The Feminist and The Rules

a chronicle of my life as a serial online dater

On Building Feminist Relationships (And Why That Feels Fucking Impossible)

Equality is a practice. Because we don’t exist in a culture that is inherently equitable, we have to unpack and process all of the tropes we’ve absorbed without intention.

Except that, in my experience, guys haven’t really done that and aren’t terribly willing to.

I’ve mentioned that the self-proclaimed feminist guys I’ve met have largely used that as an identity to gain the trust and respect of strong, opinionated women that they’re most attracted to, without doing the work of what it means to really practice equality in their own relationships. On one extreme end, it ends up with this: a guy using feminist ideology to hurt women.

But the small ways that unexamined power is wielded is emotionally exhausting, crazy-making, and disappointing.

Convincing people (including women ourselves) to value traditionally female work has been a long, arduous road for feminists and continues to be a challenge for lots of (probably, mostly feminist) women in relationships. Largely we’re tasked with doing the emotional work, the housework, the social work, the communal work. As it turns out, that’s not only true in relationships, but in business as well.

I’ve watched so many amazing feminist women compromise their needs to compensate for that of their partners and kids. Women aren’t rewarded for that. It’s an expectation. Most of their very wonderful partners who practice feminist ideology for the most part don’t even realize their partners are doing those things; that is unexamined power.

How do we get guys to get that? To start examining their power and recognizing the ways it hurts us?

I remember when I first started dating the last guy I was seeing, we were talking about having sex for the first time and he mentioned something about wanting to “just let it happen.” All of my lady friends and I laughed, so hard. He really has no idea that those things don’t “just happen.”  Most guys don’t.

Waxing appointments. Changing the sheets. Cleaning my room. Having a breakfast plan for the next day. Those things don’t “just happen.”

That’s unexamined power–the idea that one doesn’t have to consider any of the process that goes on behind the scenes.

I’ve gotten to the place where I’m fairly angry about our break-up because so much of what happened between us was not about us at all. It wasn’t about our ability to be happy together; we didn’t even have the chance to find out if we could be.

I’ve spent an enormous amount of time being really hard on myself about wanting to find partnership.

Women are told that we’re pathetic and desperate and needy for wanting that and trying to secure it. In my dating experiences in recent years, not only is that true for me, but I am certain men have internalized that as well.

Yesterday there was an article in NY Magazine about freezing your eggs, and although I’m not interested in reproducing, some major points from the article struck a cord with me:

I continued to date, sipping listlessly at glasses of wine in bars chosen because I didn’t frequent them. Many of my closest female friends were doing the same. That they were excellent company to be in — smart, compelling, beautiful — did not change the fact that our collective situation was a drag. The people and situations were different but the broad outlines were all too often the same: The dude was cagey. He acted erratically, pursuing and then retreating. He was evasive when confronted with our wants and needs, or agitated, or defensive. Sometimes he simply disappeared. Of course, not all of the men we met and dated were commitment-phobes. But the numbers were significant enough to present a serious problem for those of us who wanted a partnership and children.

I watched one beautiful friend in her late 30s fight off attention at every party we attended, only to have each man who sought her number intentionally and epically self-destruct weeks later. “I don’t date,” declared one man I was seeing, irritated at my failure to take this in despite the fact that he had asked me on several dates. It was tempting to accept the line of argument that put the blame on me — obviously, at some level, you are seeking these commitment-phobes out — for then, it would become a problem I could potentially solve. But when another friend, a gorgeous, sardonic wit, was dumped by her yearlong boyfriend, who employed a communication strategy just one shade away from a Post-It, it woke me up. It’s not you. None of us were responsible for the fact that so many men see relationships as a giant albatross.

Even my single male friends, who I knew respected me and other women they were close to, seem to have absorbed cultural tropes about needy, pathetic women and the ever-alluring, ever-evasive single male. In conversations, they conflated masculinity with independence. A male friend of mine recently tilted his head proudly as he explained why he refused to call his longtime partner his girlfriend. “I know all she wants is a relationship; I don’t even have to bring it up,” he declared. I urged him to be more direct with her; he couldn’t know what she wanted unless they talked. “You don’t really mean that,” he replied, rolling his eyes.

Of course some people simply don’t want a relationship, or want one now, or with a particular person. And that’s okay. Not everyone wants to be with everybody, or with anyone at all. (Men who communicated that kindly and honestly to me tended to become very good friends.) But the ambivalence —  the unambiguous acts of devotion followed swiftly by hand-wringing and confusion, the breakups followed by tortured emails, the everlasting stringing-along — it got old. It even became the subject of a well-received novel.

