Dating sucks: life was simpler when I was a cat-less cat lady

So.

Breaking news: dating fucking SUCKS. My paranoid brain is having a field day, like a hyperactive kid in a candy store, “Oh boy oh boy! I want to fuck with Vanilla’s emotions by targeting that insecurity! And that insecurity over there! That other one toooooo! Yay insecurities! I love making Vanilla unhappy for no justifiable reason! SO MUCH FUN!” Yes. Dating sucks so much, I have developed a separate brain whose sole evolutionary function is to cause crazy internal dialogues and meltdowns.This is science. Dating science.

Crazy-Evolutionary-Paranoid-Dating-Brain Story#1: the Booty Call

In December, Beaut developed an adorable habit of texting me goodnight. So far, so good, right? Nothing that can trigger a paranoid meltdown, you say. HA!

One random week-night, he texted me goodnight just before midnight. The next morning, I saw that he’d last been online at 3:30am. My crazy paranoid dating brain put those 2 pieces of information together and concluded: Beaut had had a booty call. With someone else. I was sad. My rational brain proposed that maybe, just MAYBE, Beaut had woken up at 3:30am, gone to take a piss, and checked his phone before going back to sleep. My paranoid brain said nope. No way. He’d had a booty call, obviously.

I was sad for hours. Clearly, I was not enough for this man. What did I expect? A guy that beautiful was bound to need more than one girl; I was a nothing-special girl. Maybe if I looked like Megan Fox he’d stay true. Then I beat myself up: we hadn’t had The Talk – he didn’t owe me any monogamous behaviour. He was a free man, he could do what he liked. But why would he want to sleep with other girls? My rational brain kept trying to be heard, “Vanilla! STOP IT! YOU ARE SAD ABOUT SOMETHING YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW HAPPENED.” My paranoid brain smirked and reminded me, “He is too beautiful for you. You are not enough.”

I snapped out of my funk later that day, and laughingly told this story to some of my girlfriends. They didn’t find it funny. Instead, they stared at me, “Fine, he might not have slept with anyone last night, but you must accept that he is, at the very least, talking to other girls. A man that hot IS a player.”

My paranoid brain did a victory lap.

My rational brain took a nap, exhausted.

Crazy-Evolutionary-Paranoid-Dating-Brain Story#2: the Wife

Last Sunday, Beaut and I were supposed to go running for a second time. In the morning, we agreed upon a tentative time frame. At 7:08pm, he confirmed the time and meeting place. At 7:33pm, he cancelled, explaining he was too tired, and needed to sleep. He was sorry.

I was taken aback. Even my paranoid brain wasn’t sure how to react. Then I was sad. I looked around me, dismayed at all my winter running gear. My paranoid brain whispered, “Sucker. You spent all that money because you are a pathetic loser who is willing to do whatever it takes to keep the attention of a guy who can’t even be bothered to show up. He doesn’t LIKE you (seriously, why would he?!), he doesn’t even respect you, and you think pretending to like RUNNING is going to make him stick around?! That’s cute.” My rational brain reminded me that, yes, sure, I liked Beaut and wanted to spend time with him, but I’d also asked Coach to include me on the gym’s competitive roster this spring, and that with my heavy travel schedule for work, I’d decided running was a convenient, necessary part of my training regimen. My paranoid brain snarled, “SHUT UP, you LOSER!

My paranoid brain changed tactics: it played on loop a conversation from a few weeks prior, where Beaut explained to me that a guy who is always busy and who randomly cancels plans last minute, without warning or explanation is living with a woman, and that woman just changed her plans, forcing the guy to cover his tracks and bail on his side-wench. It was crystal-clear to me. THAT was why Beaut had cancelled on me. Of course. I was too upset to do anything. I tried drafting him a text message, but couldn’t figure out what to say. My paranoid brain whispered, “The last guy made you his side-wench, did you really think Beaut would treat you any better? No guy would want you as his main woman, or (haha funny concept!) his only woman! You should be satisfied that you are getting anything at all, even if it is just the sloppy seconds of a cheater. Just a few months ago no guy would even look at you. I suppose this is progress. Enjoy it.

