Much more succinct than my version…
This is a post about my past, much of it written long ago. Not to dwell on it, but to expunge it from my head. I am not in this place mentally anymore. I’m actively choosing a reset and finding happiness.
Because the thunderstorm was about to commence, she decided to bring inside the two plastic oval feeders that jutted off the balcony. Instead of placing them on the floor, she put them on the stove. She was drinking, of course, a ritual that started as soon as she came home from work. A routine might have given her sanity, but it erased her ability to live a normal life. Many mornings, she woke up very early and started drinking. “It’s just beer,” she’d say, drinking all day and night.
Much later, I got tired and wanted to lay down. She was in her energetic yet lethargic music mode, cycling through a good yet repetitive list of music from her past. She often spent hours blasting music at high volume. While I loved and enjoyed much of the music, she irritatedly refused to let me pick music almost all the time. She would withdraw into herself as I sat there next to her immobile and waiting for her to engage me. Much less give me affection or attention. She often danced to highly sexualized dances while she listened to music that way. If I tried to touch her or respond appropriately, she would push me away and say, “beep beep.” Later I deliberately practiced asking. The answer was no every time I tried.
At some point, I felt her lay down next to me. As she stumbled up out of the bed, I opened my eyes and for some reason had a little trouble breathing. Light filtered through from wall plugins and light in the bedroom or kitchen. I couldn’t clear my eyes because everything looked cloudy. As she entered the kitchen I heard a strange piercing scream. I literally jumped from the bed, coughing a little. I ran into the kitchen to see her standing in front of the stove. Thick smoke and flames for shooting up from its surface. She grabbed the burning and molten plastic bird feeders as both the feeders and the contents burned. She flung the contents into the sink, onto the floor, and around her. Although I couldn’t understand what was going on, I knew she might be burning herself as she grabbed the molten plastic feeders. I intervened as best as I could and tried to determine if she was burned or injured.
The apartment was filled with thick smoke but luckily the fire had not progressed. The burners were ruined from melted plastic and it smelled pungent from the burning plastic and birdseed.
I looked into the sink. She was so confused that she had confused the round bird feeder with a skillet and had cracked an egg or two into it to cook the egg. And then lay down next to me as the feeder began to burn.
She began to wail and cry in frustration and anger. I tried to calm her but she was wild with confused embarrassment. She laid on the floor half-naked, her robe barely covering her. She screamed and cried in bursts. I was scared for both of us and I wasn’t sure how far down the mental rabbit hole she might go. I have pictures of the mess and it evokes a lot of mixed feelings.
I spent an hour cleaning even as I tried to calm her down and console her.
I finally got her to lay down. The next morning, I changed out her burners with mine. And then went about the long process of cleaning.
Because she stayed in bed really late, hours past her normal waking time, a friend of hers had reached out to me asking if she was okay. I did the best I could to explain away everything and say that she was okay. I chose my words carefully. One of the things that had always stuck between us was that she insisted that our relationship be kept secret from her male friend. It was a huge red flag and I tried communicating repeatedly about it. It’s not her fault – it’s mine. Had I to do it over again, I would have said, “No” at the outset. Despite what she says in her narrative, I carefully navigated the line to let her friend know she was okay but had experienced a brutal night.
I don’t know how to characterize her mental state when she got up. But you can imagine… I had hoped it would be ‘the’ event to get her to stop drinking.
That was also the day she decided to do multiple hits of psychedelic mushrooms.
I was still confused and upset, and also nervous because of what had happened the night before.
Though she had promised me she would have no one else around when she did drugs, the allegedly concerned friend came over without invitation, another thing that she told him he couldn’t do. They proceeded to sit on the floor and cuddle and kiss while I was in the room, repeatedly telling each other how much they loved each other and what their friendship meant. She was deep into her mushroom hallucinations. It did not look like friendly cuddling though. At one point he lay on top of her as she lay on the floor. I had to tell her twice to close her robe because she was exposed.
As a result of the hours of laying on the floor, she had bruises all over her body.