Let me point that out again, just in case you didn’t catch it:

Even my single male friends, who I knew respected me and other women they were close to, seem to have absorbed cultural tropes about needy, pathetic women and the ever-alluring, ever-evasive single male. In conversations, they conflated masculinity with independence.

And that’s what’s been happening, isn’t it? Every. Single. Goddamn. Time. I feel needy and pathetic because the guys I’m dating, on some level, whether conscious or not, believe that about me just by the very nature of my wanting to be in a relationship. It’s why they’re always avoidant. It’s deeply entrenched cultural norms and I haven’t met a guy yet who’s been able to unpack them.

And what happens when a guy wants a long-term committed relationship? He’s celebrated as mature, and one of the good ones.

The part that’s most frustrating about being made to feel like women are forcing men into relationships left and right is that relationships are actually a lot harder on women than they are on men. Research shows, over and over again, that men are actually the happiest when coupled long term. Even more so than women! Significantly! And women, as I talked about earlier, take on the brunt of the under-or-unvalued work in relationships.

How is it, then, that we’re the ones that experience the negative repercussions of men’s fear about being trapped in a relationship? Women are far more likely to actually (traditionally, historically) be trapped in relationships, yet we’re blamed for wanting them at all.

THAT is unexamined power. That is a sword wielded against single women to make us feel like we don’t deserve what we want. And even the best guys do it.

In one of the last conversations I had with the last guy, he told me he feels bad that he’s made me feel so sad and that he understands because he’s usually on this side of it. Which made me 1. go to the dark, bad place of “why am I not good enough” but, 2. eventually ignited my anger about the ways power and gender tropes play out in heterosexual relationships. Because he doesn’t actually understand what that feels like for me. Just as I don’t understand what it feels like to be exalted for being independent. I’d love to know the other side of that, because I’m sure that comes with its complications as well, but I haven’t met a guy to date who can articulate it.

I’m not even sure there is a way to fix this without men coming to the realization that it would be good for them as well.

Feminism, especially in heterosexual relationships, cannot continue to only be the work of women. Yet, here we are.

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Written by The Feminist and the Rules

February 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm

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Living Out on a Limb

This week I ended up in the dark, bad place of “you’re not good enough.”

If he didn’t want to choose me, what is it about me that makes me not good enough or pretty enough or strong enough? What is it about me that made him not want to choose me? How much more can I do to just prove I’m worth loving?

Everyone knows that dark, bad place. It’s so easy, even for the most confident and secure among us, to fall into that place.

Too much. Not enough. Whatever it looks like, it means you’re not worthy. Someone didn’t choose you. There must be something wrong with you.

I took to my bed for a day. I needed to take care of myself.

I got out of bed today, taught a class, and talked to my mentor.

I don’t know how to describe her, other than one of the wisest and bravest women I’ve ever known. She went to Smith in the sixties. She worked with Cesar Chavez during the labor rights movement. She wrote romance novels for awhile. She’s nothing short of incredible and I’m constantly amazed and lucky that she likes me so much.

Anyway, she said to me, “Megan, you are a very brave person. And as a very brave person myself, we live life out on a limb. That’s where we’re most comfortable. Putting ourselves out there, to be vulnerable and exposed and shed light on what’s happening in the world. Not everyone is comfortable being out on a limb. Most people aren’t. And when you date someone who isn’t comfortable being out on a limb, they often think you’re asking them to expose themselves and be vulnerable in ways they may not even understand. Most people feel comfortable on the ground, or closer to the trunk. Very brave people are scary to people who don’t know what it feels like to be out on a limb or don’t want to be. It’s scary to them that you’re comfortable there, even if you’re not asking them to join you on the limb.”

That provided enormous comfort and pulled me out of my funk.

I like being a very brave person. It’s one of my favorite things about myself. And although how I navigate the world, vulnerable, and on a limb, is scary sometimes, even to me, it very much is where I feel most myself.

I don’t really want to be with someone who is necessarily on that limb with me; I’m fine there by myself. What I want is someone who is willing to support me while I am. Who can help to make sure that limb doesn’t break, or when it does, that I have a soft landing.

Vulnerability is so terrifying, but I need someone who understands the value of it and who can practice it with me, in little ways, and maybe sometimes in big ones, too.

