Eventually, though, minor mistakes turned into huge ones. That following week, I was on my own trying to put together a return of expensive suits. I didn’t understand how different this order was from our standard purchases, and I was in the office doing it all on my own for the first time.
I had never processed something like it before and didn’t understand the paperwork involved. I did what I thought I was supposed to do. Everything the designers didn’t want was there and accounted for. The only thing that was a mess was the paperwork, which I didn’t do, because I didn’t know I needed to, nor did I know how to.
So when my boss came in with limited time, she was less than pleased. For an hour and a half, I was there, just me and my boss, while she reiterated how bad the situation was. The paperwork was also not done correctly when it came in. Which meant the possibility that we didn’t receive everything, and we would be held responsible for the cost of them if that were true. The more I tried to explain, the more I was accidentally talking over her, the more excuses it seemed I was making, and the worse I looked.
It was humiliating. Yes, there is no way I would have known I needed to do those things because I had never done them before. Was it a learning experience? Yes obviously. However, I was disappointed in my own lack of initiative. Not because my boss humiliated me or was disappointed in me but because I humiliated and disappointed myself.
It ended up getting worked out! But, the feeling of failure and humiliation started looming in the back of my mind. I started seeing all the places I was dropping the ball all over the place. I began to create a narrative in my head that I routinely let my boss and coworkers down, and they felt the same way. I was full-on paranoid, struggling to separate reality from the false narrative I had running in my mind. My anxiety and mental health had reached a very dangerous swing in a different direction.
In reality, the only real issue was that I was creating problems that weren’t there. I continued making really humiliating mistakes. I was worried I was actually going to get fired. I let my anxiety talk me into second-guessing what I was doing.
I’m still working on climbing out of the mental health hole I’ve gotten myself into. Convincing myself, I am not my mistakes. But also taking accountability for them, so they don’t happen again. And please don’t remind me it’s a “learning experience.” Because I already know, and I lose it on you for how condescending it always ends up sounding.
As I explained what was happening to a friend of mine, who works in early childhood development. She informed me that the truth is a “chaotic brain” is, in fact, NOT a learning brain. We can NOT retain new information in panic mode. And psychologists have learned that when we feel in danger or stressed, it’s no longer “fight or flight.” Instead, it’s “fight, flight, freeze, or fawn.” And when I am anxious, I freeze. And if you’ve read my previous posts, my brain literally stops in its tracks, and I have to fight harder for reasoning skills.
This is where I’ve been mentally idling at these last three months. The root of the problem isn’t that I’m new. It’s that I haven’t been in a mindset to focus, communicate, or really pay attention. At the end of the day, it’s up to me to find ways to do better and figure it out. And cliche quotes and sayings aren’t going to do the work for me.
I’ve been feeling uncomfortable because of it all. My heart feels almost exactly how it did when “Jack Daniels” broke up with me. Showing me that at that time, it was more than just heartbreak. It was the uncomfortableness that comes with growth. With leveling up. It’s happening again, and the truth is there is no way around struggles like that. Your only option is through.
The idea that you did it, you’re past it, it’s over. Starts to grind at me because it’s never really over. Yes, I learned some things, and I survived. It feels like people expect growth and challenges to be this one-time thing. You get over the treacherous dark mountain and forever get to stay in a lovely sunny valley forever. And it’s just not how it works, especially for people like me who have ongoing mental health struggles. It is only a matter of time before it comes back or something triggers it. Or a new challenge inevitably comes along. You are never really ‘cured.’ You get better at processing both the past and the present.
But in the end, I did get through that project. That TV show invited me back to next season because of my positive attitude and openness to learning while I was obviously struggling. That is a win, not enough to disregard the mentally hard time I went through, but it’s really the one thing I have going for me right now, my positive attitude. So, as a result, I find myself doing occasional additional work on another tv-show as a set PA. And every day I’m there, I am absolutely a deer caught in headlights.
I am torn between giving myself the grace I am learning and knowing that impressions mean a lot when you need to network in any field, and if I just can’t keep up… that isn’t a good sign. I find myself a little lost and having to rely on faith that I’m going in the right direction. Because at the end of the day, I might not enjoy what I’m doing because I’m physically and mentally struggling, but whether this is a long-term career path for me or not, I find myself wanting to stick with it long enough to get better at it.
Thank you for coming back and reading the second half of this post. If you related to or enjoyed what you read, please leave comments and share. Either here or on social media. Follow this blog on WordPress or Facebook.
Sometimes I think I am doomed to be a hot mess forever. The more I think I’ve started to get my sh*t together, the more of a hot-mess I still seem to be. Does anyone else feel outright stupid sometimes?
It’s been like six months since I posted, so let’s catch you up. In November, I started a new adventure as a set PA on an indie film where I was consistently failing miserably. Followed by the return of the King of Mixed signals himself “motorboat.” telling me his continual remarks about wanting to sleep with me were a “joke.”
Like really? This means he was either objectifying me for his own amusement, gas-lighting me to avoid the consequences of his own actions, or the worst option just outright pretending to be interested in me.
When the production completely shut down due to a covid exposure. The combination of failure, humiliation, and lack of income sent me on a dark and depressive spiral.
It was horrible! In one month, I gained 30 pounds. Which is more than I did over the entire pandemic. My drinking got out of control, my sleep schedule was all over the place. “Jack Daniels,” being a more supportive friend than he ever was as a partner, had to talk me down from having a suicide plan. I had a plan, and I was going to follow through if it wasn’t for him.
I kept blaming it on not working. But honestly, I kept hearing a voice in my head saying, “it was a joke.” Something about how everything went down with “motorboat” made me believe to the depths of my core: that I was merely a joke. I know now that’s not what really happened, but regardless, that is how awful it made me feel. It’s not like I’ll ever go to him and be like, you caused me to feel this way. That’s ridiculous. But if he ever reads this, I hope he knows, the way you treat people has consequences. I may be responsible for how I react to what happens to me and how I heal from it, but you are responsible for how you treat people. And what you did and said was beyond cruel, and it left a permanent scar.
There is something about hitting that rock bottom that leaves you with nothing to lose. I had no job. And nothing to do with my time but spend time with my ex of all people and think about wishing I could disappear. I had to do something to move forward, to get out of the hole I had dug for myself So “Jack Daniels” helped me put a resume together, and between his contacts and mine, it worked! I landed a costume PA gig on a TV show!
I didn’t get much of an introduction to WHAT I would be doing, though. It was drastically different than the previous production assistant job I had. I do my best not to panic in situations of uncertainty. Because I’m learning that if you’re panicking, you’re not breathing, and if you’re not breathing, you’re not thinking. This is great in theory but especially hard in practice. When you are in a new environment and have no idea how to do what you’re supposed to be doing, it’s hard to think straight.
Most of my new job was pretty straightforward. I mostly ran errands and returned the clothing purchases the designers bought as options but ended up not using. It was a lot of driving back and forth from town to town, on top of the hour-long commute to the studio and back every day. Usually, the most challenging part of my job was keeping a positive working relationship with retail managers as I returned hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise at a time.
But I didn’t feel like I was doing a good job. I started off making minor mistakes that made me look weirdly incompetent. Locking up storage units when I left without turning off all the lights. Or just not filling out my time card correctly. Things I obviously didn’t know how to do but still left me feeling self-conscious about looking stupid.
Overall, it felt like I had managed to pull myself out of the very dark mental place I was before I was hired. However, looking back I don’t think I was completely out of the woods yet and it was effecting my work. The minor stupid mistakes we make when starting any new job started piling up. Being late, not understanding how to file receipts, and sending emails to my boss with the wrong attachment. Little goofs….. just kept happening. I feel like most of them were because I wasn’t in my right mind still, and the more mistakes I made… the more I would beat myself up and instead of learning I was panicking and it caused me to make more and more mistakes.
Eventually, though, minor mistakes turned into huge ones…. and in part two I will tell you about how I made a ridiculous fool of myself. How in my panic of being in a new field has whittled me down into someone who comes of as purely incompetent. And I will talk about how anxiety and stress can not only cause us to completely shut down and freeze but how we also cant retain new skill and information very well while in that state.
Thank You for reading my content! Please stay tuned for part 2. If you like what you’re reading or just relate: leave me a comment here or like, analyze, and follow me on Facebook “The Adventures Of Eleanor.”
Welcome to December, the final level of 2020. Are you surviving as well as I am? If so, I’m sorry. That sucks because I am barely hanging on by a thread. I’ve got some life updates for you, one of which is one of your favorite kinds of stories, a dating story. Spoiler alert, like the rest of my dating stories, this one didn’t go well.
It’s also not exactly a new story. Because of the pandemic, we shouldn’t be meeting up with new people or strangers. So I have shamefully attempted to keep physical connections (and emotional connections) with people I already had a history with and were honest about their current social distancing circles.
“Motor Boat,” the king of mixed signals came back with his mixed signals bulls**t.
“Motor Boat” is someone I have gone through similar cycles with over and over again. We met years ago and have been friends in one form or another ever since. At one point, we even matched on a dating app. This story started about a year and a half ago when he slid into my DM’s, and we slept together. Afterward, my anxiety got the best of me, and he decided he wasn’t interested in anything. Which sucked, but rejection is part of life.
Since then, we go through the same cycle over and over again. “Motor Boat” will flirt with me or invite me over and have sex with me. Then I’ll get my hopes up and lean into it real hard, and then he tells me he’s not interested. Inevitably we would end up embracing being just friends. And I liked him enough that just being friends was something I was genuinely okay with and enjoyed. People don’t owe you affection just because you have a crush on them.
Now to the Present
Every time we would get to the part of the cycle where he showed interest in me or initiated sex with me, I would perilously throw myself at him. I assumed it was apparent it wasn’t just a sexual attraction on my part but a real crush. And because we kept coming back to each other and repeating the cycle, I hoped that he felt the same on some level. Or at the least was comfortable with friends with benefits. Which I know is foolish to believe.
So a month and a half ago, when “Motor Boat” again told me he wasn’t interested. I let it go. I realized how stupid I had been. I wasn’t going to push someone into wanting me. I went back to embracing friendship because I respected his boundary and wanted him in my life in any capacity.
For a while, it was going great. Occasionally we would chat, go to each other for support when stressed, share memes and jokes. I was surprisingly comfortable in the dynamic.
A New Job
This dynamic hit a nice stride in my recent life when I needed the friendship. Restaurants closed again, and I found myself losing one job and jumping into a new, more challenging one. A film set PA.
I was scared and overwhelmed and had no idea what I was doing. And it showed. I kept messing up, and I was struggling to keep up. It felt like I was failing.
Originally it was just supposed to be for a week while I waited for restaurants to open back up. However, I found the challenge something I wanted to rise to. I got lucky, and through people on set who believed in me, I managed to get hired on for the rest of the show.
I was struggling every night. I would come home and break down, feeling like I was failing. I would send out messages and snapchats, letting out my frustrations and self-doubt. My friendship with “Motor Boat” was going well, so he was one of those people.
The Cycle Started Over
One of those snaps was me coming back to my hotel at 7 PM after a 15 hour day. I had drawn a shower and whole appropriately clothed, informing my snap recipients of how I had another day full of mistakes and how I was going to shake it off with a shower beer before cheersing the camera.
I was fully clothed, and nothing about it was sexual. When I got out of the shower, “Motor Boats” had responded. He said he shouldn’t have told me he wasn’t interested in being friends with benefits. That he overreacted.
Followed by how he wished he could have joined me in that shower.
This time I did the mature thing. I didn’t engage with the flirtation at all. I sidestepped and changed the subject. I assumed “Motor Boat” was drunk that he came back because he was interested in me on some inebriated level.
The next week was Thanksgiving. If I’m honest with myself, deep down, I was still hoping that friends with benefits was back on the table. So I was vaguely flirtatious in my texts.
Friday, the next day, he invited me over. Being sober, I reminded myself not to get my hopes up. To be careful. He is notorious for mixed signals, after all. When I got there, it was clear he just wanted to hang out.
And it was great. We talked about board games and the holidays, how we handled waiting through the election results.
Truth Starts Coming Out
That’s when he started telling me a story about a recent ex-friend he had. This long story about a girl he met a while ago that he initially had a connection with when they met at a wedding. Because she lived out of state, they agreed just to be friends.
“Motor Boat” told me that she would come to visit and stayed at his house over the past year while she looked for jobs here. That she was looking to move here.
He explained that this other girl repeatedly had the wrong idea and how she kept getting frustrated that he wasn’t into her. That every time she would come to stay at his house, she would start talking to him and bossing him around like she was his girlfriend. And he INSISTED that he NEVER did or said anything to give her the wrong impression.
On one level, it felt as if he was passive-aggressively telling me this story to make sure I knew he wasn’t into me. On another, I’m listening to this story, knowing our history, and struggled to believe this girl was making this connection up in her head. It was nearly identical to what I had gone through with him.
When I gently hinted at that, he made sure to tell me that this happens to him all the time. He has always been close to girls, and they get the wrong idea all the time.
He told me one of the big reason he and his ex-fiance broke up is that she felt like “Motor Boat” was too close to other girls, and he felt it was unfounded.
The conversation continued to get weirder. “Motor Boat” kept bringing up things he had recently struggled with that he insisted we had talked about before when we hadn’t. He maintained that he had brought up both his ex and this other ex-friend before. I assured him he had me confused with someone else.
I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I was so uncomfortable. I remember texting my friends about how awkward it was while I was sobering up to drive home. He was so caught up in talking about himself he didn’t even notice I was glued to my phone. The second I was sober enough to drive, I bolted.
Something about our entire conversation left me feeling insecure. I just couldn’t quite put it into words. At first, I thought it was the continuous disappointment that “Motor Boat” wasn’t actually into me. And if I’m honest, that was a big part of it. But it wasn’t all of it.
It felt important to remind him that he had recently tried to start our cycle over again.
I texted him the next morning to remind him. I didn’t say I was upset, just that I wasn’t sure if he was aware that he was doing this to myself and these other girls. After our conversation the day before, it sounded like its something he wanted to know. That telling me he wanted to shower with me was confusing and I wanted to help make sure he wouldn’t confuse anyone anymore. Clearly, this is a pattern for him.
“Oh, yea, I was just joking. “
That’s when I felt like I got hit by a cannonball. Right in the stomach. I was so taken in by shock; I didn’t know what to say.
I reiterated that I only wanted to bring it to his attention. That we had been through that cycle a few times, and I wanted to make sure he understood that every time I thought there was something more going on, I didn’t get there on my own.
The conversation was incredibly brief. Mostly because I didn’t feel right, and I didn’t know why. Which I even pointed out.
The conversation ended with him asking if we were cool. I told him:
“I think we will be, but I don’t fully understand how I’m feeling right now.”
