Thursday, March 27, 2008

Too much like me

SN messaged me on an online dating site a long while back. (No cutting nickname -- he hasn't earned it.) We IMed but it didn't seem to go anywhere. Tonight he messaged me again, out of the blue. After exchanging pleasantries and telling me he's moved to New Jersey from Brooklyn, he asked:

SN: what do you plan to do after graduation
Ayelet: hoping to get a job
SN: good luck
A: thanks
SN: do you know in what area you'd like to focus
A: preferably adults with dual diagnoses or severe and persistent mental illness
SN: ouch
SN: why not child social work or family work, something light?
A: working with children is too hard
SN: really?
A: and why shouldn't I do something rigorous?
A: because I'm a girl?
SN: i worked with kids for a while part-time at night; it's tough
SN: no, it has nothing to do with rigor or gender, it has everything to do with risk
A: risk can be assessed
SN: ur brave
A: or foolhardy ;)
SN: i worked in the adult inpatient unit in college tough work
A: I'm pretty tough
SN: i'm a push over
SN: do u think that would be a match?

Not a surprising question; I assumed he had changed his mind, since he was re-contacting me.

A: an assertive woman and a gentle guy?
A: could work
A: but I seem to remember you didn't think we were a match
SN: it didn't work for me last year
A: what has changed?
SN: i'm not sure. i remember our correspondence do u?
A: not really
SN: well, i had some hesitations about my eligibility

As in, no longer an eligible bachelor?

SN: don't worry i'm still single
A: your eligibility?
SN: well, in addition to working in the field, i also have my time on the other side of the couch

Ah. That could be a problem.

A: what were u treated for?
SN: depression
A: that's tough to live with

I should know.

SN: i think it's only fair for me to be upfront
A: I agree

All mental illness has both a genetic and an environmental component. If he and I created children together, they'd be at a much higher risk for experiencing depression -- especially if he has a family history of the disorder.

A: does anyone else in your family have the disorder?
SN: thanks for asking
A: ?
SN: brother did as a teen
A: did you guys have a difficult childhood?

Trying to tease out the various contributing factors. Two siblings who have the same illness could have inherited it from their parents in their DNA, or developed it by living in the same dysfunctional environment.

SN: tough question...
A: yeah, IM isn't well-suited to a clinical interview
SN: lol
A: is that one of the reasons you exercise so assiduously?

In his profile, he lists "exercising at gym 4-5 days per week" as one of his interests. Although he looks kind of pudgy in his photos. (Not that I should talk, but I don't claim to be a gym rat.)

SN: i don't anymore actually
A: aha
SN: i wrote that last fall, and have tapered it back being that i've been feeling well
A: ok
SN: i should get going in 10 minutes b/c the coffee shop closes then
A: wow, Jersey's pretty tame
SN: nice and quiet suburbia
A: bo-ring
SN: i like being near the city but being able to visit more than live there
A: gotcha
SN: pause...

Don't pause. I don't want to make a move.

SN: i like the parks and hiking trails by me, plus the lakes and rivers
SN: i can't wait for the outdoor and water sports to start up again
A: it's funny -- when I'm in the great outdoors, I like it, but when I'm not , I don't miss it
SN: so they're sweeping up the floors here
A: u better bounce

I'm not good at playing dumb.

SN: if you'd like to IM more on sunday, i'd like that--
A: sorry, busy all day Sunday

Actually true. I've got two dates and a towering heap of homework. But it would be unkind to leave him hanging. Still, I don't want to tell him my whole life story....

A: and also, I've been treated for an episode of clinical depression
A: so it would be pretty irresponsible for me to get involved with you
SN: i understand
A: hatzlacha
SN: i wish you all the best and it was nice chatting with you
A: ditto
*** SN's IM window is closed

Sigh. It would be nice if the men who contacted me online didn't share my diagnosis. I can't have children with someone who's too much like me, and with my mental health history, I don't know if I'd be able to adopt.

But it's good to know that SN is resilient.

*** SN's IM window is open
SN: hi sarah
A: ?
*** SN's IM window is closed

See? He's already moved on ;)
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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