“Oh, no, not that old ugly boy again!”

Lookie what we have here – a bonus post! Part of my new healthier approach to life is choosing to write my feelings instead of eat them.

The above quote is courtesy of my youngest sister, who spoke those words when one of my high school boyfriends came to pick me up from the house. She was only four, but I was still mortified; at sixteen, you don’t always have the zen to laugh off the outrageous outbursts of young children.

I have more presence of mind now when it comes to kids, but not yet when it comes to men. Early on, I began substituting sex for love and hoping that it might magically yield love as a side effect; and despite that never working even once, I clung to that pattern until it went from being second nature to first nature. Lately, I’ve doubled down on the disappointment and started choosing as my romantic attachments men who aren’t even interested in the sex part. Maybe my real turn-on is emotional masochism.

Long ago, I chose a boy who set my loins on fire over a boy who loved me. I’ve never stopped regretting that decision: how I hurt that nice, sweet boy, and the good relationship I gave up in exchange for a really crappy one. My therapist says I keep re-enacting that choice, trying to make it work out so that being with someone who’s bad for me will end up bringing me the love I truly wanted. My relationship history is the living definition of insanity … ergo, all the therapy. (And seriously, even therapy discussions that aren’t about my love life end up coming back to my love life. It’s pathological.)

The last year has been a lot about trying to separate myself from these destructive attachments. I’ve slowly gotten better at stepping back before I fling myself over the cliff – but only just. And even as I learn how to stop attaching myself to bad relationships, I despair of ever finding one again that’s good. It feels like the best I can ask for is that I stop wanting romantic companionship at all.

That’s so depressing. I’m 40; I’m not dead. I have a treasure trove of love and passion inside me, and no small reserve of skill. I’d really like to share them with someone who will appreciate their full value. Why is that so darn hard?


(Sidebar: how is it that I’ve never created the category Love Life for this blog until right now? That makes no sense to me.)