For 10 minutes I accepted that Beaut had a wife (yes, I assumed that if he was living with a woman, he must have married her. Even my paranoid brain was impressed with that illogical feat). Gradually, I remembered that I’d been to Beaut’s place several times. His bachelor pad showed all the signs of not being inhabited by a woman: no interior design – he didn’t have a kitchen table! No woman had been stashed away in his closet, when I stayed over. Beaut was not living with a wife. My rational brain went over that conclusion with me over and over again until it was sure I accepted it. I felt less sad. My rational brain gave my paranoid brain the finger, and then set out to consider other explanations for why Beaut might have cancelled on me.

It reminded me that Beaut is taking a heavy course-load at school, while still working on his career, and pursuing his writing with gusto. It reminded me of my life when I was putting myself through school, while working full-time, in a job that was much less demanding than Beaut’s job. How wound-tight I’d been, planning every second of every day, unable to deal with unexpected scenarios. How I felt such guilt when I would cancel plans on friends because I just could not handle being “on” any more. How much I hated the deep pit of anxiety as I tried to not get overwhelmed by the endless to-do list and the gnawing fear I’d fail – not just my classes, but in life. How much I still value my Sunday evenings as a moment of quiet, because it sets the tone for the rest of the week; my moment to recoup.

My rational brain made me re-read Beaut’s text message: “Hey, I suddenly feel too exhausted to run. I’m going to bed. We’ll go running next week. Sorry.” It no longer sounded like code for “Hey, my wife changed her plans for the evening so I am going to bang her instead of running with you.” Instead, it sounded like he was tired and overwhelmed, and freaking out on him would not be helpful.

I decided to go running regardless, alone. Because I really am committed to my training regimen, I needed to clear my mind from all the toxic thoughts that had been polluting it for the past 30 minutes.

My rational brain did a victory lap.

My paranoid brain sulked.

Crazy-Evolutionary-Paranoid-Dating-Brain Story#3: TBD

I don’t know yet what other stunts my paranoid brain will pull on me, as I navigate my interactions with Beaut. Hard to beat the wife I’ve invented for him, but I have faith in my paranoid brain: no doubt the next meltdown will be spectacular.

I miss being a cat-less cat lady. Kinda. Not really.

#vulnerabilityisoverrated

#exhausted

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30 comments

  1. Good grief. I opened this post literally hours ago, then had a kazillion things come up (no, actually, I was banging my other blog–too bad for YOU 😈 ) and now I come back, after midnight, and here this post is, Liked by others, but still uncommented? Boo. Should have netted some.

    F*ck that paranoid brain. Which it sounds like you pretty much did–Woo-hoo! Beaut, having read your earlier posts, should have known better than to tell YOU that business about a guy who cancels plans last-minute… What was he thinking?

    Hey, I went to Cloud Gate Dance Theater Friday. It wasn’t ballet–I wouldn’t call it that–but it was great, despite many reviews describing “Rice” as bland. .

    I loved almost all of it. I don’t know how other performances are, but there was so much restrained power in the performance I saw. So much strength from the women, in particular–that impressed me. Such a perfect embodiment of nature in dance.

    There were some less-impressive parts, some parts where the music was less-fitting (FANTASTIC use of silence, though–much silence throughout), and one AWFUL part: simulated sex done in a way that made it difficult for me not to laugh aloud–seemed like I was back in the hippie era at a bad party with a cheap stage performance). But overall, I could not understand why such poor reviews have been written about this piece. Granted, I have noticed that L.A.’s taste is in its mouth and the audiences love everything, but there were three curtain calls, and I haven’t yet seen THAT even at the ballets I’ve attended at Dorothy Chandler. So I wasn’t the only one who was happy.

