The Guy Who Wasn’t John Jenner

When I think of my first boyfriend, what comes to mind is my first truly love addicted entanglement, which I was involved with from my late teens to early 20s. I often forget that he was preceded by Dennis, a boy who was my boyfriend for four whole weeks when I was 15.

At the beginning of my sophomore year of high school, I was feeling pretty insecure. I’d never had a boyfriend, never been kissed, never even been on one date. If I had known then how much I was going to eventually make up for this late start, I might have relaxed a little. But at the time I felt like a freak.

One of my good friends, Louisa, had always had a boyfriend. She was one of those girls, who later became one of those women who was never single more than a day in her life. She just went from one longterm boyfriend to another. Dennis, a freshman, was totally smitten with Louisa, but since she was attached, he set his sites on one of her single girlfriends (me).

I had no interest in Dennis. He was a decent enough looking guy, but I just wasn’t into him. While girls like Louisa could trace their history from present all the way back to third grade from boyfriend to boyfriend, I could do the same but from silent, painful, all consuming crush to silent, painful, all consuming crush. When Dennis started showing interest in me, all the space in my brain reserved for liking guys was completely taken over by John Jenner, the gorgeous water polo player I had never talked to even once. In fact, I had never even made eye contact with the guy, who was in half of my classes, for fear that if he looked in my eyes he would see how much I liked him, and reject me in a public and humiliating way.

Dennis could have been the coolest guy in school (he wasn’t, though) and I would have had no interest, because he wasn’t John Jenner. Despite the fact that he wasn’t what I wanted, I agreed to be his date to the Homecoming Dance. I did this for two reasons. 1) My friends all told me I should and 2) I felt like going on a date with someone, anyone would make me less of a freak.

We went to the dance, we made out, and then he asked me to be his girlfriend. We spent the next four weeks making out in the back of movie theaters. Even though I was totally indifferent towards the guy, I liked making out with him especially in the dark.

Talking to him was another story. We just didn’t have anything in common. One time I showed him my recently painted nails. I had painted them black with a gold glitter topcoat. This was a few years before black nail polish became en vogue, but I still thought they looked rather cool. When I asked him what he thought, he gave me a disgusted look and said, “Why can’t you just be a normal girl?” Ouch! I should have shot back with, “Why can’t you just be John Jenner?”

Another time we were deciding how to divvy up the pictures from Homecoming and I said something like, “Well, when we break-up you probably won’t want to have all these extra pictures of me lying around.” A pretty logical point for a 15-year-old girl, right? But Dennis didn’t think so.

“What do you mean when we break-up?”

“We are going to eventually break-up. I’m 15 and you’re only 14.”

“But you are actually planning for it?”

Yeah, cry me a river Dennis. Three days later he called me up and broke up with me. On the phone.

Actually I remember the conversation going a little like this:

“Maybe we should break up.”

“Yeah, maybe we should.”

But the next day at school this Freshman had the nerve to tell everyone he broke up with me. Although we passed each other every day in the halls, we never said another word to each other.

Louisa eventually started seeing Dennis. I think she even lost her virginity to him. Then they broke up and he moved to another school. I tried to look him up on Facebook, but to no avail. I also can’t find Louisa, who I lost touch with after graduation.

I did find John Jenner, though. He is now some granola-y, hippie, organic farmer married to some chick with dreadlocks. He is also balding, and has lost his water polo physique. Seems like a cool guy, but not my type at all. He probably was never my type. I was too caught up in the fantasy of John Jenner to actually get to know John Jenner.

Earlier, I started to type that Dennis was the first guy I ever used, but then I realized I also used John Jenner, and every boy I had an obsessive crush on before him. In the past all I needed was a few details about a hot guy and I would fill in all the blanks, falling for essentially a fantasy character I created. I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to get to know people for who they authentically are.

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My Drugs


I’ve been getting a lot of new readers, so I thought I would create a handy reference for those who don’t know where to begin.

This is a list of many of the men I have written about on this blog. Since I don’t want to get sued I’m such a nice person, I’ve given them all pseudonyms.

HC is a married man I was seeing right before I came into program. You can read about him here and here.

Joe Turner is some shady idiot.

Ethan is a sociopath I was hooked on for a long time.

Peter was my first (and probably worst) boyfriend.

