Well, shit. I’ve been thinking about men again.
I go for really long periods of time where I almost forget they exist, and dating is the very last thing on my mind, to days of contemplation and reading about the psychology of attraction, dating, intimacy, etc. That’s how I approach any stirring feelings: I want to read about it and study it. Hence, my love for Psychology Today and Scientific American Mind magazines. I’ve learned a LOT this year just from those magazines! Forget Cosmo. You want to get down to the science of how and why things work the way they do? Go for the real information, not the fluffy idiot-fodder.
…you go out there and actual DO SOMETHING and get some real life experience.
Huh. What a novel concept!
Seriously, though. I’ve got a problem. I feel like I’m so far out of practice I don’t know how to recognize signs of attraction from a man, anymore. Sure, I read the articles and I’m not totally experience-ignorant– I do know what those signs are. But do I actually see them in my own life? Hell no! They could be there, but I think I’m one of the last people that would ever put two and two together and realize: “Oh. That guy is flirting with me!”
The concept of “boyfriend” feels so very far away right now. I mean, if I can’t tell when a dude is flirting, how can it even get to the point of a first date… let alone a (gulp) relationship? I have a long way to go before I’m anyone’s girlfriend.
I’m just busy. I am doing things I care about, and I am having my own kind of fun. I like the marathon training, actually. And I like taking care of my house and my pets. Reading, doing some writing… watching movies I want to watch and going out when I want to go out. A relationship would disrupt all of that, to some degree. And that makes me feel “meh.” I can’t believe I used to be the kind of girl who always wanted to have a boyfriend. I didn’t like dating: I liked monogamous, long-term relationships. And for awhile, I tended to jump into rebound relationships, too.
That version of me is really so far gone, I have a hard time trying to viscerally remember how it felt to think that way.
Question: If someone were to ask, “When was the last time you dated?” what would I say? Do I count being married as “dated”? Meaning, would I begin counting my single days from the day I moved out of X’s house and the marriage began to end, or do I need to go back to 2005 when I actually went on dates with him and a couple other guys? I’m not sure how it works.
And then, there is sex. I have no idea, really, why I am so weird about even typing the word. But I am not comfortable with it. I’m pretty sure this is a sad thing, because almost every source tells me that intimacy of the physical variety is one of the great things to enjoy in life, and it is healthy, natural and totally normal. I understand. I logically get it.
In my own life, though, it’s another story. I change the subject. I don’t enjoy when friends start talking about their sex lives… I get uncomfortable and almost feel like a little kid; thinking “Ewww, gross!” sometimes. When I see it in movies, I blush.
Not that I don’t like it. Because, in certain instances, I really do enjoy that kind of thing. Certain instances. But only in some books, some movies. It’s rare when a sex scene makes me stop and think: “Huh. I kind of like that.”
I guess it comes down to not having a lot of great experience with sex in my life. It was something to be ashamed of and totally taboo when I was a teenager. When I made out with S, I was always adamant about us not having actual sex. There was to be no penetration, no matter what. Why? Because I couldn’t risk getting pregnant, or, even worse, having my parents find out what I did. Ugh. Now, S and I were definitely happy, horny little teenagers and we found creative ways to have LOTS of passionate fun, but it was so safe and I was able to put off thinking about “real sex” for a few more years.
And I did. I even told guys on dates that I had no intention of ever sleeping with them. You can imagine how great that tended to go over.
When I finally did lose my virginity, I’m sad to say it was a “oh, why the hell not?” kind of situation grown out of curiosity and strange obligation. Not love. And it wasn’t good. Not bad, but just blah. And it stayed blah. For years and years and years. Anyone I slept with, it was just OK. Regular sex didn’t make me aroused, and I never orgasmed from it. I’m weird. I have other things that make that happen… like talking in a certain tone of voice and kissing the back of my upper arms. I’m serious! That’s my big secret. And dudes don’t always “get” that about me. Even X was perplexed that this was one of the only ways to get me to orgasm, and wanted to find out if there was anything else we could do, etc…
Tiresome. Just…leave me alone. It’s too much effort and energy to try to make anything happen. I just know when it won’t, which has been, sadly, all too often in my adult life.
About 6 months ago, I brought this issue up with my psychiatrist during a routine med check appointment. It made me feel a lot better, finally bringing it out in the open. First, I wanted to find out if he thought my medication could be the cause of my low libido, and then, if he thought this was something that warranted me going to therapy.
The answer was no, and no. “Some people just have low libidos, naturally. The key for you will be finding someone with a similar drive, when you are ready to get out there and date.”
I did feel better after that. I wasn’t a total freak, and I wasn’t a hopeless case. And he didn’t seem to think I had some deeply-rooted issues with sex that needed to be explored, necessarily. He gave me a pass to not worry about it until it ever came up in real life, if it even did.