Not only had I survived a near-miss with possible death due to the fire, but I had to witness what I consider to be a nervous breakdown exacerbated by alcohol and mushrooms. Adding insult to injury, I had to witness her being very inappropriate with a so-called friend. She and that friend had previous interactions, as well as interactions with his ex-wife. And although she had friendzoned him, it was obvious that he always wanted her and loved her. You can imagine that internal conflict inside me. Because the intimacy between her and I had come to a standstill, the hurt was amplified. I’d communicated my longing and needs multiple times, each time rebuffed. To see her behave that way with someone who obviously wanted her was beyond indescribable. She definitely did not cuddle with me like that, or tell me she loved me in that way. I tried to interact with her, but she pushed me away and made several hurtful comments ridiculing me. The friend also provided her with a mushroom supply.
Coming out of that confusing night and drug-filled day, the same friend reached out to me. I know that he already knew that she and I were together. Anyone would. Only she believed he didn’t really know. She on the other hand had insisted for months that our relationship be kept a secret from him. No matter how I explained the pain that caused me, she violently insisted. I asked her more than once to just tell him and sort the consequences. This confused me too because she too had been in a previous relationship where the other person was ashamed of her and demanded that she be kept a secret from his life. That evening, because the friend was hinting, I told him that of course, I had been with her all night.
The next day and for days later, even though I had been there for her and cleaned up the incredible mess, she was most focused on the fact that I had allegedly ruptured her demand that I do not say anything about our relationship to her friend. The friend’s possible reaction dwarfed being in a relationship with me.
She couldn’t understand that I had not planned it or the incredible circumstance she had put me under the night of the fire or the entire day with the mushrooms.
Much later, too late, I decided I could not tolerate her secrecy anymore and told her I’d had enough. All the months of me being communicative and honest and open with her had not worked. I should have said no to it all from the very beginning because all the red flags and warning signs were there. Secrecy is always a problem. And that kind of friendship with someone who wants you in that way was always an ongoing problem. It too was exacerbated by the fact that they were drinking buddies and his presence made it impossible for me to be around her when she wasn’t drinking. And it robbed me of conversations that we should have had together. It’s not her fault. It’s mine. I ignored my instincts and boundaries because I loved her and feared losing her and the loneliness that would ensue. I did have multiple conversations with her, trying to explain the hurt that she was causing by refusing to see it from my point of view. It’s okay to have friends, but not ones who spend their fantasy life imagining being with the person you love.
When she stopped drinking entirely, I think she understood the gravity of that night and what she put me through the next day.
I will never forget it.
Part of any relationship is the negotiation of boundaries between both people. I have learned the hard way. It is perfectly okay to have friends, but it is equally true that there has to be a discussion and acknowledgment when it’s not working. And to me the principal ingredient is secrecy. If the interactions are transparent and nothing is kept from the other, it’s healthy. I experienced something before myself that was similar. For 90% of the time, it was just friendly. If the relationship is working and there is physical intimacy between you and your partner those sorts of things almost never cause a major rift. But when one person is not being listened to and not getting what they need out of the relationship, the danger increases tenfold. Not getting the attention you want inevitably leads you to look for it elsewhere.
After the birdseed night, she wouldn’t let me be around him, and she continued to have him over and drink with him. I wasn’t allowed or invited. Anything above board and open would be okay, but to be excluded knowing how I felt was a red flag that I should not have ignored. Whether she sees it that way or not, she was more concerned about his feelings than mine.
My therapist had me write down a bunch of my stories and to see how they looked written out. Had they happened to another person, obviously I would have said that I was being disrespected and to get away until she changed her behavior.
People who knew me asked me why I was dormant some days, with both my blog and social media. I wrote three dozen entries, not with the intent of disparagement. Rather, to get my thoughts on paper and look at them like a third person. It’s a story of constantly asking for attention and affection. And yes, intimacy. Drinking was the third person between us. Her friend was the fourth.
The good thing that came out of it is that I flat out told her I was done explaining sharing my life with anyone I wanted to. And then I wasn’t going to explain or defend her insistence on secrecy.
Having a secret relationship is not privacy. Telling the other person he or she can’t talk to people about the ‘us’ should have been a deal-breaker for me early on. Factoring in that I couldn’t even be around him, much less have our relationship known to him, or discussed after he already knew, seems toxic to me now. She had stopped interacting on social media with me, too, and never publicly acknowledged me. Due to covid and her tendency to be a hermit, drink, and follow a hellacious sleep routine, we did not go out once as a couple.
