I had my first boyfriend, in the most flexible use of the term, in my early teens. He was large, homely, sub normal intellectually and a member of the ‘Satan’s Slaves’ motorcycle gang. We had nothing in common and he had no redeeming features whatsoever aside from having a penis and seeming to be a progression from teenage crushes on poster image men.
Despite the low quality of this male, I felt it validated me in some way and that I had become more acceptable to my peers by ‘having a someone’.
Fast forward 35 years and hundreds of relationships (yes, hundreds, I have neither staying power nor taste, although standards of a sort did develop later in life when my drug and alcohol consumption stopped).
In sobriety I started going out with consistently intelligent creative men, with the occasional abusive or horrific one sneaking into the mix to provide fantastic sex, stimulus of low self esteem and a huge reminder of my obsessive compulsive personality.
I just couldn’t seem to maintain an intimate relationship for any period of time without eventually finding the need to run.
In my early forties I thought briefly of Internet dating but I couldn’t imagine how I would condense my personality into the necessary précis and I’ve never been part of a culture that revolves around dating so the concept was an anomoly for me anyway.
My sobriety also removes the alcohol fuelled sexual initiative that often seems necessary in first stages of most relationships, and lack of drinking skills can intimidate some future partners.
I have friends with similar histories as sex workers, one of whom who is in recovery also (she was the one who when I said that I’d fallen in love exclaimed understandingly,‘o you poor thing!’) and one of whom isn’t.
The woman who is in recovery is sexually active but has given up on finding someone to be with permanently. The other friend was involved with someone, but unfortunately he reacted badly to the revelation that she had been a sex worker and threw up then fled when he was told, though perhaps she did give him too graphic an example of her working years.
Actually my years as a prostitute I didn’t find to be an issue when I have become sexually involved with most men, although they would rather not know the details (if they did I think it would be a tad disturbing). The main problem that blocks intimacy for me, isn’t my past, my madnesses, my constant need for adventure and stimulus or even my art work that uses road kill; rather it is something broken in me that no amount of therapy and self help books can fix.
So in my mid forties I chose to be alone as being involved with someone always seemed to result in my becoming lost in the life and needs of another.
For a long time as a single person, I shone. I developed creatively and emotionally and was incredibly happy.
Then I went and met someone that pressed all my buttons, someone so much like me that every time I knew I needed to walk away I instead thought… but I do that and did that too…I also hate phone calls, I’m unreliable, I’m manic obsessive controlling and addictive but hey- he’s got a job which is a first for me amongst my rather left field partners, so maybe that makes everything okay.
This pseudo relationship with the type of person I tend to call ‘the punisher’ (not in a BDSM sort of way but more in a let myself be put down and feel less than, sort of way) did have one advantage.
It reminded me that I do have a capacity to love, and you know,I would actually like to be close to someone again.
Change is always possible if I’m willing to take the risk, and risk taking is something I’m incredibly good at.