However, my whole point to writing this post is to say that yes, this is back on my mind again, and I do think I want to explore… the potential…considerations or opportunities… ehhhhh. I’m not sure what I want! I just think that I want some sex, plain and simple. I’m not sure what that means, like if I would just have a one night stand or something (I HIGHLY doubt that) or if I have to start making a real effort to get into the dating frame-of-mind, or what. I just know that the thought of “I’d like to have sex again” has popped into my head recently, and I’m trying to work out what to do about that. The last time I slept with anyone was September 2009. And nothing at all is on the horizon now, so it could be a long while before I break my chastity streak, all things considered.
I told R today that I don’t think I can recognize flirting when it happens to me. I’m pretty certain the chiropractor is flirting with me, which is so odd. He just keeps talking to me longer than he has to, and has started conversations like, “So, did you and your boyfriend do anything this weekend?” and I’ve answered, “Well, no, no boyfriend… but my friends and I did this and that…” That certainly seems flirtatious, right? He’s not creepy, I should note. I’m not uncomfortable by it, so I think it’s OK for now. It’s intriguing and something I am observing with interest. Huh. Could this be flirting? I’m not interested in dating him (not unless he suddenly started quoting some of my favorite dumb movies or talking about the mythology of LOST or something), but it’s a good chance to feel out male behavior in this way, again. Know what I mean? It’s been forever since I have noticed this from anyone at all, so it’s good to finally get a point of reference again. I honestly don’t recall what it feels like to be flirted with.
This is shitty, but I still have the low self-esteem tendency thing in there, after all these years and all the life-lessons about relationships I have learned! Meaning, I think, “Oh, but he could get anyone. Why would he be flirting with me when there are so many thin, gorgeous, successful women around here?” The chiropractor, for instance: He’s a friggin’ doctor. He looks a lot like Aaron Eckhardt. He could get anyone he wants, right? And he is in sports medicine. All kinds of good-looking people come through there. Me, I am 50 pounds overweight, with plain brown hair and I’m clumsy and blurt out stupid things before I can stop myself sometimes. What would possibly make ME a catch in the eyes of someone in his position?
Therefore, in my mind, my primary response to the possible-flirting is, “He’s just friendly. He’s probably nice like that to everyone. Stop thinking it’s about YOU and you are all-that, because you’re really not.” (I know, I know… that is a terrible way to talk to myself! I know better! I really do. I know I am doing this, and I am trying to stop it, I swear.)
I have a lot of work to do, I guess. It sucks. I hate work. 😦
But, on the plus side, now I know what I am bringing onto the battlefield, and exactly where my weaknesses are. So that’s got to count for something at this stage. Now, once I actually see some “action,” per se, and I get to put my best efforts forth, that will be the true test and gauge of how successful I can be, and if my weaknesses are still coming in to play or not.
As one of my good friends said to me recently on Facebook: “Don’t worry. You just haven’t met that stops-you-in-your-tracks guy yet, and when you do? All this cerebral low-self worth stuff won’t mean shit.”
She’s right. Now… I think I am finally beginning to be able to SEE him (whoever he is!) if he does show up. And that’s the first step. Learning to NOTICE GUYS AGAIN. The world has been largely a sexless place for me over the past few years. But news flash to self: It’s NOT. Sex rules so many things, or at least, influences them. It’s just a part of life, and ignoring it is silly.
All this being said, I do think that I have yet to work on a few issues left over from my failed marriage. Trust issues, of course. Being able to believe someone is who he seems to be, and that he won’t turn out to be a controlling, emotionally-abusive creep. I tend to see the need to date as a weakness, oddly enough. Like I have to stoop down to admit I “need a man” in any way. It’s a weird side effect of doing all this stuff for myself for so long now. In the beginning, I also didn’t want X to find out I was dating, oddly enough. I was adamant about him understanding that I wasn’t leaving to be with someone else: I was leaving because I just could not be with HIM anymore. In his case, it really WAS him. He would yell and claim that I was hiding a secret or wanted to date around, back when things were bad, when of course that wasn’t the case whatsoever. (Shows you how well he “knew” me.)
So much ugliness buried there in my past. So many mistakes on my part. So many times my own judgment failed me. What if it fails me again? No way. It can’t happen, that’s what. I refuse to accept failure in that area.
When I was younger, I didn’t think I would be single and childless at this point in my life. Not at all. I wonder if younger me would be disappointed in current me.
Well, either way, I don’t actually care about that, because I really am learning to do what is right for me, right NOW, at all times. I’m not existing to make someone else happy, or fulfill someone else’s expectations. And I am certainly not settling for less-than-great anymore. Been there, done that.
I just have to work on a few things, first, as I mentioned above. Believing that a relationship with a guy can be GOOD and that I can be with someone I am physically and mentally attracted to. It can happen. I see people all around me who found that! Nothing says I can’t find that, too. Nothing except the ugly little negative voice that tells me I’m not good enough, that is. But that’s what I need to work on.
OK, so… now I need a couple of dudes to practice with! Line ’em up.