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  2. You need to pull that paranoid part of your brain aside and have a conversation with it. At the very least, you need to stay ahead of it before it manages to take the driver’s seat and you sink a few pickaxes into the hood of his car because of some hypothetical explanations to such situations as changed plans.
    However, and I feel guilty for saying this- the fencing going on between the rational and paranoid parties within you does make for some amazing reading.
    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! I need all the luck I can get. Though with every time I successfully avoid freaking out on him, I feel my rational brain store up ammunition against the paranoid brain.

      The wife incident freaked me out – I came SO close to writing some pretty awful stuff to him, based on nothing except my paranoid thoughts. It was such a ludicrous scenario that it really highlighted how much baggage I have to work through, and how I should be careful to never assume that HE is the problem until I have really thought things through.

      Eh ben. I told him that at the very least, should he ever have an invented wife in the future, that he should invite me to the invented marriage, as a sign of respect.

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      1. In all seriousness though, your being able to heel yourself up and notice what you’re thinking and stop yourself from going to extreme lengths and interactions is a great sign. Its easy to make light of such things, but you’re on a great track. Even if you HAVE such paranoia, you are recognizing it as such. As a result, you’ll be just fine in the long haul.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel like I was reading some of the crazy thoughts I used to have when Adam and I were dating. You are not abnormal, or if you are, I am too. Good for you for going running, it’s the best way to get rid of pent up frustration and crazy thoughts. I was much better at managing the paranoia after I took up running 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha, thanks. It helps to write about it and talk about it. I feel like many people go through this (maybe not to the point of believing in a mythical wife – Beaut was SO confused by that. “Where did you think I hid her? In the fridge? Outside on the balcony?”) but we are so trained to not show the crazy, and that the stereotype of the paranoid girl is unattractive, that we bottle it up Inside and it is unhealthy.

      Seriously though – the running does help. I am becoming a fan.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wahhhhhh this makes me so sad 😦 Because of the hateful things you say to/believe about yourself. But I have practically identical self-narratives, so I completely understand. And I know it’s easy for me to say, but, honestly, you are great and deserve great. Period.

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    1. I thought of you when writing it: I was pretty sure you’d relate.

      Writing it was a good exercise because seeing the words on paper really brought home how toxic my thoughts are and how many different harmful permutations I have (I left a LOT of the narrative out, just for those 2 incidents, and there have been many other incidents, just slightly less ludicrous).

      Slowly, I am starting to think I am great, or at the very least ok. Baby steps!!

      xox!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. What kind of woman would set you off?

      I’m curious bc for me, I either am totally indifferent or else totally insecure/paranoid. And the only factor seems to be whether I inherently believe I am good enough for the boy in question. Lame.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Same here. In some ways. If she is younger, or much younger, physically really attractive, and really good in bed, AND if I like/love her. This is what I persue and what I get and yet it causes me no end of grief. Oh, she’s usually a little bit crazy (that makes the sex better). Then I berate myself for investing too much or wanting and needing too much. I’m able to now control this and act like a normal adult male most of the time. Nothing is a bigger turn off than neediness. And sometimes the trajectory of desire and feelings are completely in sinque and that is a beautiful thing. That is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
        I’ve also been on the recieving end, or the object of, neediness or insecurity, and that becomes an unfillable pit. And a lesser man could really exploit that.

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      2. I think this hits the nail on the head. Sums up pretty much what is going on with Beaut.

        I’ve managed mostly to act normal, but he reads my blog and he knows I have anxiety and paranoia issues, but that I am working through them diligently (for my sake more than his). That is both liberating, bc I feel like I am much more myself around him, but it is a source of anxiety bc I’m always worried he’ll find me too weird.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. P.S I think one aspect of a relationship that is underestimated is that if you have two people who are attractive, or sexy, and are fairly liberated sexually, the pool of possible partners becomes expansive, and this in turn can cause huge amounts of angst.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. You read it right.

        And firstly, that comment was made by my paranoid brain and must be taken with a grain of salt. The truth is closer to “no guy I noticed bc I was too wrapped up in my struggles with anxiety and depression to notice anyone and if I DID, I would freak out and run away.”

        Liked by 1 person

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