That night she sat on the couch next to me and texted a previous interest nude pictures of herself, ones I had never seen, that about killed me. She angrily defended it until she stopped drinking. The person receiving the texts is one I had warned her about, and a person who everybody believed that the two of them had an affair. He is married. She also behaved inappropriately with him at work, something that really bewildered me, given how she angrily pretended she barely knew me under the same circumstances. She would die of shock if she knew that everybody knew that she had behaved that way with him. She drunkenly insisted that it didn’t mean anything and that it wasn’t sexual, even though they were beautiful nude pictures of her when she was younger and the language they were using was extremely graphic. She said they were pictures of her before so they couldn’t possibly be sexual. I had the same visceral reaction, in part because she was not being intimate with me for several weeks at that time. It is difficult to reconcile being physically starved while watching the person you want to be with be flirtatious most verbally and physically with other people, much less sexting while you are sitting right next to her and being ignored.
That she had shared stories of being with people she worked with reminded me that words and actions must align. Secrecy should have been my biggest red flag.
I asked her to let me see all those pictures four times. She said she would but never did. When she was angry with me, she insisted that she was going to text me all of them. She didn’t.
She also told me that there was a website out there that a few people had access to, pictures of her when she was younger and very sexual. I never got to see that either, even as other men out in the world had access to them. I can’t believe I tolerated that or that she thought such a repository of pictures and excluding me would be anything other than deeply hurtful. I’m not complaining that the pictures existed. I’m complaining that I wasn’t allowed to see them.
There is no shame in me admitting that her sexuality was explosive from the very beginning. It’s true that it was always while she was drinking. But I had never experienced anything like that. She told me crazy stories of her sexual past. She opened me up to new things. I of course did not begrudge her the past. My arrogance shielded me from realizing that I was just another person in the pattern, one with feelings who was about to learn what it feels like to be slowly starved of those things. And she did starve me. Both for what I call routine affection and physical intimacy. It was a terrible affliction to be in the best shape of my life and to want someone like that and be unable to express it.
I insisted she stopped drinking. And I also asked for more intimacy. She stopped drinking but couldn’t provide the hugs, the kind words, or her hands on me. I hated to give up asking. As it turns out I never got to be with her once when she wasn’t drinking. So I don’t know if her wild sexuality is really a part of her or a residual symptom of something else. I do know that she reeled me in with that wild sexuality. And then turned it off. She wouldn’t hear any compromises, no matter how serious or heartfelt they were on my part. I have a feeling she’s done this before. No one wants a relationship without physicality.
People become more uninhibited when they drink, but just like hypnosis, they don’t do or say things they don’t want to. They just become uninhibited about doing so.
Weeks after she stopped drinking, I found her friend has indeed come over and brought alcohol. She had some. It’s hard to believe that anyone who cared about her would expose her to drinking again. It’s not that he is a bad person – it’s his right to behave as he sees fit. He wasn’t the problem, not in the relationship sense. But to an extent he needs her to be the person she was before, for a variety of reasons. She maintains contact with people who bring discord and needless stress to her life, one that she needs to leave behind to be happy and satisfied.
When I wrote on social media about HSV2, she was not happy. I didn’t name or her or point fingers. I did it because I don’t like secrecy.
My part of the story is mine to tell, even if I do so without naming people or hurting them needlessly.
I tried to show her the normal attention of someone who appreciates her and life. Most of my efforts were treated as intrusions while she drank.
Our biggest problem other than her drinking was that she could not see that I was not exaggerating my need for love and affection. I was made to feel crazy and “extra” for wanting it. I wanted her to be happy and to have a normal relationship. She’s getting older. The old patterns won’t serve her anymore. I couldn’t continue having a life bereft of what most people would consider basic affection and intimacy.
I know this is a rambling, weird post. I’m tired of it mocking me in my draft file.
Despite some of my missteps, I’m still not a fan of secrecy. It leads to all sorts of behavior, much of it counterproductive. I learned the hard way! Which seems to be the way I learn everything. I’m using the word “learn” very loosely here.