I Continued To Unpack Emotions
I went to bed that night feeling sucker-punched and hollow.
Was all of it a joke? A few months ago, when I thought we were just friends and I came over to vent about “Casper,” and you kissed me, was that a joke? When you pulled me on top of you that night, was that a joke? Was sleeping with me after telling me you weren’t interested in me a joke? Was sleeping with me at all a joke?
Was I just a joke to you?
I thought… how was telling me you wanted to shower with me after recently creating a boundary any different than the times we slept together.
And how was it a joke?
The next morning on my drive back to the film set, he texted and asked why I didn’t bring it up when we were hanging out since it clearly had been on my mind.
I was honest. It hadn’t entirely been on my mind until after our conversation. I had a two-hour drive, and as s I drove, my mind continued to unpack why I was feeling gross after our recent discussions.
I realized how absurd and painful it was that it was all just a joke. Or that his excuse was “it was all a joke.” How it made it worse.
I thought about how there was no way he didn’t know how I felt and how he was playing games with me. Since he had texted, asking why I didn’t say anything when we were hanging out in person, I assumed we were still in a place to keep talking about it.
Things Took a Turn
After my long drive and spending that time unpacking the feelings I didn’t understand. When I reached my location, I sent him a long message detailing all of the new things I was starting to understand fully.
I wasn’t trying to fight or attack him. I consciously made an effort to use “I feel” statements. I didn’t think he was someone who would do anything like that on purpose. I made sure to add that I acknowledged and accepted his apology from the day before.
I felt like I was unpacking and sharing my feelings. Continuing a dialog to move forward.
He, however, tore me apart.
He was furious with me for continuing to talk about it. Tried to tell me that I was also just looking for attention. He said he wasn’t going to repeatedly apologize and how I clearly didn’t really accept his apology.
I Tried to Explain
I tried to explain that I wasn’t looking for him to apologize more. That you can accept an apology and still need to let out how your feeling. That’s how emotions work.
I tried to point out that, for me, it was never about attention. That I honestly really really liked him. That’s why I kept throwing myself at him when I thought “Friends with Benefits” was on the table. And why I was truly okay with just being friends because having him in my life was a gift.
Suddenly I realized we were not arguing about him stringing me along. In reality, it was an argument about the fact that I continued to need to talk about my feelings.
He posted something on Facebook about people “Deleting themselves from his life,” which worsened my anxiety.
A Battle Over Anxiety
He texted me that he ” had anxiety and continuing to talk about what happened was making him feel worse.” He added that he made those inappropriate “Jokes” because rejecting people made him more anxious and sex jokes were his way of breaking the tension. That he had nothing more to say to me.
Which made my anxiety go into overdrive. I kept texting, trying to explain that letting it all out is how I handle my anxiety. I talk it out until it’s no longer festering inside.
I tried to apologize and point out that fighting or making him upset wasn’t my intention. I tried to clarify if he needed space or was actually cutting ties. He never responded.
I definitely sent more texts than I “should have.” (which in the world of our current communications, I don’t consider trying to clarify texting too much.)
The next day I asked him if he hated me. Because I was still anxious.
He told me to stop.
I didn’t understand.
He got to lean on his anxiety in a way that left me feeling like I was treated poorly. But I was a terrible person and disposable for the way I expressed my anxiety.
I felt disposable overall.
Being a joke. Being used.
What Hurts The Most
But the part that hurts the most is that I was left feeling like a terrible person for needing to keep talking about my feelings. I honestly don’t think the “jokes” or the “cycles” were things he was doing consciously. For that, I meant it when I said I accepted his apology. “
But I don’t think I can ever excuse or understand condemning me for having and expressing my feelings.
“Motor Boat” undoubtedly has an obvious pattern for doing this to other girls. I didn’t make this up in my head. I know from this blog alone, I have a dating pattern myself. But I’m really proud that I do my best to see things from other people’s perspectives and never played with someone’s emotions if I wasn’t sure about them.
I keep asking myself how I could have handled this differently. How did I contribute to this event? And honestly, I don’t think I could have done anything differently. I could have checked in to make sure he was in a space to keep talking. I could have broken it up into smaller texts. However, if that’s all I needed to do, he wouldn’t have completely cut me out of his life. No matter what, I still needed to talk about how I felt and won’t avoid talking about feelings just because it’s uncomfortable. In reality, the only thing I should have done was cut the repeated cycle off a year ago. Except I don’t regret not doing so because I still believe he was someone worth the effort.
Despite the fact that he basically told me:
“I said I was sorry. Now get the f*ck over it.”
That is purposefully malicious. In a way that is clearly him avoiding facing the consequences of how his actions made other people feel.
If, by some miracle, you read this and made it this far. There is no way you didn’t know you were playing games with me or any of those other girls. I understand that you didn’t do it intentionally, and for that, I give you space.
I repeatedly made it clear it was okay that you didn’t feel the same way about me. And I never ever asked or expected you to feel the same way.
However, lashing out at me for how I handle my anxiety by continuing to talk my emotions till they’re all out of me, is inexcusable. Especially since you are leaning on your anxiety as an excuse to use people and avoid dealing with it. It’s self-centered and narcissistic, and blatantly cruel. It makes you a F**ckboy.
It was Gaslighting
I found myself in a lot more pain from this encounter than I expected. Not so much heartbreak like in some of my other posts, but this made me feel small and hallow. My friends reminded me that I was carrying too much of the guilt from this encounter. One person pointed out that flirting with me and then turning around and telling me is inherently gaslighting. He did something and then, when faced with the consequences pretended like it didn’t really happen. For anyone who doesn’t know, gaslighting is a form of abuse.
I keep thinking about “Motor Boat’s” story about his now ex-friend and his ex-fiance. My heart goes out to them. They weren’t crazy. They weren’t the only people this happened to. Her side of the story has been so erased by his inability to take accountability for himself.
To make everything worse, I carried the energy from this encounter that I wasn’t good enough into my new job. I hated that I turned into someone that spent every day complaining and making excuses for myself. That’s not my natural personality. Going back to work after that conversation made me feel like I wasn’t even worth trying. Which made it even harder to learn and grow and create a better name for myself.
Fortunately, I have a bit of a break before I have to go back to work, and I have time to grieve. Even though it wasn’t a romantic relationship, it was still something that was ripped away from me that I didn’t want to lose. “Motor Boat” might have used me, but I saw him for his actual worth. Even if he didn’t see it in himself.
And as I have some time to let go of the mistakes I’ve already made at my new job and get to start fresh next week. It really is something I am excited to get better at for the simple reason that I really love a good challenge.
Please leave a comment on both this page and the Facebook post. If you find this a nice piece to read, share it with your friends. Do you think I could have handled this differently? Do you think I was wrong for continuing to express myself?
Tell me how you are getting through the struggles of this year. What have you lost that you weren’t ready to lose? How are you dealing with it? Did someone break your heart recently? Have you tried anything new yourself? How do you handle failure?
I know everyone is feeling betrayed by 2020. We’re all disappointed by the plans we had that never came to fruition. Most of us are terrified of uncertainty. The uncertainty we could get sick, that we could lose our loved ones, our incomes, or our homes. Not to mention the countless number of people for whom those fears have already become a reality. The election, social change, wildfires, it never stops. I kept holding off on writing this piece because I know my problems are minimal compared to them. I thought, “no one wants to hear this right now.” I held off on posting ANYTHING because nothing impactful was going on in my life. I kept telling myself, “no one wants to read about your 30 days of yoga challenge. What kind of shallow person are you?”
But after some time and some motivation from supportive people. I realized my problems are still valid and in no way diminish other people’s current extreme and traumatic experiences.
This pandemic loneliness is killing me.
Overall, I do pretty well when traumatic things first hit. My anxiety brain is wired for the worst-case scenario. So when things start falling apart, I’m immediately looking for problem-solving solutions. I’m excellent in a crisis. It usually isn’t until after the shock wears off that the reality of trauma sets in.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had my share of genuinely terrifying and stressful moments this pandemic. I was panicked when things started falling apart. Because my job furloughed me, and one of the things my anxiety brain is non-stop worried about is financial security. And racing my little sister, a single mother of 3 kids, to the hospital while she’s 1000 miles away from her home for one. My point is, I’m not saying my experience of this pandemic has been easy. Just that compared to so many others, it seems insignificant.
At the beginning of this year, I was already in a vulnerable place. Everything that happened to me in 2019 put me in place to start over with new connections. I did a lot of emotional work at the end of last year. Not only over my break up with my partner of 6 years, “Jack Daniels,” and the uncomfortable encounter I had with my long time friend “Puppy.” But the handful of men who came into my life and made me feel inferior. And my choice to walk away from unhealthy friendships. I had started to realize just how bad my anxiety had been my whole life. For years I would go to work and school groggy and dissociated. Assuming that it was normal and how everyone felt, but it wasn’t. Suddenly I learned what being grounded and present felt like. This year, most of my goals were to make new and more beneficial connections with friends and potential partners. Before the pandemic hit, I was doing a fantastic job of pushing myself to live for new experiences. I was going out more to group things. Things that used to make me have full panic attacks. I put myself out on dating apps and found that talking to strangers didn’t feel like pulling teeth for the first time. I spent my entire life thinking I was an introvert only to discover, the year that I’m not allowed to see anyone, that I’m really an extrovert.
In The Beginning
When the pandemic first started, I tried to keep myself busy with sewing projects, but that lasted two months before it stopped being fulfilling. I’m the kind of creator that needs to create something with a purpose, or it bothers me that it’s wasteful.
I listened to books and podcasts while working on not getting burnt out from too much screen time. I had found myself strengthening my relationship with a smaller group of the social circle I had previously stepped back from. We were doing zoom movie nights and eventually got up to walk at lunchtime while video chatting. To keep us not only connected but up and moving. After time went on, though, the walls of my tiny 500 square foot apartment got smaller and smaller.
For a while, the months of alone time was a great way to self reflect. But let’s be honest, too much introspection starts to be degrading. Eventually, I ended up hating myself for so many things I thought I had put behind me. I started overanalyzing everything about myself and started hating myself.
Since I wait tables, I did my best to avoid going back to work immediately to stay safe. But eventually, I didn’t have a choice. I know many people want to judge those who had to go on unemployment for a while. But it didn’t take very long after the extra six hundred stopped for us to go through what we had been given. When you don’t have anything coming in, it goes fast between rent and bills and food. This is where my already thin resolve started utterly breaking.
Being back at work did not help. After being closed for so long, patrons came back more entitled and angrier than ever. The number of adult temper tantrums and confrontations over changes that were way out of my control had me going home in tears regularly. And I can handle conflict, but this was different.
The only thing worse than pure isolation is existing to only go to a non-fulfilling job and straight back home to isolation every day. I was still healing from last year’s heartbreaks and “Casper” from earlier this year. My heart hurt, and I couldn’t stretch my extrovert legs. My mental health started declining rapidly. I knew that if I continued that way, the loneliness would eventually lead to my death, which isn’t easy to write or talk about.
I was stuck with a dilemma. Risking covid or risking suicide from the isolation. So since I was already putting myself at risk at work, I decided to open my bubble a bit. I started spending time with the small group of friends I had stayed close to digitally over the last few months. I spent the most time at a couple friends of mine’s place. It started with occasional drinks and dinners at their home to be a little social and help break up the monotony that is this pandemic. Eventually, my friend (who online prefers to be referred to as Kilesandra) and I did a 30-day yoga challenge. This led to me being there every morning. As time went on, when I wasn’t working, I’d end up being there all day and routinely staying the night. I was there so often that on the days I wasn’t there, their dog would sadly look for me in their spare room.
For most of the quarantine, these “slumber parties” were what was getting me through. I started doing it at other friends’ houses occasionally. At first, I worried I was in the way. However, it didn’t take me long to realize that having a new person in the house was a relief, especially for my friends in relationships.
And because my income depends on people taking the chance to go out, I also occasionally started going out. I was just going out for craft beers at breweries and always picked places where I could sit outside on a patio. I felt like I needed to pass on income to people in a similar situation and support local businesses. I felt like I could use the Karma. As my state’s numbers rise drastically again, I have cut back to be responsible. Still, I needed an outlet for my extrovert self. If I wasn’t already at risk every day, I wouldn’t, but my job is so draining I needed to make that risk worth it.
I acknowledge this isn’t currently the safest practice. Spending time with friends and going out. I am a big supporter of maks and why scientists tell us to stay in. If the nation banded together to follow those guidelines, we would almost be out of this mess. But because a few people just couldn’t handle the inconvenience or thought it was a hoax, we’re all trying to make do with this nightmare they created for us. Like a child who keeps pushing boundaries and not understanding, they will continue to be punished until they learn to behave. For myself, it came down to calculating the risk.
Back in September, two of the girls I’ve remained closest to this year shared a birthday. We spent a week planning a birthday celebration that still fit into the current covid world. They wanted brunch, so we chose to go to a location with an outdoor patio so we would be safer. Because they continue to prove ventilation helps. We all had a great time, and it was the first time out for a few of us.
While at brunch, we talked about how I was surviving the pandemic through “slumber parties.” We decided to plan a group slumber party for the following weekend. Especially since friendships and connections help mental health. All of us had been struggling with that. Most of us were very isolated from friends, and we missed them.
We spent the whole week planning it. Our inner 13-year-old selves were so excited. I mean, so were our current adult selves, but our inner children/past selves would have been so proud. That was until the NIGHT BEFORE the party.
At the very last second, one of the girl’s partners expressed discomfort with her spending time with me now that I’m back waiting tables. She wasn’t going to be able to go anymore.
I want to outright state before I go any further. That I have no problem making sure the people around me feel safe. In fact, as a rule, when spending time in person, you should always refer to your most cautious friend and don’t be offended if they are more cautious than you.
So that being said, we decided to postpone so that we could figure out a plan where we could include her and make sure everyone felt safe. I definitely didn’t feel right about what was happening and immediately went to a testing location. Emotions were filling me as my mind went a mile a minute.
As I sat there, I started realizing the overwhelming emotion I was feeling was humiliation. This wasn’t about anyone else being a risk, just me. Simply because I didn’t have a choice in needing to go back to work. And he isn’t wrong; restaurants are more likely to spread the virus. But if this really was about making sure he and his partner were safe, why did he let me see her the week before? Why wait till the last possible second? In total, he had two weeks to say something.
I respect the need to protect yourself and your loved ones, especially right now. But to my core, because of how it was handled, I have a hard time believing it was about safety. I reached out and let my friend know that something about the whole thing felt personal. She insisted that it was about safety and told me she was also frustrated that he didn’t say something sooner. His reason for not saying anything the week before? “She left too quickly.” However, that also doesn’t make sense to me; since he had a week to say something and she was so excited, there is no way he didn’t know she was going. I left it alone because I could tell it started to turn into a situation where she was being used as a middle man in a conflict. I’ve seen that happen to her before, and I didn’t want to do that to her again.
