Date Night, Interrupted

My hubs and I went out for date night. We have been trying to find a place to attend bar trivia. We finally found a place. That place was packed! We ended up sitting at the bar. No biggie, I have gotten over my desire not to sit at the bar a while ago. I had an empty seat on my left, and my hubs were sitting on my right.

After a while, this guy comes in with his dog. Fascinating, as this place serves food, and dogs are generally not allowed inside. I overheard some people saying it is a service dog. Mm. There is no service animal vest on this dog to identify it as such.

Lucky me, this guy sits next to me and immediately tells me the following:

  1. Women have done him wrong – 2 ex-wives, etc.
  2. College students think he is their age, and they are interested in him until they find out that he is almost fifty years old.
  3. That he has PTSD and has full disability from the military, “but it’s a pretty good deal.”
  4. He complains about women wanting to pet his dog and not talk to him
  5. Asks me if I know of any women for him to date

Ohhhhhhkaaaaaay. WTF, random guy? I respond with very uninterested, noncommittal stuff.

He continues to talk to me.

I continue to show my lack of interest.

His order of curly fries arrives. He pushes the basket towards me to share with me. I didn’t ask for any of his goddamn fries. I tell him that I have already eaten. And turn back to my husband and our trivia game. Or I try to.

He interrupts our trivia game by looking up the answers to things and showing them to me. He tells me that I can look up the answers for a quiz sheet I have in front of me because he “can tell it’s stressing me out.”

Inside, I am like, “Mothereffer, you don’t know me! Don’t project your shit onto me.”

But of course, I do not say that.

I continue to be very noncommittal.

He continues to talk to me. Finally, he continues interrupting our trivia game and our date night. Until I lean into Mike and whisper, “I don’t want to talk with this guy, and I don’t know what to do. He won’t stop.”

At which point, Mike leans forward and tells the guy that we are playing a game, and him looking up the trivia answers and showing them to me is very frustrating. The guy mumbles something. Mike says that he doesn’t care; he needs to stop.

I sit in between, very uncomfortable because I don’t know what else to do. My brain is frozen. The guy goes silent, eats his fries, but keeps giving me answers to trivia under his breath. I ignore that. I don’t look at him, and I don’t do anything.

I don’t do anything. And this is where I start to look at myself. I looked at my behavior, trying to figure out what, if anything, I was doing to encourage that interaction. I don’t think I was doing anything. There were some things that I did not do, however.

I did not set the boundary that I didn’t want to talk with him. To include but not limited to not caring about his women issues. Or that if I did know any women, I would NEVER introduce him to any of them. I didn’t do any of that.

Before Times Talia would have criticized me, blamed myself for the interaction, blamed myself for not being able to do something. Now, I look at that, and I think, okay, that is an opportunity to figure out boundaries with strangers like that guy. Because really, I was not interested in whatever his deal was, and I need to figure that shit out.

In the car with Mike, I am sharing my thoughts with him. He says to me, well, you do love a good sob story. Wtf, dude? So that whole shit was MY FAULT? I don’t believe for one second that hubs believe that. I think he was uncomfortable confronting that guy too. No one likes confrontation.

As I was researching the projection thing, Narcissists Main Weapon I realized that I still don’t think I have the right to have boundaries. And I definitely don’t think I have the right to put those boundaries in place because of how I grew up, even with strangers.

I mean, holy shit. That is very interesting. And yes, slightly annoying. My issues with boundaries, or lack thereof, are something that I want to work on because I don’t like feeling like I can’t say anything. I was brain locked with this guy who kept trying to pull my attention away from my husband. And that is precisely what he was trying to do.

He saw me, sat down next to me, and tried to pull my attention away from my husband the entire night. Because he needed to have my attention because of whatever was floating around in his brain. I say that also because he was on Tinder the whole night. No doubt looking for the next woman that he could then complain about to a random woman at the bar. For sympathy? Yeah, dude, I have ZERO for you. And for the record, stop talking to me.

Unfortunately, I must have situations like that because part of figuring out how to put those boundaries in place is to rehearse, think about, and know what I will say when that happens. It’s like any training that I have been through. Repetition makes muscle memory so that in situations of duress, that reaction is immediate no matter my brain’s freeze.

I will not let another person attempt to ruin date night with my hubs.

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