Having a bored moment before having to go out for a reporting assignment, I was reading through some old messages on Facebook. The guy friend of mine that I've been "non-dating" hasn't contacted me for a while, so being the recovering love addict, I let curiosity get the best of me. Here comes the emotional roller coaster of highs and lows as I begin to wonder: does he still find me attractive? Did I do something wrong to scare him away? Maybe he's seeing someone else and I'm no longer interesting? And so on. I've tried to plug in my cognitive behavioral therapy by recognizing the negative thought and trying to replace it with a positive one, but darn it, the insecure thoughts are like gnats at a picnic, and just won't relent!
So, as I read through messages that go back to the days after my ex moved out (about a year and a half ago), I could see how interested he was in me, and my happiness. It seemed genuine, and he would always follow up every few months to see how I was doing. And then I read a rather disturbing comment he made. Of course, when he wrote it, I didn't think much of it (since I wasn't interested in a romantic relationship with him at the time), but now it bothers me. He basically admitted that he likes to have a few "friends with benefits" and tries to avoid stopping over in "relationshipville." Oh, oh! And it gets worse. He said that when he did find himself involved with a woman (he has since broken up with), the amount of "baggage was too much to carry on a Southwest flight." Well, yeah, we all have baggage, don't we? Or at least those of us who are past the teenage stage of relationships.
That entire stage of innocence as teenagers is something I miss.... a lot! Like, being able to tell a boy, "I love you" if I felt like it, and not worry about what he would say, do, or how he would react later. I miss calling each other and blabbing for hours until your parents blasted you to get off the phone. I wish I could go back to the time when I just enjoyed the moment holding a boy I had a crush on, smooch him lovingly, and not wonder: where is this going? Is he the right type for me? What if he's lying to me just to get in my pants?
As a teenager, I didn't obsess about the meaning of everything that happened with boys I dated. I never over-analysed all of my words before and after making them, including what a man writes or tells me. I've done so much research on what to do, what not to do, and everything in between when it comes to dating men, relationships and commitments-- ever since my husband of 15 years left me for another woman. Shoot, I've even been paid to write about it for many of my freelance writing gigs. Irony. I give advice to others on securing love when I'm clueless about it in real life. Go figure.
But really, is there any way to get into a time machine and relive the carefreeness of youth? I don't need my virginity back-- by all means-- I was a virgin til I was 20! What I do long for is the kind of innocence we have before betrayal, disappointment, resentment and heartbreak leave its impression on our hearts, scarring it in ways that never can quite "heal" completely. We enter into new relationships with an open mind, and hopeful optimism, but in the back of our mind is that little voice reciting the lessons we've learned by having bitter life experiences.
So, I'm trying to distract myself from thinking about my male suitor, or possible friend with benefits (oh, gosh, I'm in trouble), and keep my focus on the reporting job I have later, the party my kid is going to, and what kind of food I should make for catering at the museum this weekend. But it's hard to, when I started to taste the forbidden fruit of what "love" tastes like (or at least the fuzzy, warm feeling of teenage crush). I knew those "man snacks" would end up affecting my diet. Too bad we can't just take a thought out of our mind and put it in a shelf to worry about later.....
I'd love to hear your thoughts about how to regain the teenage innocence when it comes to approaching a new love interest. Any tips for keeping your mind off someone? What is the secret to being so independent and strong when you are dating someone? Any insight is appreciated!
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