I’m not going to want to marry you.

Or, “You and I will never date.”

Or, “We’ll never be a ‘thing’.”

Or, “We won’t ever be serious.”

Words that never fail to fall upon my ears like long, whispering razors that snake to my bare and beating heart.

Did I ask you to marry me?  To date me, to be a thing?  Have I seemed serious about us???  I thought I was already clear before we ever met that I was not looking for a relationship.

An open woman – one who relies not upon traditional trappings of commitment or even time – is open to all things, not just the few things she actually wants in her life.

There are also uninvited guests in the form of nervous men who think her attitude must be a self-serving [female] plot to entrap him in an unwanted relationship and therefore must be headed off at the pass with a preemptive THIS IS ONLY TEMPORARY I DONT WANT YOU.

I have had countless conversations with these men over the years and struggle to not sound defensive or hurt or some combination of the two, and not because I am either of those things, but how do you respond to someone who says that to you without sounding brittle?

When you’ve learned that after a date or two, possibly a handful, after having had sex that he has already – and unilaterally – decided he must remind you that there is no future together.  That you have not made the cut?

So I say, calmly and with some mirth, “Well of course not.  I don’t want to marry/date/be serious either.”

He* exhales breath he didn’t know he was holding.  “Good, because most women end up falling in love with me.  It’s such a problem.

I laugh, pour him some more wine.  Poor guy.

“You and I lead very different lives, Mr. Man.  You see, when you are kind and decent and the sex is good you have to fight women off; they fall in love and they pursue you with vigor and adoration.  If the sex is good, they think it must be love!  Am I right?”

He emphatically nods and appears relieved that I “get it,” this terrible thing that happens to him because he is a tender, intuitive lover and thoughtfully checks in via text every day despite not wanting a “serious” relationship.

Inside I turn black and pieces of my heart flake off and disintegrate.

“Let me tell you my experience, friend.  When I have great sex with someone and feel a connection I treat him with respect and I want to see him again, naturally, right?”

He nods with complete understanding.

“I make this known to my lover and I am then inevitably seen as one of those women who have fallen in love and must be pushed away.  I can neither pursue a connection nor admit I want one lest I turn into some lovesick idiot who confuses sex with love.”

We sit quietly.  Me uncertain he believes me and he probably thinking I might have the most elaborate trap of all.

I want to deny that I could fall in love, but I no longer bother; it’s absolutely possible that feelings could develop for one of these men because I can both fuck and love* – Sunday to Sunday – but what I can’t seem to do is find anyone who wants to do both with me so I cauterise the flow and keep it discrete.

The only difference between me and one of those “other” women he is so intent on avoiding is that I know in no uncertain terms that when a man says he doesn’t want a relationship he is not worth my energy beyond our tangled limbs and his fat, hot meat deep inside my body.

If he doesn’t see a future with me, then neither will I.

Troy seemed to like to tell me all the reasons why he would never date me, then The Neighbor felt similarly inclined.  Never mind I didn’t want to date either of them – Troy was an asshole and TN made it clear he wasn’t into me – yet they each felt it necessary to ward me off, to draw an X between us, a Protego totalum spell against me.  Fuckers.

I broke up with TN 4 separate times based on his heartless prophecy and yet the bastard just wouldn’t leave me alone.  I allowed him to lead me into a relationship he ultimately never wanted and then one cold January day in 2015 he abruptly left me.  The lies he’d lived having crushed us both to smithereens, me to oblivion.

I will never do that again.

If he says he doesn’t want me I believe him.  I heard his sultry voice, I saw the white teeth which shone while the words flowed out of his smile.  Our knees touched on my couch, wine in hands.  He had come over just to hang out and see me.  Sex wasn’t expected, just talk.  He likes me, after all.

But not that much, Hy.  Don’t be a silly girl and fall in love.  He only wants your pussy, your energy, your you.

Well, I only want his* submission.  And I only want his dick.  Two can play at that game, gentlemen, but don’t cry to me about all the women who fall in love with you.  They’re more human than me, they’re normal people with hopes and warm, beating hearts.  They’re lovely and pure and you’re ruining them with your fantastic expectations of connection without any commitment and feelings.  How lazy and entitled can you be?  Shall we love ourselves for you, too?

I don’t love hearing the words they insist on sharing – it makes me feel sideways and miscategorized – but I appreciate the insight because now I know what to do with him.

In the past I was hopeful that he might be wrong about his feelings about me.  He’d wake up one day with me nestled in his nook, our evening sex perfuming the room and another long lazy weekend planned ahead and realize he was in love despite his best efforts to avoid it because I am just that lovable.

Today I know that’s Hollywood bullshit written by writers whose love lives were arrested while reading either romance or fantasy novels due to their bad acne, overbite, and social anxiety.  The little guy always wins!  Except that is truly fiction.

I believe him now, these men.  He sees nothing with me other than the next hot sexual encounter.  I believe him.

But don’t worry about me.  He is safely sorted in the Do Not Pursue file, to be then neatly refiled into the one called Do Not Maintain.  Should I feel a glimmer of feeling – even the slightest flicker of affection – he will be moved to the Must Remove From Life folder immediately.

And I must admit that satisfaction rolled through me like a drug as those very words spilled out of my smile to land on his ears, wine in hands.

*”He” and “his” is not one man, but many.

**A timely tweet by one of my wives, Girl on the Net, a few days after my smile landed on his ears.