I’ve been thinking a lot this week about what it is that’s stopping me from going after what I really want when it comes to love. Sure, I’ve dabbled with internet dating, but I hate it. And recently, I’ve realised that, unlike many people who hate it because it can be depressing and it takes up precious time, I hate it because it means confronting my biggest fear: that no one will want me.
As ever, no melodrama intended – that’s just my honest world view. One of the things that has surprised me most since setting up this blog is the followers I feel I have most in common with are not the sex bloggers, but the relationship bloggers. That’s not to say that there aren’t some fab and supportive sex and erotica bloggers out there (if you haven’t read Kristina Lloyd or Alison Tyler you really, really should), but the girls who write about their search for Mr Right have been kinder and more interested in what I’m doing here than I could ever have hoped for.
Because relationships are my greatest hang up. Technically, I’ve never had one. How did that happen? Well, it’s a pretty long story….
Why do you walk like that?
I’ve touched on some of the issues in this post before. My very first post was about my slight disability and the way complete strangers react to it, but it’s not always complete strangers. The first person I ever felt wasn’t able to accept that my body wasn’t normal was my mum.
This isn’t some kind of attempt to pass the blame for all my insecurities back to my parents – they’re fantastic, and I adore them. In fact, when I first went to therapy, the first thing I said was that I had no interest in trying to pass the buck back to them for how I got so fucked up. But my mum hasn’t always got it right. She walks at 100mph, for example, and I’ve always been expected to keep up. My dad is generally better at recognising that this is tricky for me but when I was a kid, we got taken into his office every Christmas Eve and every year I fell over on the walk from the station and ended up in awful emergency Sock Shop tartan tights.
Not only do I have to keep up though: I have to walk properly. I’ve got much better at this – until very recently I was becoming more agile, not less. She’d say things like ‘You’re walking badly today – are you tired/not concentrating/wearing uncomfortable shoes?’ Often, yes, one of the above – but who isn’t one of those things much of the time. When I paid close attention to every step, I walked better but at the expense of becoming massively self-conscious. It’s never gone away.
No one wants to kiss me
All through primary school, no one noticed that I wasn’t as co-ordinated as every else. Then, when I started secondary school, all that changed. Not only was there a fair amount of teasing, there was also the hell of school discos and under-18s club nights. All the other girls would spend most of the evening with some boy’s tongue down their throat while I hovered on the edge of the group, desperate for the evening to end. Did my disability mean that I was a terrible dancer? Actually, I have no idea – I’m a pretty cautious dancer, but I don’t know if that’s because my body won’t let me be otherwise, or just because I’ve never had the guts to properly throw some shapes. In the end, I was 17 before I had my first kiss and then, irony of all ironies, 17 and a half when I lost my virginity. In a nightclub.
When the boys your age aren’t interested, you’ll turn elsewhere for male attention in the end. I have a lot more to say about crushes on teachers, so I’ll write about it in more detail later, but let’s just say that most of the years from 15-18 I wasn’t interested in anyone who didn’t take a register. Wanting to impress helped me to get into one of the best universities in the country, but the opportunities for sex there were far and few between too. Plus ca change …
Just good friends
My first grad job was in the middle of nowhere, and my first good friend in that job was senior to me, but behaved at least five years younger than I was. He was a terrible flirt, and he had a Geordie accent that left me weak at the knees. We spent increasing amounts of time together until he decided to tackle the fact that I clearly fancied him head on. He wasn’t ‘in a good place for a relationship,’ which turned out to mean that he’d been in love with his girlfriend’s twin sister for nearly seven years and the idea of moving on was completely alien to him.
That rang true with me. I started seeing a therapist about a year later and one of the first things she asked me was why I thought I continued to be drawn to him despite the fact that we didn’t want the same things. My answer: he doesn’t want to sleep with me.
Now, looking back, that seems odd, even to me. I’m unapologetic about how much I love sex – chasing it, talking about it, having it. But I didn’t want to have sex with anyone I really cared about – I couldn’t face the fact that the morning after they’d inevitably wake up knowing that I’m bad in bed and liking me less because of it. But I stuck with it nonetheless, increasingly unhappy. For two whole years.
What ended it? He met someone, obviously. Someone younger, stick thin, and with no tits to speak of. It’s rare that I don’t love my cleavage, but we had a rough few weeks around that time.
Friends with benefits
Of course, looking back I can see that he didn’t end up with someone else purely because my body was a disappointment to him. It probably wasn’t a disappointment at all – it was probably just that he didn’t fancy me. Or that he wanted someone who was less emotional, less of a drama queen. And that’s ok. Well, ok to an extent – we’ve never salvaged the friendship, but he collects stuffed meerkats now, so I consider myself to have had a lucky escape.
Hopefully all of the above makes it clearer why I consider the current boy (wow, nearly wrote relationship there!) to be something of a break through. The first time I slept with him I honestly expected that I would never see him again – I certainly never imagined that two years on, despite huge ups and downs, we’d still be fucking, or that I’d be comfortable enough with him to not need to pull my clothes back on straight after sex or to always need a few drinks beforehand.
Of course, the things that don’t work in this arrangement have been well-documented over the last few days – I’m reluctant to lose what we do have, but I know that if I stay, I’ll be giving up a massive chunk of my dreams. I can argue until I’m blue in the face that I’d rather have a baby by myself, but honestly? It’s self-defensive bullshit. I would have one by myself, absolutely, if I don’t find anyone to have one with. But would I rather find someone to raise my children with, someone to slob in front of the telly with, someone who loves my body and who wants to be my friend? Well, obviously. Who wouldn’t?