Two years ago, when my husband announced he was leaving me, the first words out of my mouth were, “Who’s going to want me now?” I have no idea where those words came from. They just popped out of my mouth without any kind of thought involved, as though someone else was saying them, and it kind of creeped me out. It was a valid question, though, and for a long time after that, I remained convinced I’d never be with anyone ever again. At first it was because I was feeling so rejected (despite my husband’s insistence that I’m a “great girl”), but later it morphed into the fact that I no longer have the patience for anyone close to my age or older, and “great girl” or not, I couldn’t imagine why anyone younger would ever be interested in someone like me. Then, to my surprise, I met someone younger, and we became friends. Now before the word “cougar” gets bandied about, my understanding of that term is that it implies predatory intent, and believe me, it wasn’t like that at all. We tiptoed around each other for almost a year, and then a couple of months ago he moved away. Ironically, something about the distance between us made it easier to communicate. We finally confessed our mutual desire and made plans to get together. He told me he’s into BDSM, which I’m not, but we managed to discuss it like quasi-civilized adults. He said he wouldn’t force me into anything, and tried to explain that it’s not like that. I tried to keep an open mind, and at first it seemed almost kind of liberating. But then I got confused and angry because he had led me to believe he couldn’t wait to be with me, but when he came back to town to see friends and family, he kept me waiting for days. I knew I wasn’t the main reason for his visit, but it’s not like I was offering him tea and cookies. I was offering him sex, and could only interpret his “sorry, I’ve just been so busy” excuse as a sign that either he really didn’t want me as badly as he kept saying he did, or that deliberately trying to drive me crazy was all part of the domination thing. At that point, I quickly began to realize I’d never be able to make him happy, so I bailed before anything really had a chance to happen. Part of me is proud of myself for not submitting to his control (even though he was probably my last best hope for a physical relationship of any kind), but the rest of me feels totally humiliated, and I’m not sure why. I gave up on him not so much because of anything he said or did (or didn’t do), but mainly because I knew I’d be setting myself up to fail, and I simply can’t deal with another failure right now. Was I being a coward, or looking out for myself? I think it’s the latter, so why should I feel so bad about that? I did admit I handled it badly (i.e. texting before counting to ten, abruptly deleting our online means of communication, etc.), but I’m convinced that nipping it in the bud (perhaps a poor choice of metaphor in this case) was the right thing to do. I was relieved to find out he’d been unfazed by my somewhat less than mature way of doing it, yet I feel like I’ve failed anyway.
I don’t understand why I can’t stop beating myself up (another unfortunate metaphor) for not being able to wrap my mind around his way of thinking. The logical side of me says, “it’s not that you have a closed mind. If you really had a closed mind you would just think of him as a sick perverted fuck, but you do understand that everyone has the right to their own kinks as long as all parties are consenting. You’re not closed-minded, you just have different tastes.” On the other hand, I look at some of the pictures he posts on his blog, and I can’t find a way to think of them as anything but downright disturbing. What’s worse is that I liked him so much and we were friends, and now all of that is gone because now I can only think of him as someone who enjoys subjecting women to pain and degradation (no matter how much he assures me it’s what they want). I know that everyone is reading that 50 shades of bullshit thing now, which I admit I haven’t read, because all the reputable review sources say it’s very badly written, and I don’t have time for that. They also say that the main male character really is a sick perverted fuck, so I don’t think it would improve my understanding of true BDSM. Plus, if there’s anything I’m really not into, it’s “romance” novels.
I don’t know whether all this means I do have a working amount of self-esteem after all, or precious little, and it’s bewildering the shit out of me. At my age, I should have a grip on this, but clearly I don’t. All I know is, a person is very fragile after a divorce, and just as I was beginning to see a glimmer of sunlight, it turned into something very dark, and it’s the second time this year that something that started out as such a positive step took an immediate nosedive into the abyss. (I’m referring to what happened last winter with my cat, which is an even more pathetic story that I’d rather not dredge up again.) Meanwhile, I feel like I’m losing my mind, because I don’t understand what just happened to me, and I don’t have anyone in my non-Vicky life I can confide in about things like this. A few months ago, I was talking with another divorced woman about whether or not I’d as yet “moved on.” I told her I believed I had, but then she argued, “Well then, who are you seeing?” I remember feeling a little offended by her insistence that “moving on” has to involve “seeing” someone. Is it too old-school feminist to wonder why a woman can’t move on by herself? During the cat thing I was going to a psychologist, who was a very nice person, but he didn’t help me at all. He too seemed to feel that “seeing” someone would be the cure for all that ailed me, and struggled to find a professional way of telling me I just needed to get laid. I’m not saying he was wrong, but again I felt a little insulted. The worst part of all is that, in the grand scheme of life, and even in just the grand scheme of sex, these are not real problems. So I feel guilty for complaining, and that is a problem. Anyway, I’m not looking for love, or for any kind of serious relationship. I don’t believe in those things, I’m too independent, and I don’t have the patience. All I want is a friend with benefits, but I’m not getting any younger, and I’ve never been good with those feminine wiles. Yet as desperate as I am, and as casual as I need it to be, I won’t fuck just anyone, and I’d rather die than do the online dating thing. As humiliated as I feel right now, I can’t imagine anything more humiliating than that. So instead, I blog.
So, are you bored? Don’t say I didn’t warn you. If you made it this far, maybe you’re one of those masochists and can explain that to me. I still don’t get it.