There’s been a thing rolling around in my brain for a little while. As I look back at my relationships, and see the patterns, I see over and over again that they are insanely short.
Like, abnormally short.
Like I’ve-had-goldfish-with-longer-attention-spans short.
The big question is WHY?
I think I’ve found an answer.
I was talking to my roommate, and she said something about one of the new guys I’m talking to. No, we haven’t discussed them yet, so you didn’t miss a post; we’ll get to the guys in a moment. What my roommate said is the important part right now.
She said that this new guy was looking for a fantasy… just like the Bartender.
It finally clicked. These men who woo me and make me feel so special (because remember the Boy made me feel special for a time, and when he apologized he was back to the sweet, funny guy I liked), they are looking to fulfill a fantasy with me. I’m exotic, intelligent, beautiful, and have the libido of a teenaged boy. I AM the unicorn!
But that (apparently) also means that I’m intimidating. And I have this condition that makes me a little bit clingy… okay, a lot clingy from time to time.
I get fixated and want to be desired and wanted and made to feel special, and in the beginning, men do those things because they are in the throes of passion and are enjoying the fantasy.
When I say fantasy, it doesn’t have to be a fantasy, I suppose, but let’s look at some of the guys I’ve dated:
- The Bartender was married, but told me that he was getting a divorce. It was a rookie mistake to believe that lie, but I do tend to take people at their word. We agreed to no strings attached fun, but then he started presenting this fantasy of a future: meeting his mother, going on trips around the world, telling me he was afraid of losing me…
- The Boy definitely presented the impression of us being a unit when he asked me to do things that a traditional partner would do. Like when he wanted me to take his keys to his mother… when I hadn’t met her yet. Or when he would ask me to come over and just sit and watch movies while he played World of Warcraft. We jumped right into the long term relationship fantasy before I even got to enjoy the super interested in each other phase, and then he pulled the rug out from under me.
- The Artist would verbally tell me that what we were doing felt “real” as opposed to just fun, and he would say he was going to see me or call me the very next day. It was a fantasy of working towards a relationship.
- There was a player who asked me to be his girlfriend in the middle of a no strings attached embrace, and when I asked him about it the next day, he told me he was just saying what he thought I wanted to hear…
And that’s the point right there: Men tell me what they think I want to hear. And yes, they are very right, I do want to hear that I’m loved and desired and that they want to spend loads of time with me, or are afraid to lose me.
What I want more is for it to be true.
You have to understand that most of what I know about romantic interactions actually comes from my in depth study of movies, books, and television. If you think about it, it makes sense. I wrote about it a little once, after an argument with the Boy, about how I thought that perhaps RomComs were to blame for when girls push their man beyond the point of reason.
In Romantic Comedies, sometimes the formula is for the two eventual lovers to initially hate each other. There’s still an attraction there, but they are angry at themselves (and each other) simply because the attraction exists. They have to overcome that anger in order to be together.
And almost always in RomComs, the two lovers will have a huge fight that forces them apart until they both realize that they truly love the other person. Then they have to find some way to make amends, but see, the other person truly loves them, too, so it isn’t that big of a struggle.
I had thought that was why the Boy came back when he decided to cheat on his baby mama with me. I thought he’d come to his senses enough to give me a second chance. And because I’ve seen where he’s revisited his past loves before, I thought that if I was supportive enough (though it killed me inside to hear him talk about this woman who had hurt him the same way he had hurt me, and for him to not recognize how it hurt me) that he would realize that I was a good choice.
It was the logical conclusion.
But love is not logical.
Fast-forward a whole year later and I’m with the Bartender and he’s living the relationship fantasy on one hand and telling me that he’s not available on the other. Do I take him at his word? Or do I follow his actions.
I chose to go with his actions, because when I told him that his words and actions didn’t match, he told me he couldn’t treat me differently because of how he felt. It led me to believe he legitimately cared for me.
But it was a fantasy, a dream he needed to make his life easier.
If he’d been completely honest with me up front, I could have separated the act from the emotion. I am capable of that, but not when the actions are suggestive of the emotional connection. The Asperger’s doesn’t allow me to see that they aren’t real.
He gave me the intimacy of a relationship, and then took it away when it fulfilled what he needed, meanwhile leaving me wondering how I missed the signs.
But I didn’t miss the signs. He was giving conflicting messages, because he was trying to give me the fantasy he thought was necessary to get what he needed.
He had told me once, when I pointed out the contradiction to him, that he was treating me that way because he thought I deserved to be treated like a princess (that’s my paraphrase, he has never actually said the word “princess”).
I needed to know how I deserved to be treated, according to him. He believed the quote, that in order to get the dirty bits, he needed to feed me the fantasy that I was special…
But see, I took that fantasy as the reality.
Those of us with Asperger’s struggle more than we often let others see. I have to go through my vast mental files about theater to identify how the body language, facial expression, tone, and eye contact come together to determine what the other person is actually saying. Can I take the words at face value? Or do I have to figure out the subtext?
I’ll tell you now, I’ve learned that almost no one really says what they mean.
With the Bartender, I had wanted to take him at face value because I had told him up front about the Asperger’s. It didn’t help because he didn’t really understand what it meant, and he didn’t really care to find out because I was never meant to be anything other than a toy.
That is the part that hurts the worst. I was prepared to fulfill that role, the role of plaything, and then he treated me like I was important. I determined that he really felt that I was important, that what he wanted was different because of how he treated me, even though I asked several times and pointed out the inconsistencies.
And then he took it away because treating me like I was important was the fantasy.
This makes him about the 5th married man to tell me that I deserve to be loved so much because I am so special… Of those five, only one ever decided to not try to act on his desire for me because he really loved his wife.
Actually, the Bartender is the 4th, but since then there’s been a 5th.
I have an admirer online, who tells me how much he desires me and wishes to make me his…
But he’s married…
And in another state.
Similar to Goodreads Guy, it makes for fun naughty chat, but is unlikely to go anywhere, and to find out he was married, was just a little too much given how recent the explosion with the Bartender is.
I keep trying to tell men that if they’re just looking for a fun only situation, they need to understand that I’ll accept that if it’s equally reciprocated. As in it’s not just when it’s convenient for him, but when I want it as well. This comes across as cold, and I’ve yet to find a man who wasn’t offended by that. Yet, they think they can call me up on a whim and I’ll just drop everything to fulfill their needs. Every. Last. One of them.
If that’s all you want, don’t expect me to be sweet to you about it. I can’t be sweet and separate the emotion. Just be honest. Don’t give me a fake relationship to fulfill your need for sex and then get confused when I think we’re on the road to something serious!