These friendships lasted for a while longer as I felt that being used was better than being alone. So, I endured and slowly drifted lower and lower. This lasted until I fell in love again, and this relationship went the same as my first love but far more intense. This girl was a mythical creature from a fantasy world. She is still the hardest worker I have ever met, the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, and was the inspiration I used to become a better person. I would say to myself every day “become the kind of guy that she would want to be with”. To me, she was the perfect woman and in many ways she still is. When she approached me saying she had feelings for me, I was so shocked that she would even want to be with me that I instantly did everything I could to prove to her that she would not regret it.
The issue is that this one-sided relationship started out of a one-sided friendship. The metaphor I like to use is a common one: that of a gardener and a flower. A gardener puts a lot of effort and time into a flower. They nourish and protect it. In a healthy relationship (and friendship), the roles change depending on who has the greatest needs and struggles at that time. A healthy relationship is where you support each other and are able to critique each other openly to build trust through honesty. The problem arises when someone is always the gardener and the other is always the flower. This is a very common and straight-forward analogy, but I would make a less-seen observation. A problem also arises when the relationship begins with this gardener-flower correlation. A flower who gets all of their nutrients and attention from the gardener from the beginning will be upset and begin to dwindle if the gardener stops providing the nutrients. The flower may understand that the gardener needs support and attention too, but the gardener will still need to constantly supply that life-source of attention and support. This type of dependent relationship is not sustainable, but it is my specialty.
By this time I was 26 and in fairy-tale love. I would have done anything for her, and so I did everything for her; she is still the only girl for whom I have ever picked out a ring. This give-take relationship led to huge ongoing fights as yet another one-sided relationship had made me into a person that I was not proud of and increased my level of insecurity to the point to where I was defining myself by her. This put an enormous amount of pressure on her to treat me a certain way so that I would constantly feel worthy of her. This was completely unacceptable and ultimately caused most of our issues, allowing for the relationship to be drawn out far longer than it should have.
Through issues that I won’t discuss out of respect to her, we also had to keep our relationship hidden for a long time. This had detrimental tolls, while also causing high levels of stress and strain through both of our lives. These details are messy and, once again would lead me to trying to validate my motives and actions. I instead chose to say that I handled the situation entirely wrong and chose to ignore the signs that were put in front of me. Upon recognizing how much total control she had over me, I found that the best way to get away from this spiraling relationship was to leave altogether. My love for her led me to move from Arizona to Chicago to be with her, and my love for myself forced me to move from Chicago to California to get away from her.
I went through months of mourning and heartbreak before becoming coherent and getting my head back on relatively straight. There was definitely a difference after this one. Something inside me had changed and I knew I would never be the same. I had been broken down to my core and needed to be rebuilt. It was vital for me to be rebuilt into the man of my future so I would grow into someone of which I could be proud. However in the meantime, I turned to my usual whoring to try to build some self-esteem back. There as difference this time, however. This time, no one wanted to sleep with me.
On paper, I am an attractive guy. I am 6’5″, have a Master’s degree in civil engineering, and workout about 15 hours a week. I was getting serious with a girl before we became friends (see Prologue) but other than that and a few random girls that in all honesty I used to make myself feel better, I have been having zero luck in finding someone I am truly attracted to. Mind you, I am not trying to get laid. Getting laid is easy. If anyone truly wanted, anyone could get laid every night if you didn’t care who it was with. I want something real. I want someone I can hold hands with in public. Between the long distance and hidden relationships, I have never done that and it literally hurts to think about. I am now 28 years old and have never spent a birthday with a significant other (despite being seriously dating someone for 3 of my birthdays). It takes a toll and I am no longer allowing myself to settle for less. I have finally reached a point where I can say I deserve to have someone who is proud to be with me.
The purpose of this project is to become someone who doesn’t need others to gain self-esteem. The purpose of this project is to remove a vulnerability entirely from the process. The purpose of this project is to not be a jerk and in order to do that I need to discover what has made me a jerk in the first place: not knowing what I am worth. It is my hope that in the next year I will be able to do just that.