My first realization was that he was looking down on me for my current job. And to reiterate again, I didn’t have a choice. He had to leave his job in the middle of this pandemic for valid toxic work environment reasons. And has a situation comfortable enough that he didn’t immediately need to go get a new job. I don’t have that luxury, and it added to my humiliation that it felt like he was looking down on me.
It’s hard for me not to wonder if he was just trying to keep my friend from going. My test came back two days later that it was negative. I could tell there was tension other than me just feeling humiliated. It was apparent he was using her to speak through to the whole group. As she kept sharing scientific research, he found and knew all of these facts and how he was a nurse. For me, it was even more frustrating because no one, NOT ONE SINGLE PERSON, doubted his knowledge or the science that I was more at risk at the restaurant. Which made it feel overall just felt…. fishy…
The more I was funneled information through my friend, the more frustrated I got. I had studied being an EMT Basic while in colorado before I was 20. Certified and everything. I had gone from doing that into my performing arts degree in college. I decided to focus on my entertainment career rather than to work more in the medical field. Because it was too hard on my heart. The more information I was fed from him, the more I felt man-splained to. Again, no one involved doubted his knowledge, especially not me.
The entire situation had red flags all over it. Especially since he made me feel so small and doesn’t seem to care.
We did eventually have our slumber party, and it was everything we could have hoped for. But this incident has made me feel even more isolated than usual. I never told him how humiliated he made me feel. Because it took me till this encounter to realize I love my friend, and I don’t care what her partner thinks of me. What’s important to me is that she is happy.
I Realized Just How Lonely I Was
Having a whole ordeal were I wasn’t allowed to see someone I loved, even though she wanted to see me. Opened my eyes to how lonely I had become. After “Casper,” I wasn’t in a place where I was comfortable putting myself out there for dating again. But I craved having a person, craved touch and connection. Spending time with friends just wasn’t enough. They all had their own partners, and it’s just different. I know that I am not “alone,” but it’s a different kind of loneliness. I found myself continuing to throw myself at “Code Name Motor Boat,” even though I knew he wasn’t interested.
It didn’t help that he would say things and do things that got my hopes up. But deep down, I knew, and I kept trying anyway. We ran into each other a few weeks ago. He invited me over to his house and then into his bed. We didn’t do anything but sleep, and I woke up halfway through the night, and he was gone. I felt so bad like I had pushed him into a situation he was uncomfortable with. So I left in the middle of the night. He later told me he wished I would have stayed.
For a few days, I felt like we were both just nervous around each other. Maybe there was more there than I thought. But I soon realized he was actively avoiding me. Which after “Jack Daniels” did that to me for so long as a controlling maneuver, I get really frustrated at. The truth is I wasn’t looking for anything serious, just someone it was safe to be close to. Cuddle with. Sleep with. Enjoy company with. Eventually, I snapped and asked why he was avoiding me. I thought we had already talked about being ok with a friends with benefits situation and that it was ok. But he finally revealed that it wasn’t something he was looking for.
I kept thinking I would be crushed or embarrassed. Because I have chased him so hard! But I wasn’t. He was worth making an idiot over myself for. I really truly liked him, and I would have rather tried and learned it was never going to work than have never tried at all.
That was sort of this cherry on top of this deep loneliness that I feel. I have to be careful about spending time with people. However, I live alone, and it’s not an exaggeration to say the walls start to close in on you. It’s almost painful to live alone. And I crave a romantic partner but don’t have the energy to put myself out there again. And I definitely don’t think dating is worth the risk of spreading the virus to people I care about right now. Being unlucky in love seems extra frustrating, and I’m not in a place to want marriage or move in with anyone. I just want affection, the kind of connection you get excited to see someone at the end of a long week. Someone to sleep next to. Someone to be excited about getting to know and go on adventures with when going on adventures is safe again.
Here’s what I know, I’m doing the best I can in uncertain times. I hate that I’ve pressured myself into going back into almost complete isolation because someone who clearly doesn’t have respect for me made me feel small. I know nothing lasts forever, but we are still in this for the long haul. And until then, spending time with a little bubble of people will do me better good than harm. The time I was spending alone with my own thoughts was going to be the death of me. I have little ways of helping myself. My mom gave me a weighted blanket. And I’ve gotten really good at reaching out when I need it.
I want to leave this post with my biggest two things because I’ve continued to sleepover at my friend’s houses. After all, it does help. And I’ve been working on rewiring my brain every time it attacks itself to think something beneficial about myself.
What have you been doing to beat the loneliness that comes with this pandemic? Let me know. Does anyone have any advice on how to deal with anything I talked about here today?
Thank you so much for reading. Please follow me and share it with your friends!!
I didn’t expect the majority of my posts to be about dating. But the more I put myself out there, the more things happen to me that I feel are worth writing about. Getting back into dating has been quite a wild ride for me. As I was with my previous boyfriend (who in this blog, I’ve nicknamed “Jack Daniels;”) for over 5 years. I had some pretty bad experiences right out of the gate, and if you haven’t caught up on those, here is Part 1 and Part 2. Needless to say, I haven’t had the best dating luck. My last story was how I did everything right, and it still didn’t work out; this is a story about how I did everything, absolutely wrong.
My Anxiety and Insecurity Got The Best of Me.
While I was still with “Jack Daniels,” he definitely wasn’t the most loyal or consistent boyfriend. I am way to patient of a person about things I shouldn’t be okay with when it comes to dating. He would often disappear for weeks or months on end. Usually, this was because he works in the film industry and would work 100 hour weeks and didn’t have the energy to maintain attention or conversation. So I tried to be understanding. And honestly, he has some major depression issues, so often, when he wasn’t working, I wouldn’t hear from him for long stretches either.
As understanding as I was, I was quite often left feeling taken advantage of and unsure about our relationship. Before we actually broke up, I had spent a weekend trying to get a hold of “Jack Daniels,” with no response. Only to catch him at a bar with a girl just outright ignoring me. I bring this up because its important to note, he often was just avoiding me for long periods, usually sleeping with other women.
All of this is important because that’s how “Code Name Motor Boat” and I met. (I will explain the nickname eventually) A few years before “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, there was a time I hadn’t really heard from him in a month. And I wasn’t going to wait around to see if he was going to come back. I downloaded some dating apps and put myself out there.
That’s when “Motor Boat” and I matched. In fact, he was someone I already happened to know. I used to go to parties at his house a lot when I first moved to New Mexico. So it was pretty easy to get into a casual swing of talking.
I want to start by outright stating, he is just a fascinating human. He’s INCREDIBLY intelligent, insanely funny, witty, attractive, and into so many of the same things I was. He had a tendency for engineering and science, but was also in a Funk Band and loved film. He is so well rounded and versatile that I find him incredibly fascinating.
But just by chance, every time we tried to make plans to hang out, something would happen. And honestly, maybe it was because subconsciously I was waiting for “Jack Daniels” to come back.
Seeing as “Jack Daniels” and I didn’t break up for another few years, obviously “Motor Boat” and I didn’t actually spend time with each other. But for the next few years, every time I started to feel neglected by “Jack Daniels,” there was this voice in the back of my mind. I’d remind myself that there were people who were actually interested in me.
Thinking that way, however, built up this connection in my head with “Motor Boat,” that, in reality, had never been there. A few months after “Jack Daniels” and I broke up; when “Motor Boat” commented on one of my Instagram stories. I jumped on the opportunity. Well, we both did as he definitely outright texted me a variation of “lets Netflix and Chill.”
I had been drinking downtown with friends at my favorite bar, and he swung by and eventually ended up heading back to his place to drink more.
He was so sweet, he asked me about what I had been up to lately, commenting about things he had seen on social media that I posted. He even showed concern for how depressed I had been last year and wanted to know if I needed to talk about it.
It didn’t take very long to reach the “chill” part of Netflix and chill. And I’m not going to sugar coat it… It was bad. Not because of anything he did. But more what he didn’t do. Which wasn’t much of anything. I’m not even really sure you could call it intercourse…It was not just him, though. I liked him so much that I was unusually nervous, and I could not stop giggling. Which is obviously a turn off for anyone. And he was pretty drunk, so he was struggling to focus.
This was when I made my first big mistake. I didn’t get much sleep and have a bad habit of overthinking things when I’m hungover. “Hanxiety,” I call it. I way too QUICKLY let him know that I had a good time and was down to hang out again. Which I know came off as very desperate. He gave a very brief, “I’m down” reply. Which is promising but also vague.
I didn’t hear much from him after that. And that’s when my anxious, insecure mind kicked into overdrive. I kept wondering if it was a one-time casual thing or if there was a chance to really get to know each other. After all, I really did like him and would rather have known if I needed to move on or not. So about a week later, I reached out and asked.
You would think it would come off as a valid and mature question. It didn’t. It ended up coming off frantic and clingy.
He was confused, reminding me we had decided to hang out again. Then I repeatedly apologized for coming off so insecure, which I think was the nail in the coffin for “what could have been” at that time. He let me know he wasn’t looking for anything serious, and I told him (and myself) I was okay with that, that I wasn’t looking for anything either. When really, I was deeply disappointed.
I wondered if it was because I came on stronger than I intended. I worried that it was because “Motor Boat” didn’t enjoy our sexual encounter. I usually get pretty good feedback about physical encounters, so having someone out there who potentially thought otherwise, was embarrassing and frustrating.
At this point, I did the responsible thing by not contacting him anymore. I mean, really, if someone is interested in you, they will reach out.
It was also the catalyst for me to finally seek medication for my mental health. The level that I spun out about a guy I had hooked up with ONE TIME wasn’t healthy, and I am happy I got on medication. I’m way more grounded now.
I Continued to REALLY do Everything Wrong.
About a month and a half went by, and I was out drinking with a few friends. At this brewery that had this sign about a return policy that I thought was just absolutely hilarious. Who has a return policy at a brewery? Anyway, I took a picture and sent it ‘snap-chat’ style, to several people I thought would think it funny. Considering we had resigned to just being friendly, I also sent it to “Motor Boat.” It was something I knew he’d find funny.
He responded with, “Is that an invitation?” It hadn’t initially been, but I really liked this guy, and my friends were cool with him joining. So he met up with us, where he eventually swept me away from my friends and took me back to his place. That night to told me, “I never heard back from you; I thought there was something there,” I responded with, “Well, I felt like I came on too strong, and you wanted me to leave you alone.” We weren’t able to hook up that night because 1. we were both too drunk, and 2. I had a particular visitor that occasionally gets in the way.
However, I still initially thought it was a nice night. He didn’t judge me as I was so drunk I definitely got sick. And we fell asleep on the couch while he was clutching me close, and it was the most comfortable and safest I had felt since before my break up with “Jack Daniels.”
At the time, it felt like he was genuinely disappointed he had never heard back from me and was happy to have me there. I was excited to not have to rush off to work the next morning, hoping we could spend some sober time together.
Except for the next morning, he woke me in a hurry asking me to leave. He had some family stuff he had to do, and his sister would be there soon. He apologized profusely, promising to make it up to me. Kissing me over and over again as he did so.
Because family plans are a valid reason to need to get your day going, I left in really high spirits. Maybe I didn’t overthink it the first time, and maybe there was something there.
Over the next few weeks, I asked him to hang out several times. However, something was always coming up. And both because I am too patient about some things, and because those reasons always seemed genuine. I understood. Adults are busy, and he clearly had a tight bond with his family, which kept him incredibly unavailable.
Slowly I began to realize again that I was pushing something that wasn’t going to happen. I was chasing someone who wasn’t into me. But I kept trying. I kept thinking about how “Motor Boat” had told me he was disappointed that I disappeared the last time and thought something was there.
I asked him on an actual date night to see a friend of mines play. I even picked a weeknight in hopes he would be more available. He agreed!! We had it all planned out, I bought the tickets and everything. I had a beautiful dress, bought a bottle of Jameson for afterward, and was determined to make it a good time.
A few days before, he actually ASKED ME out to drinks. It was a relief because I wasn’t the only one initiating contact, it was mid-week, and he had had a shitty day. He vented to me all night about things going on in his life and how overwhelmed he was.
As he walked me to my car, he kissed me and confirmed our date for that weekend. I felt confident that I wasn’t some crazy girl chasing someone who was never going to be into me.
That is until the day of our date. That morning he checked in about what time we were meeting up. Later in the day, he even offered to pick me up instead of meeting me there. But literally 2 hours before we were supposed to meet, yet again. Something came up. And yet again, it sounded serious and genuine. This time it was about his mother being in the hospital, so I sincerely hope he was telling the truth.
Either way. I was devastated. I was so excited about that night. I knew that was going to be a show he would have loved. I went anyway by myself. My friend, who was in the production, had drinks with me later that night. If you read Part 2 of my negative dating experiences, this was the night everything happened with “Vanilla.” Where a guy I knew had pulled me into a bathroom and asked me to ‘get on my knees.’
Suffice to say, it was a terrible night. Two days later, I wake up to a text message from “Motor Boat,” reading quote, “I can no longer entertain your advances.”
Initially, my gut reaction was to just not react at all. I didn’t even need to open the message because I could read it all in the text preview. I immediately just deleted the whole thread and didn’t say anything. What was there to say? I was crushed. But why tell him that? I knew that the little things he had given me to indicate he also liked me didn’t compare to the signals that he wasn’t. I felt so stupid, so crushed.
You would think that would have been me doing the responsible, secure thing, right? Well, for a few weeks after that, I would then hear from him ALL THE TIME. Previously we didn’t really interact on social media at all, but he was interacting with ALL of my posts. And sending me messages commenting about them.
I would politely, but shortly respond. Confused at this point. But the breaking point was one night at 3 AM I get several text messages, the first of which that just read:
and so on…
I lost my shit. How dare “Motor Boat” tell me to leave him alone and then continue to engage in the same kind of conversation I had been earlier. Let alone the middle of the night. This is where the nickname “Code Name Motor Boat” came to life. My friends happened to be up with me that night and started calling him that. (However, he’s also known in my circle, as the “King of Mixed Signals, and eventually just F*ck Boy )
His reason the next morning was, I was sleep texting. Which, after some research, is apparently a real thing. However, it tends to be the last person you contacted, since you’re half asleep, and it had been at least a week and a half since I had engaged with him. So I still call bullshit. I was no longer giving him attention, and he didn’t know what to do.
