Oh hey there! It’s been forever that I’ve written – or read – longform blog content, but I’ve felt it’s an underutilised outlet. So yeah. Hi.
I was feeling a little nostalgic, so I wanted to write down my tangential brushes with dating life. Hope you enjoy!
Trigger warnings for suicidal ideations, self harm, general mental health issues, sexual assault (kinda. at least dubious consent).
Oof. Fun times, huh?
While I’m bisexual, I only really discovered that in my mid-twenties and heteronormativity is strong in my love life. Too strong. Being demisexual on top of that made for a late start into all sorts of romance. Well, besides that “boyfriend” I had in primary school for like two weeks that I annoyed so much by being clingy and needy (yikes, foreshadowing much?) that his friend broke up with me for him.
In fact, I had a couple of meaningless crushes in high school, that in hindsight were mostly projection in an attempt to be “normal” and love-struck like everyone around me. I wasn’t really all that into that dude who ended up bullying me with the rest of them. I did have a little crush on my friend’s boyfriend in 10th grade, but that was mostly because he was the first guy who gave me any sort of positive attention, i.e. we were kinda buddies. But also my friend’s boyfriend, so that was a quick stop to that anyway (not that he was into me anyway, sooo…. yeah)
A repeat of that “positive attention=CRUUUSH” came when I was around 17 and had another quickly-burnt out crush on an internet buddy of mine. I don’t think we had all that much in common, but again, it was friendly attention BY A BOY AAAA. As soon as I told him and he turned me down, it suddenly clicked that I wasn’t even that into him and was mostly just a bit embarrassed about the whole thing, and otherwise promptly over it. If only it were always that easy!
The next one was another close friend of mine (we’re establishing a pattern here, pals), and I’ve been told later down the line that for a while he even sorta had feelings for me but was too much of a mess to act on them. Also, I was too needy and obsessive and drove him away. Again, pattern.
Following that was The Big One. G. An online friend who’s always flirted with anything and everything under the sun, including me, so I never really took him seriously. We also had a goddamn rocky friendship, in that there were several periods of time where I’d cut contact with him and he’d got back in touch a couple of weeks or months down the line. When I had a school trip to London coming up (I was 18 at the time, in my last year of school), he suggested we met up, and that we did. On the first night, he tried to kiss me (I awkwardly hugged him instead), told me he had a crush on me, and that was that. The next day, when we met again, I had (*gasp*) my first kiss. I’d hugged him, said I’d really wanted to kiss him just then, he asked why I didn’t, I replied it’d be a very, very bad idea, and then kiss we did. Well, he kissed me. While apparently some classmates peered around the corner, watching us. Awks. And I’m not joking when I say I don’t even remember the kiss. I completely blacked out because my brain just couldn’t handle it.
That was kind of the beginning of the end. I’m kind of joking, but also not. What followed were 2-4 rocky years (with breaks, hence the timespan), of which the highlights and lowlights include:
– Him inviting me to visit him at uni in my autumn school break, him then breaking up with me because I was reluctant to promise him we’d have sex, me still going on that trip, and still sleeping with him, while not together anymore, him going on and on about how much of an asshole he was, while still making that decision, … it was a mess.
– Him wanting an open relationship from the get-go, which, fair, but I didn’t. Instead of breaking up and drawing a line under all that, we stayed together (and broke up. And got back together. And broke up.) and he cheated on me instead. Ironically, with some people that I am now kind of in contact with on the socials.
– Both of us severely grappling with mental health issues and spiralling into abusive behaviour, including me threatening to hurt myself if he broke up with me and harassing him with a lot of phone calls (his parents hate me now, wonder why).
– When we broke up for what would be the final time (for … a while) and I tried getting on with my life/getting over him/enjoying the attention from our guild mates on WoW, he called me a whore on the public chat and said I wanted to fuck our raid leader.
– Both of us kind of alternating with suicidal ideations, including me knocking on a neighbour’s door in a sublet in Berlin, so they would call an ambulance for me, because I wasn’t safe around myself.
Uuuuhh … that raid leader, A? Yeah he’s the only other person in my life I did have sex with. So I mean, he wasn’t wrong.
A, also from the UK, flew out here for my birthday in 2012, basically a very expensive booty call. There’s more I could say about him, but the gist is that he wasn’t the nicest person in the world, in fact thinking back about any of that I’m incredibly embarrassed, but hey, I was trying to heal, he gave me the attention I craved, that’s the end of that story.
Then there was another A, A 2.0 so to speak, who was an American exchange student at our uni and part of our English Drama Group. I was completely oblivious to his advances (including him calling me one evening asking me out on a “night cap” – our director had given him my number freely, which I’m still kind of upset about), until the day of our last performance, when we passed each other behind the stage for our respective stage calls, and he kissed me. Completely taken by surprise (and feeling like, hey, it’s attention, somebody likes you, how dare you turn that down), I just went with it and at that evening’s goodbye party, he got me drunk (well, that’s not fair to put it like that, he got everyone drunk as he made the cocktails), we made out more, and when I left early and we hugged goodnight, he held me tight so I couldn’t leave/escape, until I broke free. Not pleasant. I still let him walk me home that night.
A couple of days later, the drama group met up again at a pub, I didn’t drink alcohol – when he asked me why, I pointedly said I make fucked up choices when drunk. He got a round of drinks for us all, I had asked for a coke, and to this day I could swear he gave me a coke with rum. I drank it anyway and didn’t say anything.