When I talked about anxiety and taking Lexapro, this social media platform restricted my account a few months ago. Given the content I see, I’m still perplexed by this.
I can only imagine what this post might trigger. It’s personal and honest. And maybe a little irreverent. I have a sense of humor about it, just as I do with everything else.
About 50-80% of adults have oral herpes (HSV), a virus that we usually know as cold sores. Another 16% have been diagnosed with HSV2, the kind that typically hits below the belt. Many more have it, as they are either asymptomatic or the symptoms aren’t apparent. There is no cure. Over time, most people tend to have fewer symptoms. Women in particular often have it without any visible signs given their anatomy.
I have HSV2. I recently used Everlywell at-home testing to confirm it again. It doesn’t usually have any serious medical complications. There are exceptions for some people.
Most of the people who have it don’t talk about it. That’s a problem for a lot of reasons. The principal consequence is that so many people don’t tell their potential partners. Additionally, most people don’t get tested for STDs, or even have their yearly blood tests for the spectrum of other possible diseases or illnesses. Testing for STDs is essential for sexually active adults. So many people have one without being aware. No one likes to imagine that a partner might be infected; either the potential partner knows or doesn’t. It’s on you to be proactive, no matter how phenomenal someone looks standing next to the fireplace while wearing a come-hither look in the dim light from the Bed, Bath, And Beyond candles on the mantle.
If you are wondering, you can get herpes of any kind even when you’re with someone who has no symptoms. Even if you are careful and use protection. Using contraception as an example, none is 100% effective. As I’ve personally learned, being ugly isn’t a guarantee, either. Someone will look at you with fire in their eyes. It’s one of the most complicated parts of being a human being. We superficially talk about it, of course, but few people are direct about how important this side of private life is. It’s possible to have a fulfilling life without sexual expression, but it’s one I couldn’t imagine. I can listen to only so much NPR.
If you have an STD, it is the least you can do to have an uncomfortable conversation with your partner before engaging in the horizontal mambo. Such discussions will likely be awkward. All important ones are. It’s possible to avoid transmission to a long-term partner. But it is equally valid to remember that nothing you do is 100% safe. Your libido will lead to a satisfying sex life if you’re lucky. Any potential partner worth having will be glad you took the time to allow them to make an informed choice. Giving someone an STD is the best example to prove why “it’s better to give than to receive” is problematic.
Suppose you want to test without the embarrassment of going to the doctor? In that case, you can use a service such as Everlywell to test yourself for all manner of medical conditions affordably, STDs included. It’s better to know the truth than to risk someone else’s health.
I know what you’re thinking. No matter how attractive someone is, they likely have something for you to worry about, not the least of which is bad credit and a penchant for being best friends with their exes. Hopefully, an STD won’t be an additional worry. If you haven’t had comprehensive blood testing and an STD test in a while, you owe it to yourself to do it.
You can get back to Chad or Suzanne afterward. Or Chad and Suzanne if that’s your thing. No judgment here.
PS Yes, I will say anything on social media.
It is wrong to try to change someone. Except…
The exception is when you care for them, and you can see that the arc they are on ends in self-destruction or living a lesser life. By way of admission, I have ignored advice that was spot on in my life. My favorite cousin gave me the best advice of my life at one point. Because of my arrogance, I thought I could somehow overcome the looming consequences of my ignorance. Of course, I was wrong. If I had suffered from addiction, I probably would have still ignored the advice. People often ask me how I avoided the tendency to addiction. My answer is a combination of sheer luck and avoidance. It’s what helped me finally understand my parents a little more and stop being judgmental to the extreme I once did about my sister. They were completely wrong for their choices but were also equally trapped. Once I recognized the congruency to my own life, it managed to humble me slightly.
I had an ongoing battle with my brother Mike with his addiction. It ruined his life and ultimately ended it years ahead of what might have been. Even if he had survived, he was not himself or living the life at his fingertips. It cost him a truncated career and the loving embrace of people around him. It contaminated my relationship with him, and I didn’t realize how bad it was until the demon he suffered from became inconquerable. His death had more of an effect on me than I thought. More vanity of my part to believe otherwise.