I was livid. I did what he wanted, I had left him alone. Not just once but twice. I savagely went after all the reasons he was clearly giving me mixed signals. That he was clearly going through a rough time, however, he was still worth the effort to have a connection. And for that matter, so was I. I made sure to point out I had made an effort to get to know him and the things he had been going through, and he took advantage of it while not bothering to get to know me at all.
This Is Where His Mixed Signals Really Kick In.
I really did feel like I went too far with my final blowup. I went after “Motor Boat” on a deeply personal level, which is something I tend to do when I’m feeling hurt and pushed into a corner. I lash back with words, harshly.
A few months later (in fact, the night before New Mexico’s lockdown happened), I texted him and apologized. I think part of me had felt guilty for, in a way, going for the jugular emotionally. But also being freaked out about how much life was changing. I had a limited number of friends to turn to and felt a little lonely and insecure.
(I guess this is a good time to mention, I had a pretty big falling out with a portion of my friend group in the winter of last year. I haven’t quite known how to write about it because… there is still a lot to process about it.)
He told me he didn’t think I had anything to apologize for. That he understood where I was coming from, and that he was sorry that I felt used. He even let me know I was why he remembered he was worth the effort and sought out mental health assistance. We ended up meeting for drinks at a brewery he’s a regular at.
We toasted to the fact that we were helping a local business on the last day they could be open. When the brewery closed, he knew all of the employees, so we hung out with the staff after hours. We drank with them and vented about how freaked out we were that everything was changing and that many of us didn’t know what we were going to do while work was shut down.
My phone died, and “Motor Boat” paid for an Uber for me to get home. I drunkenly told the delightful Uber driver how much of a crush I had on him the entire ride home. She was very supportive in telling me, “I hope you hear back from him.”
After that night, I knew I needed to take a step back and assess the ENTIRE situation. He had clearly shown signals of not being interested, and the conversation the night before was clearly a closure conversation.
So I made a point to let him know that I was also interested in pursuing new friendships. I explained I had a falling out with a portion of my previous friend group and wanted to cultivate new and healthy ones.
He seemed interested, but with him, it was always hard to tell.
I’m Bad at Walking Away From People I Like. Even When It Isn’t Good For Me.
Throughout quarantine, we would both hear from each other. Which was nice because I didn’t feel like I was chasing after someone who wanted me to leave them alone.
But, being the King of Mixed Signals, that he was. There were several times it was hard to tell if he was friendly or flirting. He’d initiate contact. When the conversation would turn back around to how he was doing; He’d talk about how much he wanted cuddles or a date. I attempted to not make an assumption that he was flirting. For example, in one instance, I sent him a PDF of a “Cuddle Buddy Application” for him to send jokingly to other potential partners. He had been talking about the fact that he was putting himself out there again, I figured he’d find it funny. Instead, he filled it out and sent it back to me!
For most of quarantine, it was like this. One of us would kind of reach out, we’d have a friendly conversation, and I would try not to push it too far. And since I was keeping my expectations in check, I had found myself excited to build a friendship with “Motor Boat” instead. I’m a pretty firm believer that just because someone (me) has a crush on someone else (Motor Boat,) it does not mean they owe you anything. They are under no obligation to like you back. Especially after I had started seeing “Caper.” But if you read my blog, you know that ended after 2 months with me bein incredibly heartbroken.
My Last Big Mistake
So when my heart got broken, he was one of the people I vented to about it. Venting to male friends about dating has always been helpful by expanding my perspective. I started to tell him what was going on, and he invited me over to talk about it instead.
When I got there, he immediately kissed me. Obviously, I was taken by surprise. He had been drinking already, and I wanted comfort on top of the fact that I really do just have an intense crush on this guy. We did inevitably end up sleeping together again that night.
And I was not going to leave without showing him I was better at it then our only other encounter appeared to be. Yet again, he was just tipsy enough not to be able to focus. It was clear our bad sexual encounter the first time was definitely NOT my fault.
You would think bad sex would be enough for me to stop chasing after someone. But I like to think I’m not that shallow, and I still find this guy intriguing.
Now, this continues to be our cycle. We’re friendly. We sleep together or have a sexting conversation. Then “Motor Boat” disappears for a bit, but always comes back. I know I’m chasing after someone who isn’t interested again. Only this time, it isn’t strictly romantic. I really thought there was a friendship worth pursuing.
I Acknowledge How I Brought This On and Can Still be Frustrated at Mixed Signals.
I want to be very clear that I acknowledge the mistakes I have made here. I know that I’m pushing something that isn’t there. I keep going back to it even though I have very little to go off of. And that I shouldn’t want something with someone who doesn’t give me all the attention I deserve.
However, since this is my blog, and I know two things can be true simultaneously, I’m going to vent about his bullshit. What kind of annoying f*ck-boy behavior is that? Who continues to tell someone they aren’t interested in a relationship and then take every chance they want at getting laid? And not just taking advantage of getting laid, but only doing so on their terms? We will sleep together or have a sexting conversation when he’s in the mood, so I will assume its okay to ask for it when I’m feeling in the mood for it, but he won’t respond.
He also only ever talks about himself when we hang out. Even when I reach out because I need someone to vent to. We spend 90% of the conversation on his life. When I went over to vent about “Casper,” we mostly talked about an argument he had with his family about making pizza… for hours!! What is it with men and them not wanting you to be too into them, yet they expect you to stay within arm’s length because you also aren’t allowed to be into anyone else.
“Motor Boat” also continues to change his story too. One week I’ll reach out (on something like Messenger), and he won’t respond. He will tell me, “Oh, I was at the cabin, no wifi out there.” The next, he’s bragging about how the wifi at his cabin is better than at his house.
It feeds their ego. Men don’t want to deal with their own emotions. Or telling the truth, but having attention smooths the empty hole inside of them. He’s kind of a textbook definition of a “F*ck-Boy,” and if you don’t know what that is, here is a link.
Even The Universe Is Against Me On This One.
The universe also seems to be pushing back against me on this. The Thursday before last, we had a sexting conversation. Initiated by him, obviously. However, I was busy, so I couldn’t hang out to follow through. But I enjoyed the conversation and wanted to continue to tease him. So on Sunday, I sent him a selfie. And Monday, I sent him some EXCELLENT Thirst traps if I do say so myself. After our conversation the previous Thursday, I was floored that he didn’t respond. So I left it at that, yet again we had a sexual conversation when he felt like it, but when I felt like it, he would avoid it. Supposedly he never got any of those messages, and they all went through at once almost a week later. Which obviously freaked him out. I am so frustrated because I didn’t do anything wrong. I definitely spaced those messages out, and when I thought he wasn’t responding to them, I didn’t push it. It feels so unfair that I continue to look so terrible in this situation despite how I keep trying to do the opposite. It’s like my life is right out of an awful sitcom sometimes; I told him I hadn’t blown up his phone like a crazy person. But at that point, there is only so much explaining you can do without making it worse.
I know that the only person responsible for putting me in this awkward, desperate situation is me. The only reason I come off this way is my own inability to let go of a crush. That being said, just because I have a crush on someone doesn’t mean they owe me anything. You can have feelings or an attraction to someone and not expect them to feel the same way back. It happens all the time. The friend-zone is not a real place. That goes for all genders. It’s called being an adult.
The only thing I do wish he would do is to figure out where he stands and stick with it. It felt like we were going to start a friends with benefits relationship, and I was definitely okay with that. Being single is hard, and even more challenging in the middle of a pandemic. And I get touch starved really really quickly. But we will have an encounter or a conversation, and he disappears again. We will then get to a place where we are strictly platonic, and he will kiss me out of nowhere. I might be responsible for sticking around and keeping my hopes up. But I still feel like it was pretty easy to read into what was and is still happening.
This catches us up to now. Though, to be honest, I really do like “Motor Boat,” so I would be very open to it if something were still there. However, I can completely accept it might not go that way. I am just not okay with the wishy-washy behavior. It’s hard not to feel taken advantage of. It makes me want to remind the world of my continuous mantra, that I’ve brought up a few times in this blog.
“You’re an adult, use your words!”
Thank you for reading! Leave a comment, tell me about your experiences being led on or accidently leading on someone else. Tell me about the one that got away! If you enjoyed this piece tell your friends. Share this on social media, and follow me on instagram @adventuresofeleanor and facebook at Adventures of Eleanor.
Greetings fellow adventurers! It has been too long. Like many of you I let the unproductive vibe of quarantine take over me and like most of my artistic outlets, I put writing aside. But, oh boy, what an eventful few months quarantine was for me.
I’ve written a lot about dating since I started this blog. That wasn’t my original intention for this blog, however it does seem to be the thing I feel most drawn to talk about. Probably because writing is a form of catharsis.
If you read Part 1 and Part 2 of my posts about my negative experiences getting back into dating, you’ll know I had a rough time getting back out there. I was going through a whole personal experience of putting much of my self validation into casual sex and it was making me feel small.
At the time I think deep down I didn’t believe I deserved a real relationship. When I started this blog I was going through a break up of a 5 year long relationship. I spent years of my life being treated like an option, wondering if it was even a real relationship, and gaslit about everything I was experiencing. So I wasn’t exactly manifesting quality partners, after that.
There Was Someone Else at First
That’s when I first came into contact with “Casper,” We matched on Tinder. And had a brief conversation, the problem was I had matched with a few other people at that time and was in the process of getting to know them. I couldn’t handle juggling to many people at once. So I let him fall off into the dating app wasteland, of missed connections.
At that time I was already talking two guys, “GR” which is this blog’s nickname short for Golden Retriever. He was sweet and incredibly athletic, but …well… I will describe it as book smart not street smart. He was active and affectionate. He just wasn’t very… witty, kind of like a Golden Retriever. There was no way my chubby medium exercise self was going to be able to keep up with his extreme athletic hobbies, and even though he was getting a masters degree, intellectually we just weren’t connecting.
There was also, “News Guy” (because he worked on a news station) which I connected with strongly right off the bat. Which is pretty much why I didn’t give “Casper” much of a chance at first. I thought I had found something, and why waste any ones time?
Over time though, connecting with “News Guy” became more and more of a challenge. We had COMPLETELY opposite schedules, so even finding time for a date was difficult. He worked the graveyard shift and I worked during the afternoons. We connected really really well on a personal level though, and for the most part on a physical level as well! Yet, there was something standing in our way in that regard. Now, I am very open to kinks, as I explain in Part 1 and Part 2 of my negative dating experiences. But he had a very specific cuckold kink.
Originally, I was open to the idea, because jumping into a serious relationship after being with my ex for 5 years wasn’t exactly what I was ready for. And to be perfectly honest, my ex and I were exploring trying again at the time. When he broke up with me he stated “He wasn’t in a place to be in a relationship but wanted to keep sleeping together.” And like an idiot…. I agreed.
So at the time it seemed like the perfect compromise. I was moving on with my life but I got to keep my ex in my life. Even better I wasn’t lying to the guy I was seeing about it, and it was something he was also getting something out of. It, however, quickly became to much for me to handle. “News Guy,” was hoping for me to be on the prowl with new and random guys on the regular, and I was at a place where I wasn’t okay with casual sex at all, let alone FOR someone else’s benefit. We couldn’t even manage our time to coordinate many real dates.
When I would express how I really didn’t just want a sexual relationship with someone. We would end up bickering, because he was just out of a marriage and didn’t want anything serious. He didn’t understand why I was feeling like it had turned into a connection just about sex. And I kind of get his perspective. For him, being able to find someone who supported his really out there kinks was a form of connection. A connection he isn’t going to find often. And I was really struggling with the fact that we couldn’t spend time together for me to have the kind of quality connection I was looking for.
Quarantine Hit and Everything Changed
I had gotten to a place, right before everything shut down, that I couldn’t wait around for yet another person to have time for me. I had done that for years with my ex. I would ask “News guy” to drinks or come over for a movie, and something would always come up. So I put myself back out there. I was still talking to “News Guy” just less seriously. I figured if I found new people he would get what he needed out of it and I wasn’t completely alone while I was looking for an actual connection. One that would potentially be monogamous and simple.
That’s when “Casper,” and I matched again on a different dating app. Honestly, he had put different photos of himself up so I didn’t recognize him until he started the conversation with “So we meet again.” I was so embarrassed. But figured if we matched more than once, there was probably a reason.
By then I was out of work and in complete quarantine lock-down. And honestly I was incredibly relieved. Because I was so tired of feeling like a sexual object. It was so nice that potential dating partners had no other choice but to talk to me for awhile. Taking sex off the table, and out of my control, helped.
Since I was lonely in quarantine. I went ahead and not only matched with several people, but continued full conversations with them all. Because… what else was I going to do. I even did several, very awkward, zoom dates.
I was getting so many “Good Morning” texts from people, I remember joking with my friends about how I might actually leave quarantine with several boyfriends! But at the head of the pack every single day, I would hear from “Casper.” I was taking quarantine pretty seriously, especially because of my Nanny job, and he had a hard time with that. He knew that it was easier to make a real connection, in person.
He tried lots of creative ways to make new connections with me. Every day. He would send me little videos of himself via text message, and tell me good morning, EVERY. SINGLE. MORNING. (In hindsight, I should learn to be weary of the ‘Good Morning’ text kind of guy but here we are)
Eventually he did talk me into coming over to watch a movie. I was so nervous. We both were. I was scared because who knew if I was exposing myself to Covid-19, and what would happen if I brought that back to the 2 year old I watched? I was especially nervous because I didn’t want to sleep with anyone, I was still struggling so much with tying sex to my self worth. First dates are always incredibly nerve wracking anyway, especially when there is an actual connection involved.
Our First Date
It actually went very very smoothly. Originally it started out as a joke. “Come over and take a nap with me.” And before I knew it we were making real plans for me to come over. I remember pulling up to his driveway and thinking, “Am I really sure this is a good idea?” It took quite a bit of courage to actually walk up to his front door. I had brought with me a six pack of beer, as liquid courage, for both of us. A deep breath, a quick self motivational chant, and I was pushing myself towards the door…
I am not exaggerating when I tell you all, that when he walked up to his screen door to let me in, I got an intense wave of butterflies in my stomach when I saw him in person for the first time. He was so much better looking than his profile photos. That’s not to say his profile photos weren’t attractive, they definitely were, but he far surpassed them in person. Not in the, you’re so perfect you could be a model kind of way, but in a you check ALL of MY boxes, kind of way.
Meeting for a first date is uncomfortable enough; let alone meeting at some strangers house for the first time. Nonetheless, I was surprised to see he had an incredibly noticeable, calming effect on me. We sat down and started watching one of the Avengers Movies. He introduced me to his adorable 7 month old puppy. That he had rescued and still wasn’t completely sure what kind of dog he was (other than adorable). He was clearly part lab but the rest was still up in the air. Who was very excited to meet me, and I really do love making new animal friends.
It was like being in high school again. All the tension and adrenaline. As he edged his way closer to me on the couch, and put his arm around me, every inch of me was on fire. We made jokes about what was on the screen, and I pointed out some continuity errors. He laughed, stating that he wondered if I was ‘that kind’ of film person.
Despite going into the date with the intention of NOT getting physical with him right way, the sexually charged tension between us was electric, and I absolutely gave in. I did eventually stop and asked him to slow down before we did anything I was worried I would feel small about later. He was remarkably respectful and supportive about it. Which instantly made me even more comfortable around him, and deepened my attraction to him. I remember later on the next day, worrying I had disappointed him by not going as far as he might have liked, and I realized this was the first person I had been intimate with in a long time that I felt confidently comfortable saying NO to. Which as I’ve stated a few times, was a big deal for where I was with my relationship with sex.
That being said, not having full intercourse with him didn’t mean I didn’t have a very very good time fooling around with him. The most eloquent way I can describe the rest of our evening is he knew how to play my body like a finely tuned instrument.
A Connection Like No Other
After that we were talking all day everyday. There was clearly a strong connection there. Every morning I would hear from him and we would chat until the day was over. Once or twice a week I would end up at his place as it was the only form of date we could do in quarantine.
He had an amazing attention to detail. Both visually to his surroundings and when I would tell him about myself. He would remember details of stories I told him about myself and Id be shocked. I don’t think I had ever felt so heard in my life.
“Casper,” was so much more affectionate that any man I had spent time with, including my ex, in years. I was almost suspicious of it. Right off the bat I was getting forehead kisses, he was holding me close, and holding my hand. It was so foreign to me I genuinely didn’t know how to react. I was used to needing to leave at the end of the night after a date, even one that ended intimately, that I was blown away by him asking me to stay the night.
You don’t realize how much those little details of being treated well really matter until you go from not experiencing them to experiencing them. I was trying not to be paranoid, because often people who act that way move to fast and end up in things that aren’t right for them. Everything seemed so genuine though. Here was another lost and lonely soul who truly needed the human connection and affection.
About a month had gone by. We had learned so much about each other. About each others families, our goals, and frustrations; it really felt like we had turned into something real. When I talked to my friends about him they nicknamed him “Patient Casper,” because I realized I should have given him more of a chance when we matched on Tinder, the first time. He was so supportive, especially when I wasn’t feeling emotionally my best.
He Made Me Ready to Say Goodbye to My Past
At this time I learned something about my ex, that despite breaking up a year ago, crushed me to my very core. In order to understand, I need to go back in time to last year, about 2 months before my ex and I broke. At that time,I hadn’t heard from him in a MONTH. This wasn’t unusual as he worked in the film industry working 100+ hour days and it often left him with little energy to focus on a personal life. I spent that weekend, at that time, asking if he had time to hang out and just wanted to check in. When I never heard anything I decided to go to out dancing at a bar with my friends. Where I found my ex dancing with another girl.
I was floored. I flipped out. Not only was he potentially CHEATING. But if he had the energy to go out and party, why wasn’t he able to simply RESPOND TO A TEXT MESSAGE? We didn’t break up for another two months, he insisted he wasn’t seeing anyone else and that I had overreacted. He deeply guilt-ed me for causing a scene. When we did eventually break up, he insisted there wasn’t anyone else. Later on, last fall, we even tried again for awhile before resigning to being friends.
But fast forward to 2020, after I thought we had had all of our ‘closure’ conversations and were in a good place of genuine friendship. I learned that not only did he lie and gas-light me about cheating, with the girl I caught him with that night, but that he had been in a ‘relationship’ with her ever since. So not only did he gas-light me, but he cheated on me, and then turned around and cheated on her when I was under the impression we were trying again.
It took one text to confirm all of this from my ex. It brought back a flood of unaddressed emotions. Heartbreak that I HAD been cheated on and anger that he had lied. To me and her. Even worse, we were long broken up and in what I thought was a place of honesty, he knew I was seeing new people and I encouraged him to be honest with me. Why continue to lie to me when there wasn’t anything to hide anymore.
“Casper” was so supportive of the fact that I was taken aback by this. I didn’t fully explain, as I was afraid I would scare him away if I talked to much about my ex. Yet he acknowledged and validated all of the feelings I was experiencing. It put me in a place where I was truly ready to let go of all of it and move forward, especially so I could make healthy space for a potential future with him.
After all of that, my sister ended up in the hospital. And yet again, he was surprisingly supportive. I was having a hard time and he was there. He made my concerns feel heard, and he went out of his way to make sure I didn’t feel alone.
Another month had gone by and I was gearing up to go on a Memorial Day weekend adventure, with some friends. The only socially distanced vacation we could responsibly take, was renting an Air BnB in the mountains. I remember taking the chance at being extra vulnerable by letting him know that I knew I was going to deeply miss him. “Is it terrible that I want to tell you I know I will miss you?” I said. “Why would that be terrible? I’ll miss you too” He truly seemed to feel what I felt. We were I was at a place I felt like I could relax and enjoy experiencing a new human connection.
When I got back from vacation, we hung out again. It was such a beautiful time. I remembered enjoying the rhythm of our breathing patterns syncing up. The next morning, we got up showered, and got ready like it was a normal couple routine. We walked out the door together, he pulled me in tightly and kissed me goodbye, and told me to have a wonderful day. I didn’t know it at the time but it was the last time I would see him.
The next few days we texted as usual. Nothing seemed amiss. Usually you see it coming when someone loses interest in you. There wasn’t a single sign in sight. One tuesday morning I had gotten up early to go kayaking with a friend. I woke up to my usual “Good Morning Sunshine” text. I went on my kayak run, talked with my friend about how great everything was going with “Casper,” and how I was excited that I had finally found someone.
By that night, I asked him how his day was. He told me he had gone to dinner with his mom and they had had a fight. He told me that he wasn’t doing great because of it. I did my best to be supportive but didn’t hear back. I assumed that he just needed some space after a bad day, but that was the last I had herd from him. Well, truly heard from him. Suddenly we had gone from a supportive couple, to nothing and I didn’t know it yet.
Ghosting is Painful
I kept thinking he was just going through a hard time, and honestly needing space is valid. Which it is. I gave him a week before checking in again. I asked him if something happened and if he was ok. I didn’t hear anything. Another week went by and I checked in again. Didn’t hear anything. I sent him a few supportive and kind texts letting him know I was here for him if he needed but also that I just wanted to know what was going on. Nothing. Eventually I sent him a question bluntly asking if he was ghosting me. And it wouldn’t even deliver. Not only was he ghosting me, he had blocked me.
I. Was. Crushed. One day everything was great, and the next it was gone. This isn’t like hooking up with a guy once or twice and them ghosting you because they just aren’t into you. I had been seeing “Casper” for over 2 months and had every indication there were mutual feelings involved.
I was blindsided and in an incredible amount of pain. Personally I believe that ghosting is a cruel and cowardly act. I understand the notion that we don’t owe anyone an explanation if they make us uncomfortable, but how are we supposed to grow if we don’t know?
I find myself going back to a mantra I’ve been using all year: “You’re an ADULT use your words.” It isn’t that hard to explain to someone that they either aren’t interested, or that they just are not in a place to pursue something. Other peoples reactions to your honesty are not your problem, but how you TREAT people is.
This instance has been a bit easier, as I can tell it doesn’t have to do with me. Whatever happened with his family, clearly sent him in a downward mental health spiral, so it feels less personal. That being said, it still hurts. There was something real there and then it was just gone. I deserved, at minimum, the respect of saying goodbye. Random, almost shallow things bother me about it too. Like I most likely will NEVER have sex like that again. Not only was he incredibly affectionate but it was legitimately the best I have ever had.
He Made it Worse
Two weeks after he originally ghosted me, I heard from him. After I had already done so much work to move on. He didn’t say much. He apologized for being an a*****. I let him know that whatever he was going through was valid, I had just been trying to figure out if I needed to move on or if he just needed space.
He told me he just needed space. So I got my hopes up. That was to weeks ago, and I never heard back. Making it a month since I truly heard from him. What kind of child do you have to be to do that to someone? I can completely understand that depression and anxiety can do that to you. Can cripple you into being unable to communicate, but stringing someone along for over a month, when you clearly aren’t actually interested. Or in a place to pursue something. Unfortunately we all go through these things, but we still have a responsibility to have respect for the people around us. For example, you are allowed to have bad days, however a bad day is not an excuse to get away with treating people poorly. The same rule applies because we are adults.
I think the hardest part for me, is knowing that he is going through something so cripplingly painful, and I cant help him. I want so badly to help ease his pain. I hate that he isn’t ok. Yet, I can’t push my help onto anyone who doesn’t want it. And at the end of the day, all I want is to want someone who wants me back.
Its hard not to wonder, “what did I do wrong?” “Why wasn’t I enough?” “Should I have kept my problems to myself?” But in this one particular instance I honestly think I did everything right. I didn’t rush into it, I was authentic, I even handled him disappearing gently and with kindness. Instead of making what he was going through about me, I was just trying to remind him that I was there for him and just trying to figure out what he needed. Even if it meant me moving on.
If I can take anything away from this that’s a positive. Its that I have grown enough not to obsessively blow up someones phone when I’m not getting the attention I’m craving. Its an incredibly small consolation prize, but it is growth.
Reasons Not to Ghost Anyone
When venting to one of the few friends I do currently have about what I’ve been going through. His response was “I’ve ghosted people.” I was shocked.
On one hand he had an interesting perspective. He compared lost connections to lost investments. He explained that in his line of work you can sink a lot of money into a project but if its not giving you the returns you need you just need to walk away. Which in a way is a healthy way of looking at it.
However I still don’t believe Ghosting is a responsible adult way of handling anything. Psychology Today explains that people who ghost do so because they “are primarily focused on avoiding their own emotional discomfort and they aren’t thinking about how it makes the other person feel.”
In Layman’s terms, if you are the kind of person who ghosts. You don’t do it to protect other peoples feelings, you do it so you don’t have to face your own feelings about being an asshole. Psychology Today also describes it as a form of “Emotional Cruelty.” And that “Ghosting causes you to question yourself, which can be devastating to your self-esteem.”
I’m Having a Hard Time With It
Even though it was a short relationship. I have been having a really hard time with this loss. I have grown enough to know that it isn’t about me, and that whatever “Casper,” is going through is legitimate and heavy. But its completely distracted me from my life. I find myself deeply grieving. It feels so stupid to grieve this deeply for something that was so short lived. However, what it was while it lasted was very real. And I deserved better. I deserve better than what anyone has given me over the last few years. I acknowledge that I haven’t been manifesting what I am worthy of until recently, but that doesn’t change what I am worthy of. All I really want is someone who I want that wants me back. I’m not in a hurry to get married or have kids. But a valid, genuine connection isn’t asking too much.
Thoughts To Leave With
Have you ever been ghosted? How did it feel? Did you ever ghost someone? Why did you do it? I encourage you all to share with me your experiences in this regard.
This was a story about how I did everything right, and it didn’t seem to matter. Stay tuned for my next post which is a story about how sometimes its my fault things don’t work out. If you like my blog please share this on social media or subscribe.
Greetings fellow Adventurers! I know its been awhile. As everyone is aware the current state of the world has upended all of our lives! I am currently out of 2 of my 3 jobs until this pandemic is over and therefore am stuck quarantining at home, just me and my rabbits.
To occupy my time I’ve been doing a lot of artistic projects. Including drawing this collection of Adult Coloring Pages. Use them as an artistic outlet, a way to kill the time, or to combat that pandemic stress and anxiety were all feeling.
Feel free to either save the image directly from this site or there are free pdf downloadable links right below each image. The only thing I ask in return is to share this article with your friends and on social media.
Warning I drew these with Adults in mind so these coloring pages do have curse words.
“My sexuality is not an inferior trait that needs to be chaperoned by emotionalism or morality.”
Welcome Back! Thank you for deciding to read the second half of my rant about some of the more uncomfortable experiences I’ve had being a single sexual being. If you haven’t read the first part I encourage you to do so here. In that first half of this blog post, I talk about how I am dumbfounded that so many men think they just have permission to kiss you as an attempt to “make a move.” And how so many times we end up in uncomfortable situations because many men don’t count activity as “sexual” unless their penis is involved. (I know insert eye-roll here right?)
Reading my previous post will make the first half of this post make so much more sense. Last we left off, I had been starting to date my long time friend who we’ve nicknamed for the purposes of this blog. “Puppy.” Puppy had really been pushing a physical and BDSM relationship when I was at a point in my life that I wasn’t comfortable with physical or sexual intimacy. I was trying to keep up with him to make him happy because I have a terrible habit of being a people pleaser. Things really started to get uncomfortable when “Puppy” showed up at my door with an “object” that symbolized ownership, and he was definitely disappointed in the fact that I wasn’t excited about it.
Continuing where we left off
After he showed up with “the object,” I definitely began to notice how unbalanced everything was becoming. I understood that he was a busy guy and I tried to understand talking about feelings wasn’t something he was good at. However, the ‘kink’ seemed to be the only thing we talked about ALL THE TIME. We didn’t even have time to do anything that might count as courting or dating. Weeks would go buy before I could see him again. At one point I had asked him if he would take me see Toy Story 4. He agreed. However he was so busy he made me meet him there, and then promptly left after the movie. We had been exploring seeing each other for over a month now and I couldn’t even get a proper date.
Keep in mind, I was still grieving the loss of my last relationship, who we’re calling “Jack Daniels.” I was doing the best I could to navigate this new thing, but in hindsight I was just trying to fill a hole left by “Jack Daniels.” The responsibility I had to both “Puppy,” and myself SHOULD have been better self-reflection on what I was feeling. I was blinded by heartbreak at the time.
My mother knew I was struggling, that I was depressed all the time, and that I was having a hard time letting “Jack Daniels,” go. She also knows that one of my favorite things is spontaneous adventure. Therefore one day she calls me up and asks me if I want to go on an impromptu trip. To help me shake all those feelings off and get back to myself again. YES! I was so excited.
It had been 2 weeks since I had seen “Puppy” at the Toy Story movie. It was a Friday, My mom and I were leaving on Sunday morning, and I had to work a double shift on Saturday to make sure I could afford to leave. We were going to be gone only 3 days. I reached out to “Puppy” and asked him to hang out because I wasn’t going to be available for a few days.
I did not get a text. I did not get a call. I got a SNAPCHAT that said simply. “I’m moving, I will be gone by the time you get back.” I was going to be gone less then a week… I hadn’t seen him in 2 weeks… and yet he was just moving. To be fair I knew he had been wanting to move, he had been looking at work opportunities out west. But I had no idea or indication that it was happening RIGHT AWAY. I tried to be supportive at first. I was in shock, and I couldn’t get upset at him following a work opportunity that was best for him.
