Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Valentine's Day has never meant much to me.  When I was little, my dad used to leave cards and candy on the kitchen table when he left for work so we'd see it when we got up in the morning.  I dated Brian over the course of three Valentine's Days and I can only remember details from one.  I met Aaron in December and had already had my heart broken by him twice by the following Valentine's Day.

I've just moved into my new house this year, and I spent my Valentine's Day working, then going grocery shopping and eating oven-cooked eggrolls with my dog watching Disturbia.  One of my roommates has a serious boyfriend who stays at the house with us most of the time - they went out to dinner, the other roommate went out with a girlfriend to console her over a breakup she experienced last year on V-Day.  Yesterday I wrote about a new guy I'd been talking to that I'd met on the Internet.  Today, I feel like crying.

It's not exactly rejection that I'm feeling, so much as a sense of disappointment and frustration.  Without even having physically met each other in person, he has decided that he will not be available enough to get to spend enough time getting to know me, and according to him, I'm too picky to be looking for something long-term.  I told him that I can't stand country music and I like guys that can grow a beard.  He said that those were interesting priorities for someone looking for a long term relationship.  I said that I know what I like, I know what I want, so if I'm going to look for someone to keep around for awhile, I should have what I want, right?  I'll never apologize for knowing what I want and seeking it.

I cringe at the idea of meeting people on the internet.  I think that it's tacky and there's a huge amount of stigma attached to it.  My older sister (yes, the crazy one) meets people all the time, all over the place.  She meets so many people, it's scary.  I think that might be the only quality of hers that I envy.  She's such an extrovert and she's able to strike up a conversation with anyone, anywhere.  She makes fun of me to no end because I have so often met people on the Internet before meeting them in person.  When I met Dave (enough with the aliases for this guy, being the jackass he's turned out to be), I was excited because he was the first person I'd physically met in person that liked me in who knows how long.  I was excited to be actively pursued for the first time in 5 years by someone I hadn't met over the Internet.  And then it bombed.  So I resorted back to using the Internet, only to feel the same hopelessness and confusion I've felt before.

I don't want to marry someone I met over the Internet.  I want to do it the "old-fashioned" way where he strikes up a conversation with me at some random place and he pursues me.  I've never - not once - met someone that way.  I've met guys at parties, at clubs, at work, on blind dates set up by mutual friends, and over the Internet, but never while I'm out in the world just going about my life have I met someone who has then asked me out.  I've never met someone who asks for my phone number when I'm out shopping or running errands or anywhere by myself. 

There's a column that runs in the New York Times called Modern Love, and I really enjoy reading it.  It's written by random people, about all sorts of things that are modern and that have to do with love.  Affairs, dating, struggles with marriage, divorce, bed bugs, you name it.  They're having an essay contest for college students to write about their experiences with "modern love," with a prize of $1,000 and publication of the essay.  I'd LOVE to write about my plights with dating, but my stories have no subject aside from that my every molecule drips with longing to have a companion with whom I can spend the rest of my days.  The essay I read that won the contest two years ago said,
"So when my friends and I started having a conversation about the nature of monogamy, I thought I knew something about monogamy. Because, despite the fleeting nature of most of my encounters, and despite my own role in their short duration, I think what I have been seeking in some form from all of these men is permanence.
Sometimes I don’t like them, or am scared of them, and a lot of times I’m just bored by them. But my fear or dislike or boredom never seems to diminish my underlying desire for a guy to stay, or at least to say he is going to stay, for a very long time."
I think that's very well-put.  The guys I have attempted to date in the last year or so have all been wishy-washy about wanting to be in a relationship of any kind.  On the free dating site I've been using, there are several options for you to tell people why you're using the site, the choices of which are: hang out, long-term, dating, friends, or intimate encounter.  I've put that I'm looking for something long-term, and that I'm actively seeking a relationship.  I don't know how else to put it out there that I want something serious and I want it to last awhile.

I've recently decided that I'm not going to sleep with the next person I date unless I am sure that I love them.  I am sick and tired of sex putting unnecessary pressure on whatever connection I have with someone, and so I am going to take it out of the equation altogether.  I've done the dating without sex thing, I've done the sex without dating thing, but I really want the intimacy that having a serious relationship brings.  I'm by no means a slut, but I'm not completely old-fashioned in my dating ways that I would wait until marriage to sleep with someone.  I just don't want to go in that direction with someone I'm not going to keep around for awhile.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I know for a fact that marriage is not the be-all and end-all and is by no means any kind of solution to any problem.  I know that it creates more problems than it solves for certain.  I have enough problems of my own without throwing a relationship into it, and I think that if I were to get into a relationship that I was very happy with and have it end suddenly, I would probably be thrown headfirst into a tailspin of depression I would likely not emerge from for quite some time.  I am probably putting myself at great risk by even attempting to get into any kind of relationship until I can be sure that the end of said relationship would not reverse all the work I've done.

I don't often cry for myself, and I feel sorry for myself exponentially less now than I did just 5 short months ago, but I could really go for a good cry right now.  I'd like to not do it here at work if I can help it, and I feel sorry for Phoenix that he probably won't get any excitement out of me when I get home from work today, but I can just about guarantee that I will probably dissolve into a little Beth puddle when I get home.  After stopping for some pity-party refreshments for myself.

I wonder less and less what it is that is wrong with me that I can't attain or maintain a relationship with a man, and I think that's progress.  It's just that every time a possibility presents itself and then dissolves into nothingness, the question creeps back into my head and it sets me back a bit in what I consider to be recovery from 4+ years of unhealthy self-image.  I know that there are plenty of people out there with no self-esteem, major mental issues and past relationship baggage who are in long-term (if not successful) relationships (ahem, Former Bestie), but they'll never work on themselves.  Would I rather work on myself and my relationship with me than with another person?  Would I be more successful later on in a relationship with someone if I work out my own shit right now?  These are questions to which I don't know the answer, and I feel like I'm getting off track with what I was feeling and now it's gone.  So that's blog post #2 for the day, I guess.  There may still be a third.

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