I'm going to skip over most of the interactions I had with The Virgin to get to the nitty gritty. Where was I....Oh yea...We had these great messages going back and forth and then he started to push for more. More than chatting. More than friends. More. I put the brakes on as per the perfunctory rigamorole of the usual 'oh gee' hemming and hawing in full awarenss of not being ready but not being prudent enough to act any differently.
Then I caved. The Virgin, despite his lack of experience, seemed to be in tune with moi in emotional and intellectual spheres. The only one left to discover was what happens behind closed doors. With a Virgin. Shoulda thought that through a bit more. Everything But seemed like a good idea at the time. *Shakes head*
We started making times to see each other. We got together about a half dozen times IRL. I noticed that the more real interaction we had, the less virtual messages I got. Strange, that. I also noticed that he was witholding emotionally by answering questions with questions and other clever tricks that don't go unnoticed. So I considered initiating those dreaded Talks about what was going on in his headspace. Then I thought, screw it, silence works better. If you want to solve a problem, don't talk about it. No, I'm serious.
If the guy's got a volcano in his tummy, my advice is let him stew in his own juices. So, at that time, I happened to go away on a family trip (perhaps the universe was conspiring against us working out which is fine as I could add another loss to the jar of losses I keep by my bedside for late night existential angst). While I was gone, I didn't bother to contact him. If he couldn't spit it out, I wasn't going to do the work for him. Everyone resents it when their partner starts to offload their problems as if they were incapable of articulating their needs or carrying their emotional baggage. I'm no exception.
It turns out, being my own self-help assignment has the fringe benefit of projecting my problems onto other people. In the absence of communication, I realized he wasn't able to swim in the deep end of the pool. The Virgin was treading water. I figured he got a taste of some real feelings developing and pulled a bottling up routine. If he wanted to keep it to himself, he was welcome to it. I figured I was doing him a favour, "Be cruel to be kind."
Predictably, he noticed I wasn't around and started asking after me. I gave serious consideration to leading a conversation about emotional intimacy. Then realized what I'd known all along that I just didn't have it in me to give. Now was as good a time as any to pull the plug. How screwed up would that be? Me, the self-admitted emotionally unavailable partner taking the helm to discuss the other person's fears and boundaries and all that stuff. Not. Gonna. Happen. My exit strategy was a neat convergence of a hard truth and a soft lie, namely that I wasn't ready for what I wanted.
Let's all say 3 Hail Mary's. Let's mourn another soul lost among the Titanic burden of guilt I carry for guys who fell for me. The tempestous sea overwhelmed the self-assured ship of fools. On that note, "A ship in port is safe but that's not what it's built for." If you were hoping the next voyage aboard the Love Boat was smooth sailing, let's just say the next character I encountered was The Manwhore.