Every guy I’ve dated seriously has been a person who strongly values self-protection over much else. They’re like turtles in their shells on the ground. Occasionally poking their head out to see what’s happening on that limb, because they like that I’m a person who’s willing to be up there, but they’re not really interested in exposing themselves.

Of course we can’t communicate well–there I am, out on a limb, exposed, and there he is, protected, on the ground, in his shell. I haven’t figured out a way to meet each other halfway yet, or found someone who’s willing to try.

I could probably stand to protect myself better sometimes, but not enough to leave my limb entirely.

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

February 4, 2015 at 9:47 pm

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Sometimes the Little Things People Say Just Really Help You Understand

This is the healthiest I’ve felt in a break-up, ever.

Granted, we only dated for two and a half months. But I’m 4 days into ending things and I genuinely feel great. I feel great about the choices I made, I feel great about how we’re treating each other, I don’t feel hurt or confused or ashamed of anything I’ve done.

I can actually let go and move on.

There are, of course, some things I’m still lamenting: the loss of another possibility, the comfort of sleeping with someone regularly, and you know, the sex. It was good. Our chemistry was pretty spot on, and although we never got to the point where we felt totally comfortable telling each other exactly what we wanted, we were pretty in tune.

He’s showing up for me in this break-up in ways he never showed up for me while we were dating. He’s being upfront and honest and open when I ask things. He’s not avoiding questions or hard conversations. He was never really dating or sleeping with anyone else. He wouldn’t actually tell me that directly when we were together. He danced around it. He took his profile down. He put it back up. He refused to talk about it. There’s some small comfort in knowing that it was only actually up for security, but the reason he kept it up was to leave himself open to the possibility of dating and sleeping with other people. We ended things before we got there and I’m grateful for that.

He’s a really solidly good guy (mostly) and I care for him deeply. He’s stable and handsome and brilliant and funny and a snob in all of the same ways as me. I was hopeful.

I was recounting all of this to a coworker I was taking home from a training tonight. I was telling her how great he is and how I wish we could keep dating each other, except for all of the things that make that not possible.

And she asked why.

That kind of blew my mind.

Why would I want to date someone who is incapable of honest communication, who told me he feels ambivalent about me, and who told me that dating me brought up a lot of self-doubts (he would do this thing, whenever I would talk about my successes or accomplishments and compare himself to me. I suspect that’s what it was about, the self-doubts)?

The thing is, I don’t.

Up until a few days ago, what I thought I wanted was a long-term, committed relationship. With him, maybe. But really, what I wanted was the relationship. He was the most recent conduit for that, and it could have been fine, but we both knew it wasn’t fine.

So we broke up. And now everything is really fine. Even better than it was while we were together. Because my colleague was absolutely right in asking that question: why would I want to date someone who has all of this stuff that isn’t my stuff and can’t quite get to a place to work through that stuff?

I don’t. Not even for the security of a relationship. I really, truly am not settling, and it feels great.

So great, I even dropped off a break-up care package yesterday and it was not with the intention of convincing him to get back together with me, or make him feel guilty. It was truly just to help him feel less lonely; to be sweet and thoughtful and kind to someone who was maybe a little selfish and self-involved and unable to really consider my feelings or be brave enough to take risks or try new and hard and challenging and emotionally complicated things, but who ultimately has a good heart and deserves the space to work through that stuff in his own time. I don’t want to begrudge him that or be hard on him because of it. I’m not taking any of it personally, because it’s not personal.

I’ve come a long way, baby.

I’m reading Sarah Mirk’s book, Sex From Scratch: Making Your Own Relationship Rules, because I can’t possibly go through a break-up without reading a self-help relationship book. And in his care package, I included The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. a fictional account of a very realistic 30 something modern guy. It was a little glib, because it’s not the kindest portrayal, and I think there are some major parallels. But, you know, I get to be at least a little glib.

I will definitely have more to say about the book I’m reading, but so far, it’s really spot-on.

The best part of all of this is seeing how far I’ve come. How much I’ve evolved and grown and matured emotionally. I’ve lived in this space where I’ve been afraid of being alone and afraid of rejection for so long. It really feels like I’m letting all of that go and shedding that skin so I can really choose what I want. We’ll see what that turns out to be.

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

January 23, 2015 at 12:04 am

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What If This Isn’t What I Want?

I’ve spent an enormous amount of time and emotional energy trying to find a committed, long term relationship.

But what if that’s not really what’s ultimately going to make me happy?

