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1.13.2012

2012 Challenge: Platonic Relationships Only!

me and my best homegirl, sarah jaye
I have one too many times been called a "serial monogamist" by my close friends. I used to consider this a compliment. I would think, "how great and lucky I am to find these men who all want to be in a serious committed relationship with me!" Even the couple of them that didn't want to be committed with me, I would think, "how great and lucky I am to at least have romantic connections with men in my life at all times....always a boy to text message and flirt with."

And then, the collections of immense heartbreak and constant disappointment caught up to me. I found myself wondering how it could be so, that I'd be hugging my bathroom floor again, completely devastated from yet another failed relationship, when the truth is, I knew I deserved better than that person (and the one before him... and the one before him.) even from the get-go and usually didn't feel a genuine connection to him anyway. Did I manage to find all that was good in these men and grow to genuinely love them? Yes, I did. But I wasn't in love with them. I was maybe in love with the idea of them, but not them. There are a couple exceptions, of course, a couple special chaps exempt from these truths. But mostly I have spent the last seven years jumping from one relationship to another, with hardly any breaks in between. Why? Well, the sugar-coated way of putting it, is I enjoy companionship! But what it really is, is that I'm afraid to be alone. I admit it. And what's worse, is that I have consciously chosen to gravitate towards the more broken and troubled ones. Why? Because catering to others' fears and insecurities has allowed me to avoid dealing with my own.

In college, I found myself faced with the daunting revelation that everything I thought I was great at, I maybe wasn't as great in as I had thought. I found myself feeling like I had no talents, nothing I could really call my niche. But what I did know for certain, was that I had this amazing ability to help others feel good and loved and better about themselves. So I made that my number one hobbie, being sure to reach out only to those who needed help the most, because making others feel good, made me feel better about myself. But then once things ended, I found myself desperate and devastated on my own, quickly looking for someone else to love and support, when really, I just needed to be giving that love and support to myself. Suddenly, being named a "serial monogomist" didn't sound like such a healthy or admirable thing to be called.

After what was probably one of the worst/twisted break ups I have ever heard of/imagined (my own, about a year and a half ago..stay tuned--full story to come in a book I'll hopefully someday find the discipline to write), I told myself ENOUGH. No more dating the sad and broken. Better yet, no more dating for awhile. Hello. How about that idea, Jen? Not only did I need some serious time to recover from yet another flop of a relationship, I desperately needed some time to recover from the very shocking and traumatizing events that led up to that specific breakup. While I managed not to take anyone too seriously after that for a good year, I still found myself attracted to some troubled men who I did engage with momentarily, one of which was a crazy, out of this world affair that only lasted a few weeks (another book to be written). But even still, I made some huge strides and was very productive in facing myself and my own challenges.

It wasn't until this past September that I found interest in someone and strongly pursued it. And for the first time, in a long time, I felt really good about it, because not only did I feel like I was in a much better place with myself and everything going on in my life at that time (not too many months ago...crazy how much things can change so quickly), but this handsome gentleman (A true gentlemen. He opened doors for me every time) seemed to be quite content and healthy with where he was in his life too. I thought to myself, "Score. I don't have to try to fix this one. And I'm happy about this, because I'm no longer trying to run from my own challenges and insecurities." He was great. And we got along great. And the chemistry was definitely great. It really felt like a promising and healthy opportunity at love. And I thought, "GREAT!!!!!"

But, it didn't work out.

Why? Complicated reasons, of course. I could probably go ahead and explain how it all went south super fast, but I'm not even sure how productive that is. It simply just didn't work out. I didn't feel like the feelings were completely mutual. I was all in, and he was...well, confused. Probably for a number of valid reasons, but I could put up a number of valid notions to challenge those reasons. Them being that: I deserve to be with someone who is certain they want to be with me. I think everyone deserves that, regardless of circumstances. I believe that if you feel strongly enough about someone, you find a way to make it work. It may not be easy, but that desire and that want to try is there, without any hesitation. This just wasn't the case here. So I left. And then I starting doubting myself, so I came back. And then I saw the confusion once again. And so I left ...again.