I’m sure each of you has a friend or family member who equally suffers. Those who suffer often possess fantastic intelligence and artfully or brutally hide their secrets. It’s why I wrote the Bystanders Prayer a few months ago. Those in the grips of these issues don’t see the life that could be. That’s how addiction works. Or choices we don’t want to face. It doesn’t have to be an addiction; any unhealthy pattern of behavior will suffice. I have a few of my own, so I’m not casting stones without getting a few bounced off my own face.
Those who are capable enough or lucky enough to achieve escape velocity from their past decisions are among the most fortunate people in the world.
Those who escape find that other people were waiting for them to be someone else, the person they could be absent from the internal turmoil, often self-imposed.
It means they have access to a full life. A life full of people and friends. The world is meant to be experienced fully. If you have a friend or family member who needs to hear the screaming gong of change, ring it with a hammer of sufficient size. Doing nothing will undoubtedly end the way you think it will. Hammering the gong might cause a lot of temporary pain, and it might even cost you your relationship with those you care for. They’ll be gone one day anyway if that is their choice.
Only the spoon knows what stirs in the pot – as with any situation. Because of the private nature of most struggles, a lot of what is hidden fails to see the light of day. Personally, I couldn’t begin to explain the craziness I’ve witnessed in life or faithfully explain my irrational reaction to it. No matter what happens, I’m supposed to be in control of my response. That definitely hasn’t been true.
Emotion clouds cognition.
I have asked people to change. Whether it’s to stop drinking, being angry, or even accepting affection reciprocally. I’ve had both failure and success.
I want everyone to have a clear mind and the opportunity to be happy or satisfied.
If they are in my life, I’ve realized that there is a weird undefinable line between boundaries and asking someone to change.
Boundaries require you to hold fast to your expectations no matter what happens. That is tough, especially when you need love and attention.
When I was younger, I had to detach from some of my family because I couldn’t keep my sanity otherwise. Literally. They wouldn’t change. With the exception of my sister, everyone who suffered addiction in my immediate family met their demise still suffering with it. That’s a terrible track record.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve also found myself seeing that not everyone experiences love and togetherness the same way. Asking for someone to mirror me might be too much for some. Is it wrong for me to ask? No. There is no obligation to conform to my idea of a good life.
Me asking someone to give me what I want or need isn’t a demand to change. It reflects me communicating that I’m not getting what I want. That’s how it is supposed to work. It flames out quite often, too, though, because people are complicated and come with a suitcase rack of luggage that has nothing to do with you. People praise communication as if it is the cure. It’s not. It’s necessary, though, no matter the consequences. All you can do is speak your truth and surrender to the idea that other people will respond however their life makes them.
I can’t imagine a life without enthusiasm and without someone who wants one hand on their shoulder – and hopefully one wrapped around their back, too. It’s something that many don’t openly discuss. Most of us want a warm heart to greet us and hands that magnetize us. Don’t we seem to wander through a mile of weeds to get there?
Because I’ve gone to therapy, I know all the jargon for my attachment style. It’s helped me recognize some of the stupid sh!t I do as stupid sh!t. It’s not translated well into rational behavior, though.
But I did see the folly of chasing what I wanted. When you’re running and chasing, you don’t see the scenery. As you come to a stop, you look around and wonder how you got there. The fight in you evaporates.
If you’re not getting what you want out of life, at some point you have to decide to face the certainty of more of the same or the possibility of something different. That uncertainty comprises a lot of our lives and keeps us running in place. There will be pain on either side of your choice.
Choose your hard, right?
By surrendering and chasing no more? The thing I wanted?
It rang my doorbell. Metaphorically, of course.
And I answered.
There are no guarantees. Only instinct and experience. Optimism is a rare commodity that must be actively replenished. I’m capable. As I quoted last week, the person in the selfie you take is most often your own worst enemy. What are the things or people that make you most likely to be happy? What is holding you back from reaching toward that life?
I’ll need another hammer or two alongside my head to keep me on course. I feel like I have a cousin who is already searching Amazon to buy the perfect hammer.
Meanwhile, I have to answer the door.
I definitely hear the doorbell calling me. There’s a smile and hands on the other side.