No romantic relationships I’ve been in have. It’s the solid, secure, remarkable friendships I’ve built that truly make me feel supported and loved and validate me.

I wrote at length about this before my best friend, my person, my platonic soul mate left Oregon. The relationships I’ve built with my friends are the ones that make me feel complete and like I am worthy of love.

What if that’s enough?

What if all of this time and energy I put into dating isn’t actually about securing attachment? What if that’s why I’m so anxious about it? A part of that is the inevitable fear that I might someday lose it. Romantic relationships fall apart all the time. Friendships do, too, and they grow and change and evolve, but those are the relationships I feel most confident about.

I met this amazing woman many years ago when I was at a feminist conference. I was young and green and just really ambitious, but mostly going through life with bravado, not confidence. I bonded with her and another woman at this conference. We haven’t had much contact over the years, except that I regularly read the bad-ass feminist things she writes.

This one really challenged the way I’ve been thinking about relationships:

http://www.psmag.com/navigation/health-and-behavior/new-benefits-marriage-study-actually-hints-horrors-middle-age-98353/

What if the only reason I think I want a romantic partnership is because I’ve been socially conditioned to believe that’s the only way I’m going to be happy?

What if I can find happiness in my life in a variety of other ways and through other people?

Sex is, of course, something that’s important to me. And good sex is hard to find. But I’ve never actually had much trouble finding that part. It’s the attachment that comes along with it that’s been the problem.

I’ve said I was quitting dating before, but that was out of frustration for the emotional slough of it.

What if I quit because it isn’t making me happy? Not because I’m angry or frustrated or exhausted, because I’m fresh off a break up and there’s no better time to see what’s out there. But what if I quit because I don’t really need to or want to date? Because I think it’s actually causing more harm than good and I can explore what it means for me to be happy without securing a partnership?

I’m going to try it. I don’t have any real answers. Who knows if in a few weeks I’ll be back to square one again, but the possibility of this feels promising and exciting. And, as an additional bonus, it feels like the most feminist thing I could be doing with my life.

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

January 20, 2015 at 1:38 pm

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Fighting Back Against Anxious Attachment

The first boy I ever fell for hated me.

Or, you know, hated me in the way that 13 year old boys hate everything.

I wasn’t pretty enough. I was chubby. I was obsessive about him despite his incredible disinterest in me. In fact, the only thing he was interested in doing to me was making fun of me.

There has been a long pattern in my life of getting attached to guys who don’t reciprocate my feelings.

I’ve never felt deserving of attention or kindness or respect from men. I’ve always felt like I have to earn it. I have to convince them that I’m good enough and smart enough and pretty enough.

It’s certainly gotten better over the years, but it still manifests itself. Now it just manifests itself in anxious attachment.

I know the root of my problems, but I’m still not sure how to fight back against the need for validation.

How do I learn to be secure, even in the face of possible rejection? My default is to be cynical. To expect that things will deteriorate and that the other shoe will drop. It always does.

I’ve gotten to a place in the past year or so where I’m comfortable enough being alone. But as soon as I get involved with someone I know I like, the anxiety immediately kicks in. The need for security and validation is overwhelming and pretty immediate.

I’m not patient. I don’t know how to be, especially in relationships. I want what I want and I want it now.

I’ve tried to sit with that. I’ve tried to explore my feelings about it. I’ve tried to practice internal validation instead of seeking it externally.

This is, surely, an instance of progress, not perfection. It’s better, but still not great. The impulsive need for connection has lessened, but it’s still there.

As soon as I start feeling and expressing that anxiety, the inevitable decline of the relationship I’m in begins.

That’s not entirely my fault. I tend to be most attracted to avoidant guys (actually, I don’t think I’ve ever seriously dated a guy who wasn’t). It’s both/and, surely.

But why is that my default? Why can’t I shake it and seek out attachment with people who want it from me? Why do I always seek it from people who will inevitably push me away in order to secure their own independence? It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and exposes my self-conscious, vulnerable underbelly.

You don’t deserve what you want, Megan.

In so many other facets of my life I’m confident. Not just in the bravado, fake it until you make it way. I actually believe in and like myself.

But when it comes to relationships, I just can’t figure it out or shake it.

I always have to be the goddamn cruise director. I have to make things happen. I have to make sure I get what I want. I can’t let any guy I’m dating take the reins. I can’t wait for them to do it on their own timeline. I need to control the direction of the relationship. And every guy I date is absolutely terrified of being controlled (let me just be clear that I don’t mean that in the perjorative, absuive sense. I mean having someone else direct, without actually putting the work in themslves). It’s why the continuous pattern of asking for commitment and never getting it happens.

