Real stories about dating and relationships in New York City. Truth is more interesting than fiction.

Long Distance and Lies

Today seems to be the day for long stories.  I decided I wanted to keep this one as a whole, rather than split it into Parts 1 and 2, so it is a little longer than your average blogpost. (Dear readers, every Sunday I will be featuring stories written by guest male bloggers.  To see the collection of them, click on where it says, “A Guy’s Story” above the title.)

This is Pipeline’s story:

Linda and I had quite a romance for a while, but moving to Chicago meant it was over. No regrets, we had a great time.

The sexiest thing about Linda was her brain. Smart and witty – too often people have wit without substance, Linda had both.

University of Chicago promised intellectual stimulation – it didn’t disappoint.

Linda became a distant memory – a pleasant one from the sunny climate of Stanford. The gray days of Chicago were filled with the rigor of work, and less dating. It didn’t bother me too much, until an unexpected email from Linda.

I didn’t want a long-distance relationship, but then she stunned me.  She was applying to law school at Chicago and invited me to come visit her.

Not an easy time to get away for me. My lab experiments were at a critical stage – things were coming together, and many labs were racing to be the first with the gene splicing.  While there were many giants in the field working on the same project, I could out work them – sleep wasn’t needed, but time was.

You always think when you see a companion that they understand your work. Play is important, relationships are important – your life’s work is important. All have their place. This was my time to work. And while the glass of sherry with my friends in other fields provided some relief from 18-hour days in the lab – there was only time for texts, phone calls, emails, and apologies for not being able to visit.

The work paid off — two months of hard work, a bit of luck – and now to get the paper out before my colleagues in the world published it first.  I had a slight advantage – it could be published quickly in a journal where my good friend was an editor. But all the photos, all the proof, everything had to be perfect.  Photo perfect for the journal, along with all original notes.

The texts continued with Linda.  My good friend was one of the law professors, and I asked him to look at her application.  Linda was an easy admission, he told me — she had a great record at Stanford, was published, and aced the law school admissions. He assured me that her admission wouldn’t require any intervention.

Now I was excited. It had been a couple of months since she invited me. While my messages and emails had decreased a bit, they were, I thought, of more substance. She appreciated the work we were doing — sure it was obscure, but she got it.

The paper was accepted. Galley proofs to be reviewed – damn, they made a mistake, had to correct it, had to provide some more back up material, had to run a few more experiments. Sorry, Linda, can’t make it yet – but soon.

One late night an economic professor and I were enjoying a glass of Sherry with students. We didn’t understand each other’s work. He knew about Linda, and he asked when I was going to visit. I had forgotten. He looked at me. Yes, it had been several months, but she was coming to Chicago for law school, and this project was finished.

“You don’t understand women, my friend. I fear she feels left out.”

I denied that. She knows intellect.  She knows work. At Stanford we frequently had things that kept us apart while each worked.

It bothered me. I sent her a text. I was coming, I had a free weekend, and while the tickets were a bit pricey – I wanted to see her.

The lukewarm response bothered me. I sent flowers – and even her mom sent me a text telling me how beautiful the roses were – two dozen, pink and yellow.

The long trip from Chicago to San Francisco was made easier by re-reading her letters. I think she might be the one. Oh, for a good weekend in the city I loved.

She met me at the airport – the hug seemed off, but it had been a while. The conversation seemed strained – but it had been a while.  A lot of catching up to do. Don’t push it, it will all come together.

Off to the beach, I said. Walking on the beach – should help spark this again.

Holding hands and walking barefoot in the sand seemed strange. It didn’t spark anything.  She asked about my project. I blathered on and on about gene splicing, and how while it was small to the world, in my world it was important.

To lunch – a place I knew well. The wait staff remembered me. They gathered around me like I was a long lost family. I felt relaxed. Started telling jokes and stories- finally things seemed to be warming.

Then, she looked me in the eyes.

“I can offer you my friendship.”

I felt the stab. My throat was dry. My smile melted from my face. I had to ask.

“Someone else?”

“Yes.”

I wanted to ask why I was there. But, it didn’t matter.

I don’t recall what she said as she offered some explanation.  I didn’t feel I needed to apologize for my work.  It didn’t matter. I knew it.

I excused myself to go to the bathroom.  The bathroom is next to the kitchen, that isn’t seen from the restaurant. I walked into the kitchen.

Alfredo stopped me. “What is it my friend? You look shaken.”

I told him I was just dumped, and I was leaving.

He showed me the back door, gave me the keys to his car, and said he would give the check to “the laaaady.” He said to bring the car back by the end of his shift in a few hours.

I walked out never to see or hear from her again.


Tags: ,

14 to “Long Distance and Lies”


  1. sfsingleguy says:

    Wow, that’s a shocker ending. Alfredo sounds like a great guy for helping you out.

  2. Teifion says:

    That is a shocking ending and really nice of Alfredo to help him like that!

  3. Kelli Lawless says:

    Ouch. So sorry to hear the way this one fell out since I must have really hit you hard…(Too bad she didn’t just let you know before you came out to see her!)

    I was just talking about this subject with a guy friend of mine yesterday and he was saying how so many guys don’t get the gardening aspect of a relationship. You know… watering, sun, tending, nurturing and yes, even fertilizing. That women don’t grow more in love when they are ignored and something that may have been growing beautifully, if left neglected, starts to wither and die.

    I think to some extent that’s true… added to the unfortunate possibility that you’ve had men go before you in the dating world who lost interest and let it “die a natural death” (meaning lots of excuses, drifting apart in communication and eventual non-contact… )so, many girls see that happening and it triggers the “uh oh, we’ve got a fizzle happening” response.

