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In high school, I thought I was picky. My mother thought I was a closeted lesbian, but I thought I was picky. I thought the reason that no boy could ever hold my attention was that none of them were good enough. Years later I’ve realized that I’m not a snob; I just like to do things the hard way.
False starts, foul balls, forward passes (unsure where my I’m going with all of these sports metaphors) are what the majority of my forays into dating can be described as. My feelings never really develop past casual interest and never last very long. Except my feelings for a choice few gentlemen who, through almost no effort managed to steal my heart and then proceeded to run far, far away with it.
I’m pretty sure my affinity for men who do not want me is rooted in my genuine fear of commitment. Where the fear of commitment comes from is anyone’s guess. Aside from an annoying ability to over-analyze everything, a slight fear of confrontation and a habit of making up dialogue between other people in my head, I consider myself pretty well-adjusted. And I really do love myself, flaws and all. But in the past, certain ungrateful, blood-pumping organ thieves have made me forget that. Or at least made it seem like I forgot.
These men may all have different labels – the guy with the girlfriend, the guy on the other side of the world, the guy who could only love himself and the guy who was just plain fucked up – but they are all simply different sides to the same (miraculously four-sided) coin. Different strains of the same drug: elusive and addictive with the tendency to wreak havoc on our minds and bodies. My recommendation is that you just say no to men like this. And for those of us that can’t stay away, those that simply need that one little hit, I have drawn on my pharmacological expertise to prepare a very scientific warning.
Relationships with unavailable men should be pursued with caution. Side effects may include:
It’s basically our human instinct to want what we can’t have. It saves us the pain that comes with fucking up what was supposed to be a sure thing. We love the fantasy of it all. It gives us hope. That hope will ruin you. Hope will turn a passing glance into a longing gaze. It will turn casual greetings and off the cuff comment into Shakespearean sonnets and long-winded expressions of adoration. That girlfriend? She becomes a monster. Literally Frankenstein. And any other woman is a threat. A threat that you have no problem picturing writhing naked on top of him… talk about threat level midnight. And those moments that you do get together, the tiny moments that you steal away in secret, where he starts breaking down his wall to let you in, and then you just want to build it right back up again and shut everybody out because then those tiny moments can last forever… yeah, those moments aren’t real either.
Warning: Highs are usually accompanied by an increased heart rate while lows are characterized by a combination of nausea and/or vomiting and difficulty breathing.
Want to know a sure fire way to piss off your room-mates? Love someone from afar. You will be up and you will be down and they will never know what’s coming. The highs will be infrequent and never at convenient times. Yes, you’ll explain, you really do need to celebrate a greeting from Edinburgh at 4 am. He just woke up, after all, and if he’s awake, you’re awake. And you’re sorry for stumbling in drunk and utterly jubilant at this godforsaken hour, body still reeling from the quickie you can’t tell anyone about, but you weren’t allowed to stay over. And then come the lows. The lack of sleep won’t help your feelings of withdrawal. You will sulk. You will facestalk. You will plan elaborate ways to run into him. You will bring him up in conversation with random people. You will eat ice cream. You will drag those room-mates across town because you think there’s a slight chance that he may be at this kind of party you were kind-of, sort-of invited to. And then it’ll happen. Whatever ‘it’ you need to keep you wanting more: a shared laugh, a hug, the quick brush of his lips against your cheek, a brief sexual encounter, a two minute girlfriend-less conversation about the merits of pretzels as a snack food; and you’ll be on Cloud Nine again. Only to fall right off thanks to the full on asthma attack brought on by him telling you he’s dating someone. It’s a vicious cycle, you see.
Delusions of grandeur
This one is tricky. It sneaks up on you and you don’t realize how damaging it can actually be. Just like the teenager tormented with thoughts of “Nobody understands me!” you will get angst-y. Only this particular breed of angst is somehow accompanied by a strong sense of superiority. You’re not cynical about love, like everybody else. You have faith. You alone can see past this man’s flaws. You, almighty you, accept him for what he truly is, and that means something. Any obstacle that gets in your way, you can conquer it because your feelings are strong and they are real. Hold up. You can’t swim across an ocean. And you can’t force someone to treat you right, no matter how amazing you may be. And continuing to believe that you should keep giving your heart to someone who’s only ever broken it doesn’t mean you’re brave. And it doesn’t mean you’re a better person, it means you’re blind. It means you’re oblivious. And probably a little bit dumb.
Warning: If patient progresses this far, there may be no turning back.
Not only will you be blind to some of the world’s harsher realities, but to some of the better ones as well. Relationships don’t exist in a vacuum and therefore other men will continue to notice you. But you won’t notice them back, not really anyway. You may feign interest for a while, probably as part of some ill-conceived jealousy plot, but you will never let yourself be completely accessible. That would be too easy. There’s no real rush in letting someone chase you. And thus you too, will break hearts. You will ignore all the gentlemen callers, all the red-blooded prospects that graciously present themselves to you on a platter. As kind and caring and wonderful as you could find them, they are simple and they are safe. And you don’t want safe.
You want that sickeningly sweet, soaring, tingling, toxic, toe-curling thrill that comes with yearning for what’s just out of reach. That, my friends, is the mark of a true unavailable love junkie.
By Megan H