When I realized in June that I was going to have to give up dating and sexing for at least six months, I was pretty bummed, to put it mildly. It wasn’t just that I was going to have to abstain from men, it was that I was going to have to do this during the summer. In the summer I work less than I do during the rest of the year, and as a result I have a lot of time on my hands, but not a lot of cash. I foresaw a miserable sexless, fun-less summer ahead.
The previous summer, I had used men as “free” entertainment. From June to August I was involved with several men:
Joe — Very dominate and possessive. We got sexual almost right away. This guy was so nuts, I’ll have to write an entry about him later.
Fergus — Tall, Scottish, insane. He had bright orange hair and would say things like, “I’m a recovering alcoholic,” without any hint of irony, while guzzling large quantities of liquor. We made-out once or twice, but never had sex.
Jason — Much older than me, but still extremely handsome. I met him over a year before. We had dated twice previously, and he had blown me off both times. At one point we were actually “dating,” meaning he would come to my place, pick me up, and take me to dinner before we had sex; but then he started skipping the taking me to dinner part. Never a quick learner, I was surprised and hurt when he stopped returning my phone calls a third time. He never did “break up” with me, but I eventually got the hint when he removed me from his facebook friends.
Tim — A very nice older man. He took me on wonderfully romantic dates, but I felt no chemistry. When I was somewhere with him I was usually thinking, “this would be an amazing date… if I were here with Jason.” He was so nice, I wish I had been more attracted to him. We never did more than kiss.
Dustin — A total tool. He was more than 20 years older than me, but always acted like he was doing me a favor when he came over. I actively disliked this guy, but that didn’t stop me from sleeping with him for several months.
David — I met him in mid-August and thought I had found the perfect boyfriend. He was handsome, well-educated and successful. We waited until our fifth date to have sex (his decision; I was usually willing to give it up on the first or second date). I think he was initially attracted to me, because on the surface it looked like I had my act together (I can put on a good show for at least a month). He quickly realized what a mess I was. By October, we were over.
What a difference a year makes. It is now halfway through August, and I have not been on one date or had a single sexual encounter all summer. I thought this summer was going to suck, but quite the opposite is true. I may not have a lot of cash, but have discovered that I don’t need to rely on a guy to foot the bill and take me out. My summer has been spent reconnecting with friends and doing plenty of fun, free/low-cost activities — going to free concerts, hanging out at my friend’s pool, doing lots of yoga, making meals for friends instead of going to restaurants all the time. Even going to meetings has been kind of fun, in a way. While they aren’t always a barrel of laughs, and can at times be emotionally draining; it gets me out of the house and is a social activity. Spending the evening at a meeting, listening to other addicts’ experience, strength and hope, is better than sitting at home, depressed waiting for some guy to call me.
I don’t want to make it sound like everything has been rainbows and lollipops. The pain of withdrawal is intense. But instead of avoiding withdrawal and moving from one guy to the next, I have chosen to experience the emotional and sometimes even physical pain. I can’t stuff down the pain with men anymore, but I can take the edge off by doing fun, healthy, enriching activities that are changing my life for the better.