This is an unusual post. Its theme might bother you, so be warned.
I reverted it to ‘draft’ form for several weeks because people kept personalizing it. It’s true I understand a lot of it.
This isn’t my story, but I was asked to retell it in the way that only I can.
I am not saying some of it doesn’t resonate with me, though. The parts that resonate with me are what allowed me to flush the description and agony to life.
Again, though, this is NOT my story.
I’ve seen countless retellings and versions of it on TikTok.
You’ll see her thirsty and carefully crafted social media. There aren’t many candid, spontaneous photos because she’s apparently unsure of herself. It will confuse you because she will have one persona in private and another one around other people. The public one is effervescent, vibrant, and wily. Even with male colleagues and male friends. The pictures she does share though are thought out and send an undeniable message. Multiple men and exes will follow her and make innuendo. She texts many of them. It’s her life so, of course, it’s her right. You’ll feel stupid for feeling a bit threatened by it all – that blatant sexuality that she says she’s oblivious to. You’re not a jealous person and you have learned not to begrudge anyone their sexual history. All that matters is that she is with you now. Over time, those intrusions will noticeably detract from your intimate time, even conversationally. As your physical connection lessens, her contact with all those previous lovers and potential replacements will begin to infect your head with previously unknown worries. Truthfully, had the physical connection not dwindled, it wouldn’t be a problem most of the time. Connection begets intimacy and usually evaporates one’s self-doubt. Without it? It exponentially worsens a troubled, lonely mind. You can easily be replaced by any number of people, all of whom will have to undergo the same pattern you did. They are very willing and motivated based on what they see and perceive. Our mental windows open due to what we see and experience.
Sidenote: I could write a book on how self-aware she is about her effect on people. It’s possible that she is blind to much of it. Her brilliance, on the other hand, makes it hard to reconcile. If you are attentive and communicative, you tell her about her effect on you and other people. Not from jealousy but from observation and wanting her to know. That’s how love works, even when mixed with incongruous sexuality and feelings. If you love her, you don’t want to think she is in fact self-aware to know how she portrays herself that way purposefully.
She’s beautiful in a way that is hard to define. She is certainly attractive and sexual. Intentional or not, she exudes an aura of sexuality. Her full red lips, her wide eyes, her hair either loose or pulled tight across her head, and her upper body, once defiant to gravity but still immensely provocative. Whether she has tattoos or a tongue stud, these things are signals to most people. She’s brilliant, quick-witted, and loves to tell dirty jokes and endless quips of sexual innuendo. She’ll share pictures of herself, boudoir pictures from the past, or recent ones that imply availability and carefree pleasure.
If you are the jealous type, you’re in trouble. A lot of people have seen her nude and more have seen her pictures, some of them professionally done. You won’t get to see most of them, though, even as you share the most intimate of words and actions with her. She will tell you that she was sexy and proudly so when she was younger but now feels unsexy and unattractive. All the signals and behavior around her, though, will continue to coalesce and add up to wildly mixed signals. She sees that you are inflamed but points back to her self-confessed past, one of sexual mistakes and inactivity as a penance.
She’s experienced. She’ll tell you stories of her multiple partners, her brief encounters with women, and eventually, she’ll tell you that she goes through prolonged periods without sexual expression. And though it is not that uncommon, she won’t be able to experience pleasure with you. Because of the fire in you, it won’t be an issue in the beginning. Then, you will discover she needs a certain kind of visual stimulation, alone and never with you, to experience it. If you’re faint-hearted or not accustomed to the content of her visuals, it will undoubtedly excite you further. You’ll convince yourself she will eventually share that secret part, the part that good lovers want for their partners; she won’t though. You’ll have to survive imagining it. It will feel like a wedge over time. Being able to witness the sexual explosion is a huge part of intimacy. She can have it alone, she says, but never with you. And always with content that will titillate you. One day, the finality of knowing you probably will never experience it sinks in so deep that it almost capsizes your sanity. You can’t explain it to her; when you’re truly with another person, these things are not things to be kept private unless both people can live with the decision.
You’ll discount it, though, because when you are first together, she will be seductive, crafty, and adventurous. You’ll likely experience things you’ve never encountered before. You will be on fire with desire. Anything COULD happen. She starts out 0 to 60. The stories she tells you will captivate, entrance, and pile a truckload of fire onto your urge to be with her.
At the outset, she will exude sensuality even during her cycle and share stories of encounters even during those. You won’t experience it though. You’ll just have her recounted memories to imagine. You’ll ask her what has changed, or why she won’t be expressive that way with you, now. Her answers will vary and you’ll be tormented. That she was that way casually before, absent love, but won’t be with you, in the now, is a huge pill that increasingly grows in your throat.
Slowly, over time, those chances for joining wantonly will diminish.
You’ll be left with an open burning libido and nowhere to go with it.
“I told you from the beginning that I was this way,” she will tell you.
Yes, but she didn’t SHOW you that, not in the beginning.
And you’ll start to feel crazy.
You’ll try to express your wants and needs and how much she delights you, both visually and because of who she is. Because she’s incredibly smart, she will have the words to turn her lack of interest back to you as a shield. Who would want to engage sexually with someone who says they aren’t interested, even if it is part of their long history of dormant periods? It’s a trick question. Because you will want to. There are two of you in the relationship. It’s not all sexual, of course. It’s hard to get past the defenses of someone like her, to allow her to realize that two people have to come to a mutual understanding. Otherwise, one of you is going to be suffering without intimacy. It’s akin to discovering the best food in the world only to find that the restaurant is slowly and unpredictably closed or open, often without any way to know when. A loving partner doesn’t shut the water off when their person is dehydrated.
As your encounters wind down, she will still engage in the sexualized banter with other people, even other men. “It’s not sexual,” she will say. But it is. And more so because it makes you feel like you’re an idiot because you’re unable to explain to her that sexual banter and innuendo with other people while withholding from you is a blow to your self-esteem and difficult to live with. She will slowly stop bantering with you like that. She has both your heart and your libido and she has the control. Your purposeful but increasingly difficult silence will become too massive to contain.
The encounters will dwindle after the initiation, like a shotgun pattern on a graph board. You’ll notice the decrease and find reasonable explanations. The need to ask for more attention and yes, the scarcity of intimacy will come to drown your ability to distance your reasoned mind from the attraction that singes your head. You will chase after her, being needy, trying to find the right combination of words to show her what you’re experiencing. Or that you’re drowning.
You’ll be bitter with yourself and distant at the end.
And if you love her? Her physical absence will be a spinning poker in your heart, one you can’t quite get her to understand. We are all physical beings – and most men (or women) haven’t known someone so vibrantly sexual.
As it ends, she’ll tell you that she doesn’t want to just give herself freely. Even if you still desire her or love her. This will be the nail in the coffin in your head because her sexual past tells a different story. Though she is a different person now, her arc of history put her in the position often of having sexual experiences in the moment, even absent love or even acquaintance, ones you’re imagining from her retelling them to you. You will be crushed by the incongruity of it, your heart filled with longing despite the pain. When you love someone and it is mixed with such a volatile and visceral desire, it is indeed almost impossible to approach it with rationality, logic, or decisiveness.
She will change the narrative and minimize the love in favor of believing you to be with her for physical intimacy. Even though the composite of your gestures and affection tell another story entirely. It’s normal for people to villainize their exes, to reconfigure and adjust their biggest weakness. It blankets out the love and affection.
Adult relationships require being wanted both physically and emotionally. With consistency.
When the physical component is so out of proportion and dwindles, it is a natural reaction to chase after it. Sexuality is one of the most sublime and delightful of all possible interactions. It causes people to literally lose their minds.
It’s already written.
If you read any of this and see yourself, it’s already written.
Fire keeps you warm. But it also can burn you. Or become ashes and leave you frost-bitten. You’ll still remember the fire, though, intensely. And a small part of you wants to stick your hand willingly into that painful fire just to experience the pleasure and agony. We are biologically driven toward sexual experience. And emotionally capable of infinite mental gymnastics to engage in behavior that isn’t healthy for us.
The best possible relationship is one filled with equal parts love and intimacy. We all know this. Most of us crave it. Some of us are lucky enough to find it. Sometimes, though, we find it and the burner burns with a flame that reaches the ceiling.