I want to take a break for a moment and talk about Snap Chat. Why do so many boys insist on ONLY communicating through snap chat? Its a fun app for some things. For quick communication or visual communication. Or like I can even understand the use for sexting. However for EVERYDAY communication it is unreliable and really kind of shady. Do you like that conversations disappear? I mean I get that you guys don’t listen to us or actually read our texts anyway but do you enjoy having to re-ask questions because the answer disappeared? Seriously there are dozens of more reliable forms of communicating. SMS. Messenger. Whats App. Even Instagram is more reliable. Gentlemen, if your girl is remotely important to you don’t use an app that makes everything she sends you disappear. Grow up, be more reliable by using something more reliable.
The more I thought about it though… the more absurd I realized the whole thing was. Why was this the first I was hearing of it? He said he had just found out. Looking back though over the last two weeks all of the things that were keeping him busy from spending time together were all things someone does preparing to move. (ie: completely fixing up a car.) He knew for at least 2 weeks. He told me “originally he intended to spend a whole day with me and tell me.” However over the next few days while I was on the trip I kept trying to have an actual conversation about it, on the phone, via text. Anything other than SNAPCHAT and he just wouldn’t. Eventually he told me “I’m just to busy with getting ready to move.” Which means if I hadn’t of gone on the trip, he wouldn’t have been able to make the time to talk to me in person anyway. If I was someone he really had feelings for and respect for, why was he waiting till the last possible day anyway?
I started bringing up how the whole thing felt like just a sex thing. That it was absurd he couldn’t communicate that he was leaving, or where his feelings for me came from in the first place. To this day he still doesn’t understand why I felt that way. Why to a degree I still feel that way. Over time as I’ve processed it, I’ve realized it wasn’t feelings or love he was experiencing but a form of obsession. He had an idea of what he wanted me to be in his head and it wasn’t anything like the real me. I kept explaining that the fact that the only way he would ever communicate with me was through the ‘kink dynamic’ made me feel like our entire interaction just had to do with sex. He tried to explain that for him it was a form of affection, and connection.
I tried to point out that we skipped all the steps for that level of connection. That that wasn’t how I experienced feeling like I was cared for. That what made me feel cared for had to do with expressing thoughts on feelings. My biggest love language is words of affirmation. He said he wasn’t good at that… and to this day I am still FURIOUS that he at one point sat on my couch and LECTURED me on the importance of communication, but apparently its only important to him when it comes to getting off.
Over time we talked occationally in attempt to make sure our friendship would remain on some level. He still never told me how long he had “feelings,” where they came from, or what about me he liked. (other than explicitly talking about kinks) Months went by and finally I was able to start going on dates again and eventually started having sexual relations with new partners. Which “Puppy” found out about. And he was devistated.
I have empathy for him I do, it hurts knowing someone who you once saw a future with is starting to move on. However he told me on some level he hoped “Id always still be his.” ….. That mentality I don’t have empathy for. He moved. I was never his. In fact he went out of his way to make sure we didn’t “define the relationship,” except for kink labels and pet names for each other. It was never me he wanted a future with, it was the idea of me, the idea of someone who embraces his kinks. Which there is nothing wrong with. He deserves someone who can embrace them. And truthfully someone who actually wants those too. To tell you the truth there is NO WAY I personally could have maintained that kink. And I am a kinky mofo. But that one was way to much for me. The best case scenario for us to maintain a place in each others lives was definitely that he moved.
I understand that “Puppy” doesn’t think or communicate the way myself or other women do. That he doesn’t understand why so much of our interactions made me uncomfortable. He’s the kind of guy that doesn’t understand that when he gives a pretty girl out in public a complement why she gets mad. Simply because she DOESN’T WANT THE COMPLEMENT, She just want’s to be left alone, to shop, or workout, or just exist. Its just another way we exist only to please other people.
But there’s something validating in learning I wasn’t the only one. I ran into a mutual friend of ours one day while out at a networking event. We got to chatting about our lives and I started venting about my recent negative dating experiences. My friends face went stoic, as he told me he wasn’t comfortable being “Puppy’s” friend anymore. That “Puppy” had taken one of his good girlfriends out on a date for a hike. “Puppy” had started grabbing her face and aggressively kissing her. That now that girl is TERRIFIED of him. Now I know that being dominate like that is just a ‘Kink,’ for “Puppy.” That he assumes that all girls like that, and it wasn’t his intention to terrify someone.
However he never should have put her in that situation to begin with. Alone, in the woods, with a man MUCH LARGER AND STRONGER than you. That’s terrifying. I have no idea if he checked with her if she was into that kind of thing or not. But even if she was into that kind of thing, a first date in the middle of the woods is DEFINITELY not the right time or place. How does this logic escape some people?
Casual Sex is Great, But I Still Expect to Be Treated With Respect
The entire experience has left me feeling like I am a sex object to posses and not one to actually date and have a relationship with. Now I see this pattern everywhere. The thing about it that makes me the most frustrated is that I do love sex! So much, I am mature enough to handle occasional hookups and non committed sex. But for some reason my experience is becoming that I can either have it one way or the other. And honestly that’s Bullsh*t. Seriously. Men are allowed to just hoe it up and then turn around and have a white picket fence life with a wife and kids with a privilege free of the stigma. The rest of us not so much.
Why is it that because I enjoy sex and am comfortable with casual sex does that mean that’s all I am? Why does it mean someone can’t just get to know me. And before anyone argues that its because I am “easy.” First of all, go F yourself for slut shaming, and secondly I was celibate 3 years until slightly before meeting “Jack Daniels.” And I’ve done all the different ‘dating’ things for putting myself out there. And somehow I still end up more often than I would like being treated like an object, and not in a fun way.
Sometime after “Puppy” moved I started putting my shattered pieces that both he and “Jack Daniels” left me in. I began to start putting myself out there!
One night out on the town with a girlfriend of mine, we ended up staying out drinking later than we intended, and that’s where I met a man I’ll call “Vanilla.” He was charming, and attractive, and very very smooth talker. Tall, dark hair, and a delightfully pleasing beard. It was one of those instant connection kind of moments. I looked over and met his eyes and just knew he was checking me out. We flirted briefly and I made a strategic slip away that I knew would ensure he would come over to talk later in the night. Which he did. He chatted with my friends and we were hitting it off. He joined us after the bar was closed to an after party that ended up being a bust. He offered to take me back to his place.
I hadn’t slept with “puppy” not fully, and “Jack Daniels” was the only man I had been with for almost 6 years. (our relationship wasn’t that long but he was still the only one I had been with in that amount of time.) My friend pulled me into the bathroom where I told her I wasn’t sure if I should go. She told me she trusted the guy, there was an obvious connection and I should. She later basically shoved me into his uber lol
In the uber he told me. “Just so you know I just went through a breakup.” I drunkenly responded “Me too! That sucks though I’m sorry people are the worst.” He clarified that meant some of his ex’s stuff was still there and he didn’t want me to be uncomfortable. We had a lovely evening afterwards. To be honest it was pretty strait forward, hence the “Vanilla” nickname, however; we had a good time and I enjoyed myself. The next morning though I saw what he meant. I expected like, Audrey Hepburn posters and a few things left behind. But all of someones essentials were there. In perfect place. It looked like she still lived there…
If they had broken up it had to have been very recent. I remember thinking “Did you break up this morning DAMN!” I didn’t say anything and in that moment I realized this was just going to be a one night stand. Because even if he was telling the truth it was clearly so recent that I wouldn’t expect him to be looking for anything. Yet, when he took me back to my car trying to be a nice he got my number. I wasn’t expecting that. If this is where his and my story had ended it would have been just a positive one time causal sex encounter. But it isn’t.
After that I ran into him EVERYWHERE. I mean everywhere, for weeks for some weird twist of fate we ended up at the same bars and restaurants. And most of the time he was with a girl, a girl that always seemed to be the same girl. I was convinced he had lied to me and cheated on his girlfriend. Which caused some obvious resentment for me.
Months later I ran into him again. I had been stood up by a date I was supposed to have. So one of my girlfriends and I went out for a drink. If you haven’t met my drunk alter ego. She doesn’t know how to keep her mouth shut. Shes’s going to tell you exactly what she thinks. And I did. I called him out on his so called break up.
His intense physical reaction to that though made me wonder if he was telling the truth. IF he was, I am assuming they broke up right before I met him and then went back to trying to make it work. Which is why I presume I kept seeing them together. The rest of the night I vented to my girlfriend about how upset I was about being stood up. Full disclosure she is also, someone I’ve had a few casual physical encounters with. Life’s to short to just experience one gender 😉 Usually its just making out but it isn’t a secret that the two of us find each other attractive, and she is poly-amorous. We therefore spent some time making out at the bar.
“Vanilla,” though thought that this was us seeking his attention. Again, there are a certain amount of straight men who only view sex as one thing! And in their minds it can only involve them and their penises. After the bar closed she and I joined “Vanilla” and his friend for more drinks at his friends studio apartment. I was definitely down for a repeat of our first encounter. Especially because he was attractive, and having hope he didn’t actually cheat on his girlfriend I did hope there was something more there.
Once at his friends studio apartment. I was more than happy to separate from my girl friend and his friend and just make out in the kitchen. I was enjoying where the night was going, hoping we’d end up back at his place eventually. Because it was his friends studio apartment however, he pulled me into the bathroom. At first I was so down. I am a pretty kinky person after all and I was so disappointed to have been stood up. Things started to escalate and I was definitely enjoying myself.
Up until one little moment. There was a moment where he asked me to get down on my knees and I and suddenly I felt really small. I just looked at him. He could tell something was wrong and immediately stopped. Even though he respectfully stopped, I wanted to cry. I realized that this was someone I wanted to want to see me again. But to him, I was just a girl he could pull into a bathroom and get off. There was a reason I had never heard back from him the first time. I told him I wanted to go home and he very respectfully helped me exit the bathroom.
My friend took me home, where I vented about how small that whole thing made me feel. On the way back I started texting him just how angry I was. I went off. Like really went at him. He apologized. But I kept going. I realize now after talking about it with a counselor friend of mine that this was a “shame response.” I was lashing out because I felt ashamed. Because I felt used and small. Because of how disappointed I was that this person who seemed to have such a connection with me when I first met him, only saw me as one thing.
A few days later I tried to thank him for stopping when he realized how uncomfortable I was and tried to explain lashing out was keeping me from bursting out into tears. But I never heard back, solidifying that he just wanted to get off that night.
If you consider a woman less pure after you’ve touched her, maybe you should take a look at your hands.
In reality, he didn’t do anything wrong. He didn’t. There isn’t anything wrong with just wanting to get laid. I’m have nothing against just hooking up. He was respectful and receptive to my comfort level and even respectfully apologized. But I was still just a means to an end for him. I don’t currently understand why you cant have casual sex and also give them more respect than a quicky in a strangers bathroom? I am still a human being after all. And that is what still has me angry.
I really could have hooked up with him and moved on with my life, but why did it have to be immediately in that moment? Why couldn’t he have hung out with the group of us for a bit and then gone back to either of our places afterwards?
I’m not saying that all my interactions with men are this way. But these instances are enough to make me contemplate why? Why is giving into your physical desires more important that another persons value and comfort? Why is it that going on a date with someone automatically means you on track to get hitched?
“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persist. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”
Thoughts To Leave You With
I did not write these to bash men. And I refuse to slut shame myself or anyone else. It’s absurd that women like myself end up feeling less then simply because they have a sex drive. Just because I enjoy sex doesn’t mean I don’t deserve respect. You absolutely can have a one night stand and still treat someone with the respect a human deserves. “Puppy” really should have given me more space for physical intimacy. Of ALL VARIETIES. Since we had been friends for so long, we should have been able to get to a place to be able to have a conversation about what his feelings for me were and what he wanted from me before ANY physical intimacy happened. Including just kissing. It is UNQUESTIONABLY not okay that I was pushing myself to do things I wasn’t comfortable with physically but he wasn’t doing the same for me emotionally. And I hate that its colored our friendship for me negatively. So many times throughout the years he’s been there for me in one way or another. He really was a good friend. Yet I deserved so much better than how any of that went down.
I even vented to “Jack Daniels” about it all recently. Contemplating why we as a culture don’t really “date” the way we used to. We are afraid to just KNOW someone. Knowing someone doesn’t mean you’re committing to them permanently. His response “Whats wrong with taking a girl to dinner and then some ‘shenanigans’ afterwards?”
And all I’ve got to say is, right?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH TAKING A GIRL TO DINNER AND THEN SOME SHENANIGANS AFTERWARDS? Treating a girl to more than a night in you bed after just meeting, (or even in a bathroom) isn’t going to kill you. And it doesn’t mean you have to immediately go steady with her. Hell even if you did just have a one night stand sending a girl a quick “Thank You it was nice to meet you” text is going to make her feel respected. Its not that hard.
Don’t assume that because we like sex that means you can pull us into bathrooms, or kiss us without knowing if we want to kiss you back. Don’t break up with your girlfriends and then start sending us DM’s about how much of a ‘snack’ we are when we assume you are our friends. ( also the friend zone isn’t a real place take rejection like an adult)
When I started these last two posts, I was overwhelmed with uncomfortable and frustrated feelings. But now that they are done, its really easy to see that the problem isn’t with me. It isn’t a problem that I enjoy sex. Or that I enjoy casual sex. The fact that I have self-sabotaged by being a people pleaser has dramatically been brought to my attention. Past that, the problem is not with me. Or women like me. But with men who refuse to face their feelings. With men who continue to see women as mere sex objects, whether that is their intention or not.
I will never compromise what I am comfortable with for the sake of someone else ‘liking’ me again. Especially for people who wont do the same for me. In romantic relationships, friendships, or even with family. I already have practices in place to make sure even one night stands treat me like a human being. I am positively worth more than that. I am worth getting to know, and the men that are out there who can handle that are out there.
Thank You so much for reading these last two posts. If you liked what you read or have relatable experiences please leave comments. If anyone is interested in getting email updates for when I post please leave a comment. If I get enough interest I will work on getting an email subscription set up!
“You are all wondrously made, girls. Remember that: wondrously made, and you should carry your sex proudly, a badge of honor.
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Hello fellow Adventurers! I know its been a LONG time, but I am back and ready to tackle this New Year and tell you more of the ridiculous adventures from my life. I have been working on this piece for WEEKS now. Originally it was going to be a quick vent about certain things involved in jumping back into the dating game. The more I wrote the more I realized I had a lot to process and A LOT to say! So it grew into multiple pieces, I really hope you decide to read all of them!
