Since I’ve been sexually “sober,” I’ve been mentally creating a list in my head of guys that I might want to “revisit” or check out on December 29th. On December 29, it will be six months since I have been working a program of recovery from sex and love addiction, and when I will allow myself to begin dating again, this time “soberly.” Dating soberly is basically just dating while sticking to my bottom lines – chiefly “no sexual involvement outside of a committed relationship,” also no sexual or romatic involvement with married, attached, or otherwise unavailable men (funny how this wasn’t already common sense to me before). So this list isn’t exactly a “to do” list.
Having a mental list like this, isn’t a good thing (in program speak, this is called making “rain checks”) but some days when I’m in intense withdrawal, I have to kinda play mind games with myself to keep from acting out. So far on the list I have Paolo, if he has broken up with his girlfriend by then; Miles, a musician I went out with once in March, who told me he just wanted something casual; SN someone I haven’t met in person yet but I like him because his name is remarkably similar to mine, and, in pictures, he has an amazing body (face not so much); and a few other guys that have been popping up here and there. I’m not really in contact with any of these men. That wouldn’t be healthy behavior for me. But from time to time I will get a random text from some guy I went out once or twice, months back, or someone I had talked about going out with. I either ignore the text or I write back a polite message saying I am currently unavailable.
Yesterday, I went on to Yahoo messenger, and there was a message from SN, but it was written by someone claiming to be his wife. I told her I would not be communicating with him again, and removed him from my contact list.
This incident made me realize, how fucked up my “picker” still is. Even though, I now have some recovery, I am still attracted to people based on superficial things like appearance, status, and sexual prowess. When I fantasize about what my first sober relationship will look like in recovery, I cast one of these guys from my list the role of “perfect boyfriend,” knowing, nothing about who they really are. Also, every guy on this list has some kind of caveat next to his name – “if he has broken up with his girlfriend by then,” “only if he is now interested in a serious relationship,” “if he has gotten help for his addictions,” etc. Even with, SN, part of me is still hoping he is going to send me a message telling me the wife thing was just a joke.
It’s clear that I don’t have the tools yet needed to find a healthy mate and sustain a functional partnership. At first, going six months without men seemed like an eternity. Now, it’s four and a half months and that doesn’t seem like such a long time. It’s one thing to be initially attracted to someone based on looks, status, and sexual chemistry, but what if I’m never able to move beyond that? On their website, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous lists twelve characteristics of sex and love addiction. Eleven out of the twelve apply to me, but particularly number one, “Having few healthy boundaries, we become sexually involved with and/or emotionally attached to people without knowing them.” and number twelve, “We assign magical qualities to others. We idealize and pursue them, then blame them for not fulfilling our fantasies and expectations.”
Is four and a half months going to be long enough to stop doing what I’ve been doing my entire life? Will a year be long enough? What if I can never get over this?