This isn’t just me. This is relationships between men and women. Romantic ones, professional ones. I am a part of a generation of women who feel compelled to solve the problem of having it all. All of the women I know are cruise directors of their lives, their relationships, and oftentimes, the lives of others around them. It’s how we’ve been socialized and what we’ve learned we have to do.

And ultimately, we do it well. I know that when I plan things and when I orchestrate my life or my relationship, it will happen exactly the way I want it and I won’t be disappointed.

I’m terrified of failing. I’m terrified of being disappointed.

But ultimately, I take on too much and end up disappointing myself anyway. I can’t always be the one who runs the show. But I also can’t let go enough to allow people I’m dating (or even, people I work with, although I’m getting much better at that) to orchestrate things in their own time and their own way.

The guy with whom things just ended is indeed afraid of commitment. But I didn’t help that by insisting that things happened in my way and on my timeline. I didn’t help things by constantly having to orchestrate every part of our relationship in the way I wanted. I didn’t even give him the space to disappoint me. Until, of course, we fulfilled the self-fulfilling prophecy. We played out exactly the roles I was expecting us to play out. It was like I was poking him and challenging him to disappoint me.

The funny thing is, I absolutely don’t want to date a doormat who’s going to allow me to orchestrate everything. I hate the idea of that.

There’s always going to be a part of me that is the cruise director. But I also need to cultivate patience and learn to let go a little bit more. I deserve a fuck yes, but I’m never going to find someone that I’m attracted to who says fuck yes to me unless I spend a little more time learning to be patient.

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

January 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

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If It’s Not Fuck Yes, It’s No.

I use this concept when teaching about consent for sex–the idea that someone has to be enthusiastically interested in having sex with you for it to be real consent.

But it’s true in dating, too.

I wish I wasn’t writing this right now. I really thought, a few months ago, that I would be celebrating the beginning of a relationship, not lamenting the end of one that’s turned out in all of the same ways.

I met someone who makes me feel safe and secure and shows up for me. Until he didn’t.

That started happening around the time I asked if he was saying “fuck yes” to this. Meaning, he wanted to take the risk with me and commit to one another.

Instead of saying “fuck yes” he said, “I’m confused and need time.”

I thought, okay, I’ll give him some time. It’s new. We haven’t been together very long. He’s saying fuck yes to a lot of other things.

But it’s a month later and he’s still not saying fuck yes. He’s still not willing to take the risk with me. He said that he feels ambivalent about me (I don’t actually believe that’s true, but I do listen to what people tell me when they tell me), you know, those magical words every girl dreams of hearing: I feel ambivalent about you.

What I’ve realized is that it’s not about anything that’s wrong with me. I’m not trying to self-correct and change all of the things he’s critical about (or the ones I imagine he is).

He’s just not ready.

I guess I was a little fooled by him saying he was ready and that what he wants is a long-term committed relationship. I thought it could work because we wanted the same things. Finally a guy who admits to wanting commitment! He bought a house! That communicates wanting commitment!

But a few days ago, I reanswered a few questions on the dating site where we met. And funny enough, although he says he’s absolutely ready to settle down and get married, his answer preferences, when I changed my answer, indicate that he actually doesn’t want to date someone who wants that, too.

That’s not about me.

The things that he is certain aren’t going to work are superficial. They’re not about my capacity to have a healthy relationship or, I think, even about our capacity to have a relationship together. Honestly, I think most of his doubts are about his own ability to have a relationship. He seems to think that calling attention to problems and feelings makes things hard. I had to explain that the hard things were already happening, I just wanted to talk about why and figure out if there was a solution for us.

In fact, I think one of the things that I’ve learned in this is that I am extremely capable of practicing what it means for me to have a healthy relationship. I asked for what I needed. I talked about my feelings from my perspective. I recognized when I wasn’t being treated respectfully, or when he was pushing me away. I was able to maintain my sense of self, in a way that I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to in relationships ever.

Most of what’s happening between us is all stuff that’s happened to me in relationships before. It’s stereotypical emotionally immature guy stuff.

