Where do I begin?
Well, I will start with the confession that I had a little relapse on the whole man ban. It started out innocent enough. I will get into the whole ordeal in a minute...
First I want to preface my thoughts with the following:
I can remember being 12 years old - all the other girls having begun puberty and me kind of left in the dust. I can remember standing in the bathroom looking in the mirror and thinking to myself:
What is wrong with me?
Why don’t they like me?
I am funny, smart, pretty.
Why am I not worthy?
Little did I know that I would be asking that question for another 38 years!
What I know now, that I didn’t know then, was that I was worthy and the reason I was not wildly popular with the guys was because I lacked what they valued: Boobs/Butt. I would come to get those things (ok, well maybe I didn’t get a lot of either - but I got them). I was comparing my insides to others outsides and have significantly fucked up my life since then.
It wasn’t that I wasn’t worthy it was just a simple supply and demand issue. I did not have what they were looking for - so they went elsewhere. I would get my turn being much more popular with the guys later. Just not at 12.
As an adult, I can be grateful for those early years because I realize how much I was spared. I have friends that were super popular with the boys back then and it was not the rosy picture I painted in my head.
So what the boys did back then was painful but what I did was worse. I allowed their judgment to become my judgment about myself. I agreed that I lacked worth because of their external assessment. I so wish that I would have had more self esteem. My life might have turned out so much differently.
But here I sit on the very cusp of 50 and am reliving the same old dynamic literally decades later.
Ok, so why the fuck am I talking about this now?
Because it was this particular decision 38 years ago that was the proving ground for situations like last night to occur.
So I violated my own man ban to go out with the attractive man from the networking event. We had a business lunch then he invited me out for drinks on Friday. I decided that since I laid down the gauntlet to the universe about never meeting anyone in the real world, I should go. So I did. Truth: I wanted some excitement. Well, I got it but as usual it didn’t come as I thought it would...
So we went out for drinks. Which led to eating which led to going to hear some music. Which led to going back to his house. No, I did not sleep with him but things did get physical. It was fun. I liked him, not a lot, but was interested in seeing where this might go. He didn’t seem really ready for any kind of a relationship and I was not sure I was ready but I was willing to be open to see what might happen next...
Well what happened next is that he texted me. All day. It was nice. It felt normal. It felt like I think this shit is supposed to feel. Then last night, he texted me to see what my plans were on Monday since it is a holiday. I thought he wanted to see me again. Well, he did. Here is what came next: He wanted to see if I could meet him for a nooner.
I don’t know that I have the words to explain how I felt when I received that text. I was in the middle of my friend’s 50th birthday party. When I saw a text from him, I was happy. Then I read it. In an instant, I felt this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach. I kind of wanted to throw up. I felt like crying.
Now, nooner guy had no idea what my reception of his proposition would be. He doesn’t know my back story. He was likely just riding high on the good time we had the other night and wanted more. All of that is reasonable. All of that is normal. All of that is fine. And perhaps, if I was in a different place, I would have been more receptive to the idea.
What nooner guy did not realize is that I have spent a lifetime trying to navigate the murky dating waters. Always grabbing for what seemed like a life preserver and finding nothing or only a tiny piece of floating material.
I have to own that I have dated in large part for validation. If guys liked me and wanted to go out with me, it was because I was worthy/wanted. I never stopped to think about what I was worthy/wanted for until later.
I will fully admit that I have no idea how to deal with intimacy, friendship, sex and relationships. I feel completely baffled. Lost even. I am almost 50 years old! Am I really still expected to adhere to the old baseball paradigm in my dating encounters? Am I supposed to wait until date number 10 before I allow the physical to move forward? That feels a little nuts given my age and station in life. Sex is sex. Timing is still important. This would be the reason that I didn’t sleep with him. I don’t know him. I am not interested in just gettin laid, I could scratch that particular itch in a fucking heart beat if I wanted to. What I wanted was time to get to know someone and have something normal unfold.
Well, I guess something normal did unfold. I once again got it wrong. He isn’t really interested in getting to know me, he just wants to get laid. I get that. Been there done that myself. But I am no longer there. I can scratch that itch just fine on my own and better than they can most of the time. So, no, one night stands don't do it for me.
What I got so wrong again was this idea that this man was going to find something valuable in me other than sex. It appears that I have been waiting for someone to come along to fulfill that particular void for a very long time.
As much as I write and like to think that I am so fucking evolved, I was humbled last night with his text that I have been falling for this particular shit for decades. I have dated to be liked, valued, wanted, desired. I have allowed sex to be a means of obtaining this validation. What I realized last night was that my behavior is much like someone filling a cup with a hole in the bottom. It can’t ever be filed because the vessel, the container is damaged.
Fuck, I am the goddam cup!
I have been pouring men into my life for years to no fucking avail.
I have been dating for the wrong purpose. Dating to be liked, valued, wanted and desired is pretty commonplace. It isn’t like I am all alone out here with this idea. But I think what I got last night was that I have been behaving in a manner that completely sets me up. Dating is never going to make me feel liked, valued, wanted or desired in the way that I want to feel those things. It can’t because of my issues with sex and intimacy. I have to fix those things first.
I am not sure when sex should be realistically expected in dating. In fact, feel free to comment on this post if you think you have the answer. I am interested in your opinions. But I think what I have just learned in a very painful way is that it doesn’t matter what you or the guy or anyone else thinks. It is what I think. When am I ready for sex to be part of any relationship I might find myself in? I seriously do not think that I have ever fucking thought of this.
My problem is that my body and head have different idea about this. My body is ready for sex to happen date #1. Judge away but I like sex...a lot. It is important to me and there is almost nothing better than caring, intimate, great sex. My head is apparently ready for sex at the unascertainable date #?
Last night, I was initially upset because of his easy communication about how little he valued me as a person. I was just an object to be summoned to his house for a nooner. (Just to be clear, I am completely not against nooners. Just not for the second date). I cannot change and likely had little to do with his beliefs that led him to this conclusory text. But fuck, I sure had a lot to do with my feelings reading it.
I felt cheap and worthless. I felt baffled by how little I meant to him. I felt devastated by my lack of worth. I felt unhinged by being in this place again. I felt disappointed in myself for allowing my mansbatical to be invaded. I felt ashamed of even trying. I felt validated in my lifelong belief that I am only as good as a human being as I am at sex.
It was a rough night. I left the party early and cried in my car. I may be crying now. This huge lifelong issue is being squarely addressed for me. First the guy on the beach and now a valueless date. Ok, universe you ruthless bitch, I get the fucking message. I have to address my own feelings of worth and reparent or reprocess that which I got so totally fucked up at 12. I know that I have more value than my sexual prowess so I guess I am going to have to stop leading with that which feels really fucked up at 50.
For now, I am heartbroken that I feel so broken and totally incapable of relating and being in a relationship. I feel damaged and broken and sad. Really really sad. Not about nooner guy. He is just being a guy. I do not blame him - he was upfront about what he was interested in: sex with no real care or concern for the person on the other side. What is much harder to sit with is that while I have spent a lifetime of blaming men for my circumstances, it has always been me. I have been the one that allowed all of this shit to happen. I am the one that signed up. I am the one that threw myself under the proverbial dating bus for decades. Me not them.
So right now I kinda hate me. I am so fucking pissed at myself for not having my own back AGAIN. I am frustrated by my lack of self support. I am baffled about how to do this deal any differently. So, I will continue doing what I started out to do - spend a year without men. I know I relapsed and should start counting over again. But I am not going to do that. Because the intention was to learn and oh my fucking god, have I learned.