Extinguishing an Old Flame For Good [Diary of the Undateable]

New York City’s population boasts over 8.337 million. Out of all those people, 47.5 percent are men. And 50 percent of New Yorkers are unmarried. Mathematics has never been my strong suit, but this basically means that there are a plethora of available cuties in this city from Midwood to Midtown. You’d think that in a populous place like New York, familiar faces would be few and far in between. But there are six degrees of separation between every New Yorker, and three between every online dater.

I reactivated my Plenty of Fish account during the holiday season just for the heck of it. I only intended on keeping it open for a day before deleting it for good. I was swiping through guys on the “Meet Me” feature (it’s just like Tinder) when I was matched with someone who I’d met already, many times and many moons ago. Carlos. The Haitian in Harlem who broke my heart. It’d been about two years since we last talked – we were supposed to meet up for drinks when I was home for break, and he essentially stood me up.

“You know, you’re a really bad friend,” he messaged me. “I know I can be an asshole but you? Smh.”

We went back and forth about how and why things ended before I laid it all out as honestly as I could. “You really did break my heart,” I told him. “You acted like you liked me when you knew I liked you and just wanted to play games the whole time. It took me a really long time to get over you.”

Surprisingly, Carlos apologized from “the bottom of [his] heart.” He said that he never meant to hurt me and that his feelings were genuine. Even though it took years for him to say sorry, it was really nice to hear.

“I might need help with school,” he mentioned. So I told him to just text me. He said he got a new phone, so I told him to give me his number.

“Do you have Kik or BBM? Actually, just give me your number,” he replied. Huh?

Why couldn’t he just give me his? Wasn’t HE the one who needed me? We went back and forth for a few minutes until he gave up, exasperated. “You’ve changed,” he noted. “You’re really difficult now.”

“I’m not difficult. I’m the same girl from two years ago. Just smarter.”

Finally, he stopped messaging me and went back to where he belonged…the past.

Initially, I had some regret about not giving him my number. But that speaks to my insecurity. If I let him in again, I’d get thrown into the same pattern as two years ago – me waiting for his sporadic, short texts all the time, second-guessing myself and basically doing all the legwork in our situationship. He never made an effort for us to be an us and clearly wasn’t going to now – I mean, he wouldn’t even let me text him! Giving him my number would’ve given him all the power once again, and I just couldn’t do it. I spent way too much time getting over him. One text from him would’ve unraveled everything.

This year, I’ve developed a simple ideology when it comes to these guys. Men – not boys – go after what they want. If they like you, or are even remotely interested, they WILL get you…or at least try. That means consistent communication – including phone calls. That means making dates and actually keeping them. That means doing more than just texting about it, but being about it. Carlos was right. I have changed. I still do some pretty stupid stuff in terms of dating, but I’m learning. And I’m trying.

When she’s not watching for Blue Ivy sightings or doing some serious Facebook creeping, Khalea, a recent Howard University graduate, moonlights as a magazine intern and a freelancer in New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @letsbeKHAlear, or feel free to Twatch. Whatever works for you.

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