In spite of my great desire for intimacy, I’ve always been a loner. Perhaps when the longing for connection is as strong as it is in me, when the desire is for something so deep and true, one knows better than to try. One sees that this is not the place for that.
— from Never Change, by Elizabeth Berg
I can’t write when I’m sad. Not here, anyway. I always want to, but then I realize I’m confusing my blog with my journal, and I think this shouldn’t be the first place I dump all the craziness. Part of me thinks I should get it out first, then edit it before it gets here. But doing that also feels inauthentic to me, like I’m holding something back from you guys, so you get posts like Memory Lane, Part 2. And then . . . I feel weird having shared so much, especially when it’s stuff that could change people’s opinions of me, or things that make me feel bad about myself so I assume you’ll think poorly of me, too. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s a fine line, and I haven’t yet perfected the walk.
I promise that you really do not want the details on what set me off this time. Your eye sockets could not take all the eyerolling that would ensue if I told you about my astounding ability to take one small thing (or even several small things) and blow up its significance to gargantuan proportions. Suffice it to say that, as usual, I was wrong about a boy. Maybe I won’t always be wrong about him, but for the moment, I am. My real problem is that I live in my head, where things happen the way they do in movies, instead of in the real world where men, no matter how much they like you when they meet you, sometimes already have girlfriends (or wives, apparently) to whom they are (and should be) faithful.
I don’t know anyone else who, when she hears “I have a girlfriend” from someone she feels connected to, also hears “And I want you to win me away from her,” who understands it as a challenge. That is not normal, it’s not fair to him, and it’s wildly unhealthy for me. Years ago, a friend of mine had an affair with a guy who was engaged, and I clearly remember asking her, “Why don’t you think you deserve a guy who only wants to be with you?” And yet, here I am: Karen asked me the same thing today.
I think the answer isn’t that I don’t believe I deserve it, it’s that this way is safer. This way, I don’t actually have to put myself on the line like I would if he was single and possibly interested. I don’t have to do any of the real, hard work that’s part of a relationship, I just have to be charming and pretty and funny for a couple hours at a time. And I get to be all of that in a totally non-threatening environment because I know he’s unavailable.
It’s never worked, of course, and I eventually get over the crush and am able to be just friends with the guy, which is great. But, I wish I could stop having to go through all of this crap to get to that point. I know someone out there is saying, “So just stop doing it,” but I don’t think it’s that simple for me. I must get something out of it, otherwise I wouldn’t do it, but I can’t figure out what it is. Maybe it’s a safe fantasy of a relationship, like playing house, or maybe it’s how good it feels to see him respond – because he does (everyone flirts, and everyone likes to be paid attention to), even if he doesn’t act on it.
Or maybe it’s just temporary balm for the deep loneliness that took up residence inside me a long time ago, and which now feels so huge that I think maybe nothing can ever fill it, so there’s no sense trying with someone who, although he might like me back and be available, will probably not have the fortitude to love someone as fundamentally flawed and needy and mad as I am.