If you hadn’t guessed from the title already this post is going to be about my sex life. So anyone who isn’t comfortable knowing about my sex life might want to stop reading now. For the rest of you, buckle in and get ready to know me just a little bit better. Specifically some of the more bizarre, uncomfortable and negative experiences I’ve had recently.
Here’s the thing, I am no stranger to sex. Sorry mom and dad if you haven’t figured that out yet… surprise! Really though my parents were pretty sex positive. Though it wasn’t something we discussed in great length or detail; they made sure I had a responsible education on the matter and it was never something they made me feel like I should be ashamed of.
Like many people my first sexual experience was less than ideal. In writing about my first heartbreak I wrote about how my college boyfriend was my first experience, however its what I consider my first real and good sexual experience. In reality, I was with my high school boyfriend and he was in the military and he basically guilt-ed me into it. He was being stationed out of state and leaving soon and made me feel like I owed it to him. He was still living with his parents at the time and we “fit time in quickly” while they were out. I was uncomfortable, I felt rushed, and it was painful. I know a lot of woman say that its a myth that your first time hurts, I’m making the assumption that mine did because it wasn’t a situation I was comfortable with and therefore wasn’t relaxed. After we broke up he told just about everyone we knew how much a “lousy lay” I was.
If you consider a woman less pure after you’ve touched her, maybe you should take a look at your hands.
One of the things I miss the most about being in a long term relationship is that I really really enjoy sex. And when you have a long term partner, you spend time getting to know what each others likes and dislikes are. You spend the time getting better at it. That is if you’re in a healthy enough relationship to communicate about it. My last long term boyfriend and I (Lets nickname him “Jack Daniels”) weren’t very good at communicating about most things, but sex we were really good at communicating about.
In fact as our relationship started to fall apart instead of working on what was actually bothering us, we for some reason thought if we worked even more at our sex life it would start to fix things. Needless to say… it didn’t. Because of that, I started to feel like I was exchanging sex for attention and it made me no longer enjoy sex. So after we broke up, not only was the thought of sleeping with anyone new daunting but my sex drive was basically gone.
You would think that because I was terrified of putting myself out there with a new partner, not having a sex drive wouldn’t be a problem for awhile. But for some reason this wasn’t the case. Maybe its because I reeked of desperation after the breakup, or maybe these things always happen to me but I’m better at putting up boundaries when I’m in a relationship. But people just kind of started popping up, throwing themselves at me, and “Vulturing.” Vulturing, as I’ve learned, is when people wait for a failing relationship to die to just swing in and take advantage of the heartbroken person they’ve had a crush on. It was overwhelming, and it was hard to know how to navigate because I craved love and affection so badly.
It would be one thing if these people were having conversations with me. Asking me out, or actually confessing feelings they’ve had. But that wasn’t what was happening. I was being ambushed, and its not the first time men have done this to me.
Why Do You Feel Entitled to My Body Just Because I’m Single?
Right after “Panda,” my college boyfriend and I broke up, I was determined to live it up without him. I drove into the city to celebrate New Years Eve with friends. We drank, and danced, and took pictures. It was amazing to be having fun again. Up until we got back to our friends house, the night was amazing. At that point the 6 or 7 of us all found places to sleep in her living room. There was a pullout couch that two of us nabbed, and a few people got comfy on the floor. The guy sleeping next to me had also gone through a breakup earlier that year, with one of my really good girlfriends. He rolled over and started making out with me. I stopped it, but because I was drunk it took me longer than it should have. At first affection felt good, but this wasn’t something I was comfortable doing with my friends ex. So I got up, he was drunk and not thinking it seemed like the best option was to move to the floor.
As I joined the others on the floor, another male friend must have taken that as an invitation. Like I had moved to purposefully get closer to him or something. And also started trying to make out with me. The worst part was, the girl who I knew had a crush on him was lying on the other side of him. I know she saw because she had strategically placed herself next to him hoping she would be the one he rolled over and kissed. At this point I was thinking much faster and immediately got up again.
Hoping the first guy had gone to sleep on the couch I made my way back to the pullout. He hadn’t. As I tried to go to sleep he stripped down naked next to me, and started pawing at me. Clearly he was out of his mind because we were in a room full of people. I got frustrated and told him to stop as quietly as I could to not wake anyone else or call attention to what was happening. I moved again and found a spot on the floor that wasn’t next to anyone. I was so uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be kissing either of these people
Both of these men saw an opportunity and went for it. They didn’t ask, I didn’t give either of them a reason to think that’s what I wanted. They just thought they could kiss another human being and expected it to be reciprocated. These guys were my friends! But it didn’t matter. To make matters worse, I didn’t have any control of the narrative after that night. The girl on the floor had seen what happened and chose to believe I betrayed her, and told people I did. She never forgave me. The guy from the couch got to tell his ex girlfriend I was responsible about what happened.
I really never have understood this behavior. I know there is the mentality that women want a partner to dramatically just push them against a wall and kiss them. But the truth is we want that from people we’ve already consented to. We definitely don’t want it to come out of nowhere from just anybody. We watch movies and television were the “accidental” drunken evening either leads to a romance or is an excuse to live out pent up feelings of attraction with someone. And that’s just not a responsible narrative. Just because we are there and YOU are interested doesn’t mean you can just attack our face. Reality Check! You can ask permission to kiss someone and it absolutely doesn’t ruin the moment.
That was almost 10 years ago and its something that I notice still happens all the time to a lot of people. After “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, someone very very close to me, we will call him”Puppy,” did something rather similar. It didn’t seem bad at first but the more I step back and look at it the more uncomfortable the whole thing makes me.
What Ever Happened To Just Asking A Girl Out?
“Puppy,” and I had been friends for at least 8 years. He was one of my closest and best friends. I will never buy into the argument that men and women cant be friends because “sex always comes up.” It’s a childish notion. If that were true that would mean anyone who is anything other than straight would never be able to have friends. That argument says we are not in control of our actions, when in fact we are. If you just cant control yourself around EVERYONE you find attractive… you need to seek serious help. And in my personal opinion, if you’re with a partner that can’t handle their jealously over your platonic friends, just get out of that relationship. It means they don’t trust you, and more often than not its not going to work out because of that anyway.
I never really thought of “Puppy,” that way. Its definitely not that he wasn’t attractive! I just didn’t consider it. We were friends and my attentions were elsewhere. There was a moment about 2 years prior that “Jack Daniels,” and I had been on the outs. He would do this thing where he would disappear for days and sometimes weeks at a time. We hadn’t exactly split up but we were at a difficult crossroads and I was tired of routinely being put on hold or jerked around. I had dabbled in putting myself out there again.
“Puppy” knew this. We had both gone out to the pride parade and ended up having a few drinks back at my place watching movies with a group of friends. After everyone else left he just started making out with me. At first I didn’t really mind. We were just enjoying the moment. And as far as I was concerned I was tired of “Jack Daniels” treating me like an option so I could do whatever I wanted. But after awhile I realized its not something I wanted to do. So I told him to stop, and fortunately he did. He asked me if I was Okay or uncomfortable and I told him I just didn’t want to be doing that. We never really talked about it after that. Things just sort of fell back to normal so I made the assumption it was an in the moment thing and that it wasn’t a big deal. “Jack Daniels” and I made up soon after that and reconnected. I even ended up telling him about the encounter, even he wasn’t threatened or hurt by it.
It wasn’t until last year, after “Jack Daniels” and I broke up, that I realized it was absolutely something “Puppy” and I should have talked about. I was devastated after the breakup. We had been together for 4 years and had seen each other off and on for at least two years before that. “Puppy,” being one of my oldest and best friends, was one of the main people I was reaching out to to get through it. Things immediately felt different and weird. He asked me if I wanted to meet up to talk about what I was going through, and took me to get burgers. I sat in front of him and cried about it for most of the night. We took a walk and I kept talking about it until we ended up at a park, that conveniently, overlooked all the lights of the city.
This is where my gut started to realize something about this felt off/different. He pushed me on the swings, where I cried some more, and we climbed over the jungle gym and went down the slide. He kept ‘happening’ to bump into me or crash into me on the slide. Then he’d linger for a minute and I’d instinctively put my head down because I got the vibe he was going to try to kiss me. He was always a touchy person, but my gut started feeling like he was doing it more than his usual self. It all felt so…. strategic. Thank god my stomach was KILLING me from the burger place we ate at. I really needed to go home and it was an excellent excuse to head back.
I really wanted to believe that it was just his normally overly physical self just trying to be comforting. He walked me to my car. Hugged me a little longer than normal… still I had been crying all day. He looked at me, and again I immediately put my head down, where he ended up kissing my forehead.
I really want to stress that “Puppy,” has always been a really affectionate and touchy person with everyone. He loves holding his friends hands platonic, is open about talking about it, and really enjoys when a large group of friends cuddles close on a couch when watching movies. Touch is absolutely his love language. So, despite that fact that it sounds like I was being purposefully naive, it was pretty easy to convince myself he was just using his love language to help a grieving friend in front of him. Or maybe I just really WANTED that to have been what was happening.
One evening we went to the movies, we had gone to see the new live action Aladdin, we were both huge Disney fans after all. It was a packed weekend matinee, with families and kids, we settled in with our giant pile of snacks and were ready to watch. Not even 10 min into the movie he had put his arm around me, again this not being super unusual, I just relaxed into it. Except at that point he leaned over and full on starting just MACKING on me. Like intensely. I remember freezing at first because I felt AMBUSHED. I subtly tried to pull back because we were SURROUNDED BY KIDS AND FAMILIES. But he wasn’t getting the hint.
I want to take a minute here to point out something about human behavior. When we feel scared or uncomfortable. Its no longer just “fight or flight.” Its “Fight, Flight, Freeze, or Fawn.” For years psychology said our reactions were to either: fight back or run away when scared or uncomfortable. However studies are proving that many people or animals will also either “freeze” which is pretty straight forward we literally just like deer in the headlights just freeze, or “fawn,” which is the idea that we make whatever is making us uncomfortable also feel safe and wanted. For example if someone was kidnapped and had the instinct to “fawn,” they would say things that would make the kidnapper feel like they are friends and that they understand them. In an attempt to get them to let their guard down or just encourage them not to hurt them.
My point is in this instance, I froze. I kind of just kept letting him kiss me, eventually I think he realized I wasn’t kissing him back and we went back to watching the movie. After the movie he walked me to the car, we already had plans to meet a group of friends at an event downtown after the movie and we were taking separate cars. He again kissed me. I again froze, not really knowing what to do or how I felt about it. I felt overwhelmed. I BROKE DOWN into tears on my drive downtown. I felt bombarded not only by his actions but also the huge amount of new information to take in. No matter what, it meant a complete change in a long standing friendship dynamic. I did deep down always suspect he had feelings because of the pride incident but I didn’t really KNOW. And I definitely didn’t know how I felt about it because I was still grieving my lost relationship and it was never something I had considered.
Later that night at the downtown event, he continued to “make moves.” Even my other friends at the event were concerned. They kept pulling me aside and asking me if I was okay. I kept explaining I just needed to figure out what to say to him. However this time he was finally picking up on the fact that I wasn’t really fully reciprocating. Having had a little bit of time to process all of this new information, that and a few drinks to help relax, I was finally able to tell him the truth. I was surprised and overwhelmed, I didn’t know how I felt about the whole thing. Most importantly I needed to tell him that everything that happened with “Jack Daniels” had killed my sex drive and physical intimacy was something I wasn’t comfortable with at the time. Like a good friend he said he understood. That didn’t matter to him, and embraced me.
Something about my comfort and feelings being acknowledged had a tranquilizing effect on me. Suddenly a possible future with one of my oldest and dearest friends seemed like an enchanting idea. We got along so well already, we knew so much about each other, plus hes defiantly an attractive person. The discomfort and negative emotions I felt earlier were gone and all at once I was extremely open to the opportunity.
Despite the fact that I had pushed him away all night and confessed my discomfort with sex/physical intimacy at that time. We made out on the dance floor the rest of the night, because our brief conversation made me feel safe. (I will also point out that my drunk alter ego just really enjoys making out with people lol)
It was nice to end the evening on a more positive note. The next day we went to lunch, things were different, but we still didn’t talk about what was happening. How he felt, or what he was looking for. It was so early on I thought it was okay because why push anything? As the days went by we definitely talked more often than we normally did. We flirted for the first time in our history of knowing each other. It was fun. At a time in my life when I needed to remember I was someone worth wanting, it was alleviating. But I still wasn’t exactly sure what was happening, and I still wasn’t sure what I wanted from the whole thing. I needed to keep the sex boundary because I really wasn’t at a place where I was comfortable with that with any one.
Despite that though, sex inevitably came up in almost every conversation. If you were to ask him now, he would probably disagree with that statement. He felt like just verbally exploring our likes and dislikes didn’t mean he was pushing sex. Because he wasn’t “asking me for sex” he just wanted to know. Not just wanted to know, but in his defense, was looking to make sure we were comparable enough to keep exploring the possibility of a relationship. Sex is a huge part of any romantic relationship after all, and he had some very specific kinks. VERY SPECIFIC. And truthfully my kinks were somewhat similar, so despite the head space I was in at the time, I would ultimately end up embracing the conversations. Which I acknowledge ended up giving mixed signals. Not just to him but to myself and what I really wanted at the moment. The desire to be wanted pushed me want to do whatever made him happy.
As time went on, we texted. (Or more specifically snap-chatted that will be important eventually) All the time. But we were both such busy people that we weren’t really able to spend time together. The first time we got to hang out after being downtown together we stayed in and watched movies. I remember sitting on the couch with him, as I drank a glass of wine. He kept pulling me closer and making out with me.
He didn’t even give me time or space to put my glass of wine down! It was actually rather awkward. It kept escalating to more than just making out as his hands were all over me. I enjoyed making out! However I’m not going to lie, I remember being annoyed and uncomfortable as he was so focused on physical activity I had to inconveniently kept just trying to keep my wine glass balanced in my hand. The point where he finally stopped is when he started encouraging me to start ‘touching’ him back. That’s when he checked in to see if I was comfortable, since he “knew how I felt about sex right now.” I told him no I didn’t want to go any further and we stopped. Before he left, there was a little more making out, and because it was a thing we had verbally established we enjoyed, some “spanking,” happened before he left.
This isn’t even close to the end of the story, however I want to talk about this for a second. The more I think about this night the more baffled I am at certain straight cis men, because somehow we have different definitions of what counts as “sex.” That night his hands were all over me. ALL OVER ME. And yes it was consensual, it felt good, I was enjoying myself. Nevertheless I still would have rather been watching the movie and drinking my wine and enjoying that TIME with him. But from the experiences I had with him. Including that night. I’m assuming in his mind, sex is only defined when a penis is involved. In fact he made a point to tell me “no penetration until your ready.” Which don’t get me wrong I appreciated. I appreciated that he was TRYING to understand my perspective and give me space. His intentions where to put my comfort first. However when I said I wasn’t comfortable with sex, I meant MY definition of sex. Which includes all of the things that for example a lesbian couple would also classify as sex. His hands exploring me EVERYWHERE, that to me counted as sex. His incorporating kinks like spanking, counts as sexual.