    As for your friend Alfredo… he’s a keeper. *grin*

  4. Devon aka Dru says:

    Um, am I the only one who finds that way of leaving to be a bit chicken shit? Yes, Alfredo is awesome and being dumped hurts like hell, I think we all agree on that, but just leaving a chick hanging like that in the middle of a restaurant seems just a bit wrong to me. I’m not defending Linda because I think she should have been straight with Pipeline before he flew out to see her, but I hope that if Pipeline has faced rejection since then that he has been able to handle it a little more gracefully.

  5. sparklytosingle says:

    Yup, I’m with Devon. I’d be appalled if a guy reacted that way, what a coward. Linda shouldn’t have let him fly out to visit her – she should have told him beforehand that she was seeing someone else, but really, how can he be so devastated that she didn’t wait around for him while he ignored her for months? Yes, there was work to do, but to be unable to find any time for other other than texts for months on end is unacceptable. He managed to find time to drink with his colleagues, so he could have found time to phone her for an hour here and there too.

  6. aGirlNamedMe says:

    Before I got to the end of the story, my thoughts were mostly, “What a geek…he just doesn’t get it.” Not in a mean way … but in funny the way that a geek wouldn’t get it. (I love geeks, JeffyD is a geek. It’s hot . . . but there are some things.)

    The ending is shocking. Yes, she should not have had him fly out. But still. But still.

  7. Pipeline says:

    Yup, I was a geek – am a geek. And, yes, I could have had a more graceful exit. Although now- well, it seemed to be a small price to pay for going out there. The relationship was over, no need to have a warm autopsy over desert. I was hurt, mad, and thought through the email, texts, and letters things were fine. Yes, there were phone calls – and yes there were flowers, and chocolate and gifts.

    It did make a profound change in my life – I left research. The paper was published, hailed as something great in the world of science, and now it doesn’t matter.

    Chicago to San Francisco – $1800 round trip. Leaving Linda at the table- priceless

  8. Tokyo Cowgirl says:

    Pipeline, you don’t sound apologetic for your BS exit at all. While I understand that you were hurt and felt a bit like you had just been given a very expensive slap in the face, do you think perhaps you ignored the signals, misreading ambiguity in your favor?

    Yes, she should have been more forthright but that certainly doesn’t excuse your leaving her there, high and dry and with a bill, while you made your sad little thief-like exit through the back door. You could have accepted defeat with a little dignity and maturity, instead all you did was whine about how expensive the ticket was and make sure she knew unequivocally that regardless of whether she was single or if she was with someone else, she was waaaaaay better off than she would have been if she had ended up with you.

  9. aGirlNamedMe says:

    Clearly, I have too much time on my hands tonight since I’m still pondering on this.

    I can really understand his actions. The humiliation of it all. Who hasn’t made a split-second decision to do something that other people would criticize later?

    We all have those kinds of life stories. We usually choose not to publish them.

  10. sfsingleguy says:

    I have been in a similar situation to this. I wish that I had the sense at the time to walk out and not look back. Instead, I stuck around and wasted a couple years of my life with someone I knew it wouldn’t work out with.

  11. dazediva says:

    Ouch that must have been a bummer for you Pipeline. Linda should have had intimated you about not coming down.

    Leaving via the back door wasn’t the nicest thing you could have done – and hopefully you don’t make a habit of it – however given the situation – I can understand where you’re coming from.

    Being a female and the kind of responses you were giving out to her; also doesn’t leave much room for her to still be holding a candle for you. That doesn’t mean she shouldn’t have been upfront about her feelings and how they might have changed. It would have saved you the flight money !

  12. SINgleGIRL says:

    I think AGirlNamedMe came closest to my feelings on this. It’s sad that he didn’t see, before the trip, that he wasn’t putting the effort he needed into the relationship to sustain it. And it’s really sad that she couldn’t be honest with him and save him the trip. That wasn’t nice. And it wasn’t nice that he ran out the back. But then we’ve all behaved in ‘not nice’ ways towards the people we care about. We just don’t share out most humiliating experiences (well, you don’t – I do).

    That’s one of the reasons why I have this blog and that’s why I have these Sunday guest bloggers. Because human beings do really dumbass things, sometimes. It makes me feel less lonely when I read other peoples story’s and think, wow, that’s messed up. I’m not the only one.

  13. iamalejandra says:

    Give the guy a break!! He was working in extremely important research for his career and she KNEW that. She made him come out to visit her and she was deceiptful.
    I know for a fact that I have done a couple of dumb things when I’ve been hurt and it’s not about lack of dignity or being a coward, it’s about just being a human being and we cannot be expected to act properly 100% of the time.
    Come on, what was he supossed to do after receiving those kinds of news, offer to pay for her dinner? I don’t think so.

  14. Pipelines says:

    Interesting to see the perspective that people have about the situation – where they are coming from and the conclusions that were drawn. I suspect each experience takes one to a different place as to the situation. The beauty of a blog – you see it from your vantage point. Sometimes movies are done in this manner– you see the plot from different characters view points.
    For some, I wonder – how did they come to that conclusion – so I go back and pick through and see how they came to it.
    For others, I can see immediately the point, and the issue -
    The point is not what happened and who was right or wrong, or how things were done- the point is that it is a story, a true one – but a story for you about an event — of which you have a small bit of information, and from which you make a conclusion.
    There are a lot of stories from the men’s side in the dating world. You can conclude one way or the other – the real issue is how you conclude that, and why. But that is for you to discover.
    More stories to come, I am sure- will keep them a bit shorter.