Even though I was able to quickly identify that I wasn't being met halfway, and was actively pulling the plug because of it, there was still this desperation in me to hold on to this person in my life. Given my track record, yeah, totally sounds like my "fear of being alone" kicking in again, but I'm confident that that's not the case here. I really have come a long way in the last couple years-I'm not scared to be alone anymore. Obviously, I'm not if I'm the one leaving a relationship because things aren't going exceptionally great anymore--not to say things are always suppose to be great all the time, in fact that was my point in the argument for him and I....but there just didn't seem to be anything I could say that was going to change his diligence in pulling away from me--it just came to the point where I didn't feel like it was fair to myself to keep fighting for something that I felt like I was fighting for alone. It's hard, when I no doubt had/have some real and serious feelings for this man, and really feel like things could have worked out if circumstances were different. I do believe that most of the disconnect here was due to circumstances, even though that contradicts my previously mentioned beliefs. Perhaps I like to believe that because it feels better than calling it just straight up rejection. Whatever the case, things didn't work out. I tried my best, and well, maybe he tried his best too, I don't know. But it just didn't work out. And it's very sad. I feel very sad. And I miss him a lot. But I go on. And I'll be fine. C'est la vie.


And now, I am here. It's a new year, and I can be real and honest with myself by saying, yeah, I need more time on my own. However much progress I have made the last couple years with myself and my dating life, I'm definitely in a place right now where I need to be focusing solely on myself. And I think for a good while. So that's what I'm going to do, PEOPLE. I'm moving to New York and I am focusing on myself and relationships in my life that are strictly platonic. So yayyyyyy friends! Let's play! No romance for Punky...so uh, nevermind the previously mentioned potential Jewish boys with delis. The only love affair allowed this year, is the one with myself. And it's going to be sexy, fulfilling, and just overall GREAT.

Questions for you:

Have you ever taken an extended break from interacting with the opposite sex? If so, what was your experience? Liberating? Lonely? Productive? Healthy? 

Have you ever found yourself guilty of being with someone for the wrong reasons or being with someone who you knew wasn't as into you as you were in them? 

Are you like me? A grade A serial monogomist? Or have you taken breaks between each relationship/only dated a couple or one guy seriously?

11 comments:

  1. THIS!!! SO MUCH THIS!!!! <3

    You're so much like me sometimes that it's scary. You love 100%.... and are completely okay with taking care of other people and making them feel loved.

    I like this challenge. :)

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  2. I have never taken a break, so I have nothing for you there.
    However, for the next two: I have been with someone for the wrong reasons, but for what I thought were all the right reasons at the time. Looking back I feel that I loved him way more than he ever loved me, which is sad, and he still denies this was the case.
    I AM like you, I'm a serial monogonmist. I dated one guy in HS for four years. After I graduated, I met my ex. We were together seven years. When we split, I met my husband. I don't think it's bad to only want to BE with ONE person, and not go out and be with a ton of different people. On the flip side, I don't see it as a bad thing to get out there and experience life/people either. Do what works for YOU!

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    1. Lisa, thanks for reading. I completely agree with you. It's important for each person to do what is best for them--everyone is different. I know a handful of people who like me and you didn't take breaks and have gone from one boyfriend to the next, and are now married or engaged. Which only goes to prove that breaks aren't always necessary if you happen to find the right person at the right time.

      For me, I definitely knew it in heart and mind that I needed to take some time for myself this year because a. I was exhausted from dating and b. I was dating a lot of people for the wrong reasons. I'm proud of finally reaching out and doing what's best for ME, because I think a lot of us forget to do that. Or we mix up what we believe to best with what truly is best for ourselves.

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  3. I think this is an excellent idea. I have been trying to talk my best friend into doing something like this. I just think the whole thing sounds so EMPOWERING!