I ended up talking about it with my ex whose relationship parallels so much of this. It’s been a little bit like dating him all over again, except we’re a little bit older and I’m better at handling it. And I’m not going through crushing grief and coping with it with a raging drinking problem. You know, progress (that part actually gave me a little bit of hope for this, because that ex and I are still really close friends and have been really good for one another, ultimately). But he pointed out to me one of the things that changed the way I was thinking about this and helped me get out of the space where I was blaming myself. He said, “this is an example of him getting what he wants without ever having to make a decision and putting all of the guilt for having wants and needs on you.”

This is the hard part of being a feminist who dates men. That is entirely about entitlement to power. That is so deeply rooted in tropes about men and women in relationships. And we’re playing them out in ways that makes me expressly uncomfortable.

The part that infuriates me most is the idea that I might be forcing him into something. It’s such a gendered accusation and it harmfully assumes full equality. He’s assigning me power that I don’t actually have. Or want.

How do you convince someone that you don’t want to be with someone who feels forced to be with you? I want to be able to assert my needs in a relationship and not feel guilty for doing it. None of that means I want to be with someone who feels like they’re settling for me. That’s my worst nightmare. That does not make for a healthy relationship. That just means that I’m not okay with what’s happening and I want to know if there’s a possibility for change or if I need to move on to find someone who will meet my needs. Of course I want that person to be the person who is saying fuck yes and choosing me. This is entirely about choice.

If it’s not fuck yes, it’s no.

I’m not the one who has the power, here. Blaming me, instead of recognizing and identifying how this is about him is a small sword. Men in heterosexual relationships still have more power, even for as equal as the men I date try to be. That’s not their choice to have it and that’s kind of the point, but they still do wield it without noticing that they are.

Women know how that works, and I think often feel like we have to make concessions for that. We internalize it and make it about us, “maybe if I just gave him more of what he says he wants, I’ll have my needs met.” I’m just not interested in participating in that anymore.

I just want someone who is enthusiastic about choosing me. I deserve fuck yes.

P.S. I know that largely these problems could be different if I were more interested in practicing non-monogamy. I’m still not there.

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

January 18, 2015 at 5:47 pm

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On Not Being the Perfect, Evolved, Measured Version of Myself Anymore.

I’m not someone anyone would accuse of being incapable of being myself.

I’m bright, I’m confident, I’m vivacious, I’m outgoing.

Except, apparently, when I’m dating someone.

It never entirely occurred to me until I dated this most recent guy.

He was, for all intents and purposes, exactly what I would have said I was looking for.

He was so super into me, it caught me by total surprise. Wait? Really? Someone thinks I’m the bees knees? For real?

When it came down to it though, I had a visceral reaction to just how hard he was trying. And it shut me down—cold, and hard, and fast. Quite literally. I had to abruptly stop the making out/hooking up and go home. Embarrassing as it was, I was pleased with myself for feeling capable of putting my needs first and advocating for myself despite how awkward it was.

Naturally, after hibernating and freaking out a little, I reflected on why things went so poorly, so quickly. Why did I react so strongly to this perfectly nice, perfectly into me, guy?

Aha.

He was a total reflection of myself. He was trying too hard. He was pretty obviously acting the version of himself that he thought I wanted, rather than being his full self.

And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing all along. It’s exactly why I’m terrified of actually being in a relationship.

I don’t think I’ve ever really been my full self with someone I’ve been dating and been comfortable.

I’m more comfortable pretending to be what I think they want. And of course there’s no real spark or they’re not really that into me. I’m not being a real person most of the time. I’m acting like a fucking Stepford wife. I stop having real opinions. I stop advocating for myself. I walk lightly and delicately around my perception of what they want.

Fuck that, so hard.

Of course I’m content being single now. I’ve created space and balance in my life to be fully and unequivocally myself. Of course it’s scary and hard to date. I’m never being myself when I am, or asking for what I want, and I am so goddamn afraid of getting hurt and being rejected that I’ve been, for as long as I can remember, a downsized, measured, reasonable, unmessy version of myself when I want someone to like me.

It’s not even that I’m trying to be something I’m not. I stopped doing that awhile ago as I got more secure. It’s that I’m trying to be a less demanding, more reasonable, more accommodating version of myself. Which ends up just being milquetoast.

I never want to describe myself that way again.

That is absolutely not who I am.

I am sick of trying so hard. I’m sick of thinking there’s something wrong with me. The only thing wrong with me is my fear that there’s something wrong with me.

Now that I’m finally pretty okay with who I am, I guess that means trying to navigate what it really means to just…be myself. Shit.

 

Written by The Feminist and the Rules

September 5, 2014 at 1:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized