the same things American men say. I was a little disappointed. Then I came across a guy whose bio said he’d lived in San Diego for over a year and that he wanted to come back to live here someday. No way! What are the odds?
We start emailing, and we clicked. The emails became an everyday thing. Then we started talking on the phone every day — before I knew it, I was having this overseas romance that I could never have imagined. We started to make plans; he wanted to come to San Diego to live with me. We seemed to have everything in common, and time just stood still when we talked. The things he said to me over the next three months blew my mind. It was as if everything I ever wanted in a man was being presented to me in one neat package.
I fell hard, complete la-la land. No one could believe it. I had all the girls in my office immersed in this love drama that was now my life. They all wanted to read his emails and couldn’t believe how open and amazing he was — not to mention good looking. We were all sure that this was fate. I see now that we were hopeless romantics, making up a lot of stuff in our heads instead of reading between the lines of the amazing emails.
The date was set, the tickets were purchased. I was beside myself. I couldn’t sleep, only daydream of our first meeting with a mixture of excitement and, really, almost overwhelming fear. I couldn’t help but think thoughts like, “What if he doesn’t show up?” or, even worse, “What if he doesn’t like me when he finally meets me?” Things started to seem strange when we talked on the phone — the reality of this situation was beginning to sink in.
Friday arrived, and I had put myself into a state of acceptance for whatever the outcome. A friend of mine from work volunteered to be with me the whole day for moral support. Since he had lived in Ocean Beach, and I had a roommate in University Heights, I rented a room at the Ocean Beach Hotel and left my stuff there. My friend and I shopped for the perfect outfit for me to wear, and then we started my preparation. As we got closer and closer to the arrival time, I decided I needed a drink to take the edge off. We went to a bar on Newport.
Before I go any further, let me tell you a little more about Dean. His profile said that he had just returned from traveling around the world for three years. I asked him how he was able to afford this. He said that he would travel to a country, work while he was there, and then move on. Basically, he was a nomad. I thought this was great. I’m always attracted to this type of man: the nonconformist, the artist, the guy I guess I secretly wish I was like but am not. I plan everything, I’m organized, I have a secure job with a 401(k), but inside of me lives an artist, and I know this is why I am drawn to this type of man.
We arrived at the airport. It was packed, and I didn’t see him. My friend and I just started laughing — this was the strangest experience ever. We walked up and down the terminal, and then I saw this guy with curly blond hair. My friend asked, “Is that him?” I said, “Yes,” very quietly. She took my purse and sort of pushed me, “Go.” I slowly walked over; he turned around. “Dean?” “Heather?” We hugged. After the hug I was fine. I felt at ease.
We went to the hotel room. He showered, and I sat and waited, on cloud nine. We had sex, and it was pretty good. A little awkward, but overall it was good. He wasn’t really passionate; in fact he was kind of aggressive, but I went with the moment. We got some food and brought it back to the room and then had sex again. He fell asleep pretty early. I was starting to realize that he wasn’t very verbal. I wasn’t getting “You’re beautiful” or “I’m so glad to be with you, finally” like I had imagined. I lay awake next to him most of the night.
Saturday morning arrived, and I could feel him shut himself off the moment we woke up. We lay in that bed and watched TV from ten in the morning until ten that night! I knew it was over. It was torture trying to get him to talk to me. I asked him if he was happy to be here. “Of course,” he said. I knew that he was freaking out; it was so apparent.
Sunday rolled around, and he said that he wanted to go see a friend of his in O.B. I was happy to have a breather from the situation. He was gone most of the day. Monday morning was weird — we talked a little, and then he started to look upset and said he needed to go take a walk to think. He left, and there I was, alone in that hotel room, and I started to get angry. I packed up my stuff and decided, “This is it, I have to leave, this is not going to get any better.” I started smoking my brains out, trying to figure out what the hell had happened here. I started to call a cab, then I thought, “No, I deserve a damn explanation.”
I waited. I sat on the balcony at the end of the hotel and stared at the ocean, freezing and smoking. Just as I decided I couldn’t take it anymore, he returned. He started fumbling around with my iPod and tried to make small talk. I could tell that he was nervous. He finally came over and sat beside me on the bed and said that he felt that he wasn’t ready to commit to someone, that he’s been traveling for the past three years and doesn’t think he can stay in one place. He knows that it sounds cliché, but it’s him, not me. He thinks that I’m an amazing person, and he respects me, but he’s used to taking care of just himself, and maybe he’s just meant to be alone.
Lame! I asked, “Did you not know this about yourself before you decided to fly halfway around the world to meet me?” I didn’t want to show him how much he was hurting me, and I definitely didn’t want him to see me cry, so after giving him a little speech I called a cab. He pulled me over to him and hugged me around the waist, his head buried in my stomach, for what seemed like forever. I realized that he was a broken and confused guy with no idea what he was doing in his life. I had fallen hook, line, and sinker into this fantasy, and so had he. The difference between us is that I had the ability to try to make it real, and he did not.
Tell us the story of your breakup and/or date from hell and we will publish it and pay you ($100 for 500-2000 words).
E-mail story to
Or mail to:
San Diego Reader/Dumped
San Diego, CA 92186