I was a bit stuck for what to write on today because my mind is on starting back up at work tomorrow. Mrs. Fever suggested nonfiction, which should’ve been easy, but I’m is still in active avoidance when it comes to writing. But after a bit of coaching mind did gravitate toward relationships. Or my lack of one.

2019 saw the end of a relationship that was really important to me. My first and only, if you know my dating history. It was a tough year where my mental health took a hit worse than anything 2020 did. That year was a personal shitshow and I was glad to send the behind of it. Have I recovered? Not really, but it has exposed some of my coping behaviors.

I give up on things. If I have something and I lose it, I don’t want it anymore and totally shut down. I swear things off and turn my back on it completely. More than that, the greater the distance, the easier the relationship. Why? Because I don’t have to fret about how they feel. Out of sight, out of mind.

My occasional play partner is a prime example. I went through this period where I stressed about how he felt about me and what I meant to him, worried what every action meant. The moment we couldn’t meet as frequently? I stopped caring. The distance made it easier to see what wasn’t there and gave clarity. I didn’t prescribe meaning to every interaction because it didn’t really matter. I found I enjoyed our time together more because it only meant something in that specific moment. I also stopped trying to reach out. Most of my messages were “if you’re free, cool. If not, maybe next time. 🤷🏾‍♀️” I stopped caring and let him come to me.

I’m starting to think I can’t do relationships. I prefer distance, I prefer being secondary, I prefer knowing I don’t have a chance. Because my anxious brain won’t have a chance to fuck it all up with fear.

People leave, people disappoint, and people hurt me. I don’t want to emotionally invest sometimes. Man, my therapist still has a lot to work with considering how I think.

But really, my self-fulfilling prophecy was I wouldn’t meet my significant other in college. I never did. I never saw myself as being desirable or an option so I never was one. I ended my chances before they started because giving up, and being a pessimist, is what I do.

I’m not sure this will ever change for me. This is a coping behavior that’s protected me well. At times, I don’t think I want to change it either. You can’t stress about something you don’t have, can you?

This… wasn’t what I meant to talk about. Not really, but this is the jumble that came out so we’ll run with.


  1. Mrs Fever

    I’m happy you ran with it, even if your “legs” took you in a different direction than you expected. 🙂

    I think there is a certain safety net with geographical distance. It’s a physical reminder/manifestation of “arm’s length” and it works to emotionally too — even when things are going well, there’s a natural barrier to ‘having to’ do anything particular or be emotionally there. Y’know? Because, far away.

    So what you say makes sense. About distance, about investment (or the lack thereof), about it being easier to shut off / shut down. I get it.

    Some of what you say here — disappointment in people, pessimism about things working out, etc. — it makes me wonder if you’ve ever witnessed a good relationship. I know I certainly never knew what a good relationship was supposed to look like when I was younger, and I totally sucked at relationships for quite a while. I think a big reason for that is that I had zero positive role models. Everyone I knew while I was growing up who was married was miserable; my mother has shit taste in men; I often felt like “why bother?” when it came to trying/putting-in-effort. Because DISAPPOINTMENT, much?

    And yet.

    [ . . . thinking . . . ]

  2. Joy

    I identify with a lot of this, particularly the stuff about long- distance relationships and keeping people at arm’s length. I’m choosing to see it as a positive at the moment because it means I can practise a lot of skills that may come in handy in future close- up relationships without getting banjaxed by physiological responses. Like, I feel as if the way that some past partners smelt made me really stupid? 🙂 Anyway. This was good to read.

  3. Lisa Stone

    It seems to me that by writing this post, you yourself have more clarity in your head. So we (readers) are unwittingly your psychotherapists. Write, do not be shy. We are with you.

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