I cannot get this thing right. I can’t make it work. It is the thing I crave the most and yet it is the most elusive element in my life.
Oh. I could find any old boyfriend. But I’m kind of picky. That’s one of the reasons there haven’t been many relationships. I’m interested in good men, smart men, funny men, gainfully employed men. The other big reason is men are not romantically attracted to me. And when there’s the slightest hint that a relationship might be growing, I lose my fucking mind and scare him off. I can’t help it. When I feel things, I feel them intensely. So if I’m excited and hopeful, I’m REALLY excited. I can be a lot. And I can be needy. And anxious. And self-conscious. And just too, too much.
Therapists say that people who were sexually molested as young people often are stuck at that age as they attempt to engage in relationships later. Maybe at that age we just turn off our sexual development and maturity to stay in control and feel some kind of safety. I don’t know if that’s true, but the math works for me. I was 14 the last time I was sexually abused and I act about like a 14 year old in budding relationships. I bake cookies. I send text messages with little ❤ hearts. I give handmade Valentines with smiling hearts and x’s and o’s. I’ve never learned to play the games you’re supposed to play. I’m just nice and sweet. I’ve never learned how to keep my mouth shut and keep my feelings to myself. All I know how to do is tell him how I feel and what I think. And that never, ever, ever turns out well.
I’m not really asking for too much, I think. But maybe I ask for too much emotionally. I don’t know. I just want an exclusive boyfriend to hang out with, to go out and do fun stuff with. I want someone who will listen and hear and remember the important things I say. I want a man who can communicate with me. I want a man who can be honest with me. I want a man to be sweet to me and surprise me and make me feel special. I want a man to hold my hand. I want a man to hold me. I want a man to kiss me. I want a man to make love with me. I want a man I can rest with and be myself. I want a man to tell me, “Relax now. Rest here with me. You are enough.”
But instead these are the things I hear and the things I “hear.”
I’m not in the same place you are. (Goddamn, you’re needy!)
It’s not you, it’s me. (It’s you.)
You are awesome! (But you’re not pretty.)
I should be chasing you. (But I’m not.)
Do you know how incredible you are? (But you look like a boy.)
You are a good person. (But you’re not enough.)