The next day I texted him and let him know I still wasn’t comfortable with sex still, though clearly I didn’t do a good enough job of explaining what I meant. Also, in retrospect I was at war with myself about it. I wasn’t comfortable with what was happening, however I thought that’s what I needed to do to make him happy. Or really to have anyone be interested in me. Which was my error, and very unhealthy of me. If I had made a stronger clearer boundary, our interactions hopefully would have been very different.
This is how our dynamic continued for awhile. We would talk every day, always incorporating verbal kinks and one way or another something physical would come up. And the few times we spent actual time together it was a very similar experience. As time when on I did slowly get to be more comfortable with the idea of physical intimacy and sex and I embraced it more and more. But again I was at war with myself about it and was pushing myself harder than I should have at the time. We still never talked about any sort of feelings or about the change in dynamic. So I started asking. I explicitly asked things that I thought were important. Such as: “How long have you felt that way?” and “What about me made you want to change the dynamic?” His only response was, “lets ‘define’ this later,” which isn’t an answer to either of the questions I asked. And didn’t really have anything to do with what I was asking. In no way is wanting to know how long and why someones into you asking to define a relationship.
Again though, when it came to physical penetration he continued to draw a line, which I was so grateful for. In fact it made me feel somehow closer to him. That’s when he started bringing up a very specific kink that he had. Now I cannot and will not ever in good conscious “Out” another persons kink, OR kink shame in any way. So I’m going to to my best to tell this part of the story while not giving away to much.
This was a role playing kink. So pushing forward with it, in his perspective didn’t classify as sex. More of a dynamic and a mindset. Part of that role playing kink is something that I’ve always enjoyed and participate in quite a lot. In regards to a Dom/Sub relationship. I’m pretty open about the fact that I’m naturally a sub, and I have no shame. His specific want though, was something more intense than anything I’ve ever done.
No matter what my feelings on sex at the time, I am really big on embracing my partners kinks. I really enjoy and get turned on by knowing I’m making someone else feel good. And until then I had been fortunate enough to be with partners who were excellent at communicating through everything, especially if it was something new or asking a lot of me. “Jack Daniels,” for example was especially good at continually checking in on my comfort level. So when “Puppy” started bringing it up, I wanted to be all about it, yet I still felt like sexually we were moving to fast.
When he brought up moving forward with some of the more non physical aspects I finally did do a bit of a better job at expressing my comfort level. I specifically remember telling him, I was definitely open to embracing that with him but reminded him I was still not ready for anything. I specifically remember telling him we needed to slow down a bit, that I wasn’t against the idea as a whole, but all of this was SEXUAL to me. When he oddly…. felt like that was his way of showing “affection.”
That didn’t really detour him from moving forward. One day he showed up at my door for a hangout (still no actual date!) With an object relating to the kink. An object that reflects the idea of ownership. Which isn’t something casual, even within the BDSM community getting to that point is a big deal. He presented it to me as a “surprise,” like one would do an engagement ring! He was expecting me to be thrilled. Instead, I froze. I really froze. I didn’t move or speak for probably a good 5 to 10 minutes. I could feel the blood drain from my face. This was to much to fast. This was so presumptuous. This was pushing something. My head spun, I went through all the things I should say, and all the things I had already said. I thought to myself, I did tell him I wasn’t against the idea, but I thought I had clearly indicated I wasn’t ready.
He saw the look on my face and was devastated. He had expected me to respond with glee, and instead, I wasn’t saying anything. He sat me down on the couch and began “lecturing” me about how I needed to communicate. How important communicating was and he couldn’t know unless I told him what I was feeling. This from the man who REFUSED to answer simple questions about what he was feeling. The Audacity! When it came to communication he was all about getting into deep detail about a sexual relationship but wouldn’t go near feelings or even the logistics of changing our friendship.
Story To Be Continued…
Things To Think About
I am a constantly working on being a self-aware person. I have spent a lot of time over the last year stepping back and looking at my habits and how I contribute to ending up in these situations. I see where I should be firmer in setting boundaries. I see that I have a history of being a people pleaser and how that works against my self interest.
That being said, that doesn’t mean men should be allowed to invade my personal space just because they make the ASSUMPTION that its okay. Because they HOPE I am interested in them too. It isn’t okay that I get to sit and take responsibility for my self destructive habits when they cant take responsibility for their feelings or how their actions impact other people. Maybe they didn’t know I was uncomfortable, but why did they think it was okay to just kiss me without permission to begin with? Whether I ‘allowed’ them to or not. Whether I kissed them back or not. If you do not already have an established physical or sexual history with someone, you do NOT have permission to touch them. Just because I am single and enjoy sex doesn’t mean I want you. What wrong with asking a girl out? Or telling them how you feel? Why is it their first instinct to jump directly into physical activity? Even on a casual sex level I guarantee you asking “can I kiss you” doesn’t ruin the moment. Even a kiss can be a big deal physically for some people. Stop telling yourself it isn’t.
I enjoy sex. I enjoy casual sex. Not every interaction has to be because you want a future with that person. However that DOES NOT mean I don’t also deserve respect.
Thank You for reading the first half of this story. Please check back in later in the week for the rest of it as well as a few more. In the meantime tell me what you thought. Spill the tea about experiences you’ve had that made you angry or uncomfortable. And share this post with your friends, maybe they are going through something similar and need to remember setting boundaries is okay.
“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persist. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist and a feminist – whatever you want to be – and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”
“Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable”
The Tin Man – Wizard of Oz
When I was a little I was always drawn to fairy tales. And ask my mother, it was never because of the romances involved but because they were inherently dark and adventurous. Maybe its because both my parents were the type to remind me there is more to the world than settling down. Or maybe it was because at the time I had an entire world ahead of me. But in my youth I strongly questioned the honest nature of love. Currently I find myself questioning it all over again. Wondering if it were better to have kept that mentality , or to have tried over and over again like I did. Either way I’ve decided its best to express what I’m going through in my life now by going back to the very beginning.
I spent most of my early dating years being the heart breaker. I wasn’t going to attach myself to someone unless it was grand and adventurous. Even when it came to my first high school boyfriend. All my friends had one. So I thought I should to. He was nice enough and attractive enough. But there was so many other things in life that seemed important to me at the time. And that deep connection you’re supposed to have with someone wasn’t there.
I remember thriving on that feeling of being unobtainable. It felt like part of my identity a the time. However, the universe has a way of knocking you down a peg when you get too full of yourself like that. I had just started college and was ready to leave the high school version of myself behind. That’s when I met him. “Panda.”
Panda was unlike any other person I had met before. At the time life just burst out of him. The good and the bad parts. He still believed in magic. He had no time for bulls*%@. We were freshman in college and had the entire world to conquer.
I fell for this man way before I started dating him. When we first met he had a girlfriend. So we started off as friends. We had all the same classes and even worked in the same work study program together. We were freshman in the trenches together. As time went on our friendship got closer and closer. So when he and his girlfriend at the time didn’t work out it just felt natural, like we were supposed to be together. To be honest, over a decade later now, the lines between who he was with and when are blurred. If you were to ask her she’d probably tell you they were still working things out when he and I got together, however I remember trying to be patient. Regardless I know that makes me a bit of the villain here, and spoiler alert Karma did come back for me.
I will always remember the day we got together. He had been feeling distraught about his now ex-girlfriend and needed a friend to talk to about it. We went on a drive and ended up at a scenic overlook watching the sunset. We stayed there talking the whole night. Eventually a blanket came out and we huddled up close to each other to keep warm. Sparks were flying. I knew I had feelings for him but had always done my best to not let it interfere with his relationship. But that relationship was over now.
Before I knew it we were holding hands. It felt natural and forbidden all at the same time. I don’t think either of us even breathed for the first few minutes. Then very slowly and timidly, as if it were written for a movie, we had our first kiss. I felt like my entire body had just exploded. We stayed there kissing, and talking, and cuddling till the sun came up. And then without skipping a beat we went for breakfast. Like it was the most normal thing in the world.
The rest of our relationship seemed just like that. We were young and hungry for romance. Like we were two pieces of the same puzzle. Its funny to think back on it now, how naive and passionate we were. I remember our first Valentines Day together. We made a big fancy pasta dinner, packed it up for a picnic, and drove back up to the scenic overlook we had our first kiss at. We were each others “firsts” in a lot of ways. We got to explore the different aspects of romance and intimacy together at our own youthful and excited pace. He was always my “Panda,” and he called me “Bunny,” and “Baby Girl.” We burned so hot and so fast it was eventually our downfall.
After a year went by we moved in with each other. We had no idea what we were doing. We hadn’t taken the time to really get to know what kind of future the other wanted for themselves. After a year of living together things started to turn sour. The same burning hot fire we put behind our romantic passion we began to put behind our resentments of each other.
We burned each other from the inside out. We tried taking a step back and living separately but that seemed to only divide us more. Nothing one of us did seemed to be enough for the other. Our bitterness and resentment grew. Even as I sit here writing, trying to remember examples of fights we had. They all blur together and I can’t really remember what any of them were about. Some were me being selfish and putting my school grades and needs before his. Some were his extremely short and hot temper. A lot of them came from both of our needs to impress the upperclassmen above us and the kind of people that mentality turned us into.
Until one labor day weekend. After 2 years and 9 months he walked me back to my apartment sat down on my couch and told me it was over. Even though we had constantly been fighting I still hadn’t seen it coming. I was blindsided.
I completely broke down. I struggled in school. I watched as many of the people I thought were my friends chose him over me. It was devastating. I remember my mom, who had never known me to be that kind of broken, had no idea how to help me. She took me to lunch an I just started bawling into my glass of wine in the middle of the restaurant. I will never forget the look on the poor waiters face as he had no idea what to do. I mean what kind of adult openly bawls in public.
We clearly still cared for each other though. I knew at the time he hated coming to school and work and seeing me in so much pain. I missed him so much. He tried being supportive.
To this day I still hear his voice in my head telling me “baby steps Eleanor baby steps.” when I asked him how I was supposed to move on. He confronted people gossiping about me. People picked sides and it was obvious. For some reason when you’re the one showing emotion over a breakup people will make a point of making sure you know you’re being judged. He wasn’t having any of it.
We did inevitably give it one more try a month later. We lasted a couple of weeks. But we were always still fighting. We through a big party for his 22nd birthday. He was clearly in a mood with me from the beginning. Most of that night is a blur but certain moments are forever burned into my memory.
Trigger warning: Domestic Violence.
I remember trying to get him a drink and him grumbling at me. His friend that I had never met before laughing at me. A few hours had gone by and I told him I was going to go home, that it was clear he didn’t want me there and I was uncomfortable. I told him that I didn’t want to ruin his birthday. That’s when he got angry. He marched out the back door insisting that if i didn’t want to be there he was just going to drive me home. I chased after him because he was way to drunk to drive. I asked for his keys so he wouldn’t drive and reassured him I could just walk home.
This did not go over well. I reached to take the keys from his hands and he pushed me in return. Then he pushed me again. I remember him yelling but I can’t remember what about. I turned to go back to the backdoor to get back inside the house. He jumped in front of me. I tried to go around him, and this time he pushed me to the ground. I tried to crawl around to the door. I managed to get it open, he slammed it shut. Pushed me back. Again I went for the door, got it open and had my hands gripping the door frame as he pulled me back away from it feet now completely off the ground. He slammed the door again and threw me to the ground.
I remember screaming for help. Knowing people where inside at the party, my friends. As we kept opening and slamming the door again. No one did anything. This wasn’t a subtle situation, I was screaming and the door was repeatedly slamming. Finally I managed to get around him an through the door. I bee lined it through the house, grabbed my purse, and ran out the front door. By now I was covered in dirt and had lost my shoes. Two people followed me out front. Two. One was a girl I had ALWAYS been cruel to, the other was his friend I had never met before who had laughed at me earlier. Both came out to make sure I was okay.
Not a single one of my friends at that party said or did anything. The girl I had been cruel to in the past drove me home. The next morning, like many relationships with this dynamic, we ‘worked things out.’ And kept trying but not for much longer. One day, I realized he was getting closer and closer with another woman. Just like he did when he and I first got together. Karma’s a b%*ch right?
I remember lashing out. I stormed out of his bedroom and honestly expected him to follow me. He didn’t. I immediately regretted it. But it was to late. We were over again and this time for good. I had lost the first person I had ever loved. And just like my fear suspected. Not even 2 days later he had started dating this new girl.
I felt abandoned. And not just by him. More and more people I thought were my friends were making it clear they were picking sides and that it wasn’t mine. I kept my head up though mostly out of spite. I was going to be okay. They were not going to see me broken.
Sometimes I think back about it and wonder how anyone could do that to someone who was grieving. I know now that most of them never probably liked me to begin with. And maybe rightfully so I was a different person back then and I’m not proud of it. But I’ve also realized how so many people just do not want to deal with someone who outwardly experiences emotion. Its taboo. Those kinds of people honestly don’t even like dealing with their own emotions. So its just better for people to pretend they are better than you.
“Panda” and his next girlfriend didn’t last long. But it did last long enough for me to make strides in getting over him. To this day I am still pretty sure he dated her to give us both an out. He recognized before I did that we were toxic for each other. That you can love someone but that doesn’t mean you’re supposed to be with them. That we would keep repeating the same on and off pattern till we destroyed each other.
It seems strange to admit but I am grateful he dated her. Because we managed to get our friendship back for a few more years. He even helped me through a few other hard times and self doubt in the years to come.
“You’re a legend,” he would say “you’re Eleanor Mother F*ing Smith don’t forget that.”
I learned so much from that experience. How to forgive. How to keep going. That just because you love someone doesn’t mean you’re meant to be. We stayed friends for awhile. Mostly out of time and distance, though we don’t keep in touch as often. But I still miss him fondly. Not in a romantic way but I miss his friendship. I still hear his voice in my head when I’m going through hard times. So far in my life I have yet to meet someone who really saw me an knew me the way he did at that time.
Thinking back I’m amazed how far “Panda” and I have come. I am not that person anymore, I was in retrospect, always criticizing him and didn’t appreciate him when things were good. And I am really proud of how far he has come, I can say with absolute certainty he is no longer the guy who pushed me around the back yard that night. He saw that he was wrong, he never made excuses or tried to diminish the trauma it caused me.
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