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    1. Yes, I'm only four months in, but it feels pretty good so far. This is definitley the most COMPLETELY single I've ever been. I just say NO to BOYS before they even enter the room. It's hard sometimes when they are wearing flannel or have a guitar in hand. Or food. But I'm doing pretty well!

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  4. I have always been a relationship type of girl. I wouldn't say that I ever took a break from boys. I definitely made an intimacy vow to only let myself go so far with any guy, because I think that is when you talk yourself into letting your standards of a relationship down. If that makes any sense. You can have fun dating and still let yourself grow and become independent.

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    1. Miki, hey girl, thanks for reading :) I think making intimacy vows are a smart thing to do. And I'm not talking in terms of being a Christian or religious.. I mean in terms of setting standards for how you deserve to be treated and what values you hold in regards to your body. I made a vow once when I was 16, and then I lost it completely somehow. Since then, I've accepted a lot of crap, and have devalued my sense of worth in so many ways that I can only NOW admit to, without fear of being judged or truly disappointed in myself. I made mistakes and now I'm learning from them.

      I totally agree with you that you CAN still have fun dating and letting yourself grow and become independent. In fact, that last relationship I was in that I talked about in this post STARTED OUT THAT WAY. But then it quickly spiraled into confusion and heartbreak. In my position, it has brought me to a place where I'm kind of like AHH, at this point. I just wanna do ME for awhile. I do plan on staying celibut the whole year, but if someone kind and funny asks me out, I won't limit my opportunities to say "ok". Never know when the right fish is going to come along. You know, the one that will treat you the way you deserve to be treated. :)

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    2. Well I think you are incredibly smart and responsible. I don't think there is anyway any friendship or relationship can successfully bloom until you are comfortable with yourself. Which is way more than just being happy with look or superficial things. It's hard to be in a relationship when you don't know exactly who you are. Which is not to say you'll never change, but even when you're married you have to have a self identity. Be able to be yourself without your husband. Which lots of girls don't do, they just mold to their man. That's why I don't hang out with 90% of my friends anymore. They're not the same person.

      Anyway. Like I said I think you're awesome, and this experience will only enhance your life. I am sure of it!

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  5. I think we could probably write that book together...I've got some wild stories to tell as well. ha I've never consciously made the decision not to date (except for every other day the past few months - but that's another story, you can follow it on my blog) but there have been plenty of spans of time where I was busy with school, work, or other stuff and probably missed out on some dates because I wasn't picking up the clues, but who knows. I too am a serial monogamist. I used to think it was a bad thing...so I tried to date several guys at once at the beginning of this year...you know, experience life like my friends had! Woah boy. I am so not cut out for the emotions of dealing with multiple guys. I can barely handle the drama of one guy at a time. Must be why I'm still single. Good luck on your year long journey! You have worded all my thoughts so eloquently. :) I'll look forward to reading along about your adventures!

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    1. Hey lady---thanks for your thoughts. Sounds like we definitely have some story swapping to do :) I'm def not the kind of gal that is interested in dating multiple guys at once. The only exception is if I were to ever become the next BACHELORETTE. Ha. But until then, I'm a one-dude-at-a-time kinda lady. And right now, I'm a NO DUDE kinda lady :)

      Glad to have you here, I'll have to come visit your blog asap!

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  6. Hey Punky, I can so relate to this and think it's great that you've made that decision for yourself. After many bad relationships, I decided a few years ago to go solo for a while, and it was such an important time. I felt much more connected to myself, formed some wonderful friendships with women and gained more confidence. There was a great sense of freedom (which lead to a road trip across the States). Then I met Dave (the love of my life and current partner) and it was the first time ever, that I really took the time to get to know the person I was falling for. It was the best thing we could have done! Enjoy this year of you-time - it's a precious time!

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Your comments make my day! I read each and every one of them and try to deliver a response to as many as I can! Unless there's a discussion going, I will usually reach back to you via e-mail. Thank you for your willingness to speak and share your thoughts :) You is dope.