The same year, G walked back into my life and we started a sort of … thing again for a little while, including our usual problems. In September of that year, I moved to London for a year abroad – plunging myself headfirst into a lot of debt, because I specifically wanted to go to London (not least because I wanted to be close to G, but shh, don’t tell him or past me that); my uni at home didn’t do any Erasmus partnerships with anything in the South of England, so I paid for it all myself and ended up at one of the shitties unis London, and, hell, the UK had to offer. (Legit in the last 10 places of their uni ranking, which I found out years later.) G and I ended up cutting contact again and I tried my hand at dating.
Boy, did I hate it. Some dates were kinda cool. There was this one dude, whose name I’ve forgotten, who was a geologist and pretty fun to be around, but on our date, I had my wallet stolen. He ended up paying to top up my Oyster card so I could get home. Over Christmas break, he then got back with his ex. Oops.
Another one, T, was someone I absolutely wasn’t into whatsoever, but who was a very nice person. We chatted about photography and ate American diner food, and when I ghosted him for a couple of weeks due to being hella depressed, and he asked what was up because he’d thought the date had gone well, I blurted out all of my depressed mess to him. He subsequently continued to check in on me, even once asking my uni counselor to check up on me. Once I also took the train out to spend the night at his place, because I couldn’t really be alone. We cuddled, watched Elementary, I fell asleep to him telling me a story he wanted to write, and had a 4 pm “breakfast” around the corner. When we said goodbye, he said something along the lines of “I think we should kiss more”, so we kissed. I didn’t really want to. But didn’t say so. Again, patterns.
I hated dating. Still hate it. It feels fake to supposedly have a romantic attraction to people I’ve just met. I realise that’s not most people’s realities, but it makes me feel icky. If I’ve known you for a while on a friend basis, it’s an entirely different story. But dating random strangers just fucking sucks.
A couple of weeks after T, I left the UK. I had been horribly depressed (though not because of him), had barely left my room for weeks, barely ate, and was ultimately asked to leave by the uni. This was spring 2013.
There’s nothing to say about my love life of the next couple of years. I stayed on the dating apps, messaged with some people, ultimately got frustrated and lackluster, but never deleted them. I’d kind of written off love.
G, meanwhile, is now happily married in a non-monogamous relationship (good for him, I’m genuinely happy for them). I met his wife, she’s awesome, he doesn’t deserve her, by miles. He and I are no longer in contact today.
Fast forward to 2017, when I fell badly, badly (badly) in love with a friend of mine. Again, patterns. Another A. So … A 3.0? I should’ve just come up with fake names, really.
At first I enjoyed the fact that I could experience those kinds of feelings again, because the only person I’d ever really loved had been G., and when I told this guy about my feelings, he rejected me in the kindest way possible, and we stayed friends. Grew a lot closer, in fact. But it turned dysfunctional, especially because of my tendencies to revolve around someone like a goddamn satellite. At some point I’d have no clue how to function if my two closest friends (him and my “BFF” at the time) didn’t have time for me. My mental health slowly spiralled again, without me catching it. Hell, without my therapist catching it. Not just due to A 3.0, but to … *gestures wildly at everything*.
To this day, A 3.0 was probably the most lasting positive influence on my life. In part due to him, I started therapy again, I got back in touch with my sister, on her terms, instead of trying to bulldoze her with my way, got enough confidence in myself that my anxiety got a lot better and I grew into the person I am today. Nevertheless, we are no longer friends today. It started with my mental breakdown in summer 2018, and a lot of things happened that essentially destroyed our friendship. We have a lot of mutual friends and occasionally his face pops up on my social media and throws me right back into the mess of 2018, but I’m slowly getting over it.
Somewhere down the line I’ve also discovered and smashed that heteronormative lens. I’m not just exclusively attracted to men, it’s just that I don’t even know how to begin dating other people. While I’m already fairly under-experienced in the romance and sex department, I’m even LESS experienced when it comes to, for example, women. How do. I feel very useless.
Which brings us to today. 7 years since my last relationship (and, uh, since I had sex), roughly 6 years and 10 months since I last kissed anyone. Talk about a drought.
I’m slowly veering away from any traditional forms of dating, knowing full well that years and YEARS ago I’ve been given enough signs that that life just ain’t for me. I think polyamorous constellations would be what is healthiest for my life. No pressure to be the one romantic/sexual be all end all for one person, and for them to not have to fulfull that daunting role for me.
Heck, I’ve semi-joked about how I’d love to be the attachée/girlfriend of a married couple, but not gonna lie to you, that kind of sounds ideal right now. But go find me that unicorn.
Looking back on all of this, it’s also worrying how shy I’ve always been about standing up for what I (don’t) want. Especially when it comes to affection and attentin, there’s a lot of “I should be grateful for this” and “I don’t wanna reject anybody”. Whoever does come next for me had better be ready for the fact that they’re the first one to touch me in 7 years, and that comes with its own set of issues.
Due to some, um, interesting developments on Twitter over Christmas, I’ve found that there are apparently people in my life who are attracted to me. And it’s just so wild to me. I’ve never really seen myself that way. Not in a low-confidence sort of way, it’s just never crossed my mind. I’ve never been actually wanted by anyone, I was always just there, convenient. Even for G. … especially for G.
So I don’t know.