Jonathan is a liar and a cheater.

Mr. Fat Cock, Fat Wallet has the distinction of actually being a nice guy… well, as nice as one can be while regularly cheating on his wife.

Creepy Daddy is, well, just that.

Jane was a little girl who I was in love with even though she was mean to me.

Leigh is the worst casual encounter I have had the displeasure of encountering.

Carson is the last guy I acted out with. I actually wrote about him while I was seeing him. You can read about him here, here, and here.

Anthony is the closest I’ve ever coming to being in love. I wrote about him here, here, and here.

Of course not all of my posts are about men. Most of them are about my recovery and what I’ve found out about myself along the way. But I know the acting out stories are usually the ones that are the most “fun” to read. If you are new to my blog, I invite you to click around and find out more about me.

A Subtle Addiction

Not so subtle

My sex and love addiction can be bold and blatant, like a belligerent drunk getting kicked out of a bar. More often than not, though, it’s subtle, like a functioning alcoholic who drinks all night and still manages to show up every morning for work and do his job.

It sneaks in.

“You went more than three years without talking to Anthony, you can be friends with him now,” it says. Then, “It’s okay to talk to him every single day. You’re JUST friends.” “Phone sex isn’t real sex. It’s fine,” it whispers in my ear.

So now I have this thing going on with someone I thought I had completely exorcised from my system a few years back. We’re not fucking, and that’s how I justify staying in contact with the guy. But it’s just as bad, if not worse. I talk to him every day, and sometimes for hours on end.

I sometimes think that if Anthony were 15 years younger and just a little bit less… weird, he would be my soulmate. We would probably be married by now and have three kids. I told this to a friend in program recently and she said, “So if he were a COMPLETELY different person he would be your soulmate?”

Um, well, when you put it that way…

The thing is, I don’t even believe in soulmates. But my addiction does. It tells me that it doesn’t matter that insert name here is married, or that he is a sociopathic liar, or that he is 21 freaking years older than me and he’s a swinger. He (whomever “he” happens to be at the moment) is the ONE!

This is bullshit.

I care about Anthony probably more than I have ever cared about any man I have been romantically linked to. That’s why it’s so fucked up that I am using him for a high. The last time we talked Anthony (who knows I’m in a program for sex/love addiction) said something like, “I guess I’m flattered by all the attention you give me and how fixated you can get.”

“Don’t be, because it’s bullshit,” I replied. “You could be anyone. I have given this level of attention to men that I hated. Obsession is nothing to be flattered by. It’s all about me and has nothing to do with you.

“Once I stop contacting you, then you should be flattered. Because that will mean that I authentically care about you enough to stop using you.”

But it’s not that easy. I do authentically care enough about Anthony to stop using him. I genuinely care about him so much. But true affection isn’t enough to override addiction, obsession, and compulsion. No matter how much I care about anyone, I am still powerless over all this shit. I can’t stop on will power alone.

It’s now been just over 24 hours since I last had contact with Anthony. And to anyone who thinks love addiction isn’t a real thing, well fuck you, because I’m currently going through a physical withdrawal. I’m shaky, I have a headache, and I feel like I’m going to throw up.

Maybe some day in the very distant future I will be healthy enough to have an appropriate friendship with Anthony. I hope so, but I can’t think about that right now. I need to concentrate on filling the space in my life he took up with my higher power, and getting through one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

Image via Wikimedia Commons, Author: Landii

Straddling the Line

I try to stay fairly positive on this blog. One of the reasons I started it was to give hope to other sex and love addicts still suffering in their addictions. I have been having a hard time the last couple of months, though. I slipped up a bunch in December. Since then I have been more or less sticking to my bottom-lines. There is a big difference between following the letter of the law and the spirit of the law and I’ve only been doing the former, finding sneaky ways to act out without breaking my bottom lines.

I met Carson at the end of December. In The Downward Spiral, I mentioned that I was going to meet someone off of Craigslist. I did meet him. Like me, he’s the typical person you’ll meet on Craigslist: damaged. We have a lot in common, actually. Carson is attractive, and talented; but going through a hard time. He recently lost his job, he’s broke, he just got a DUI, and he’s extremely depressed. If it wasn’t for SLAA, I would have had sex with Carson that night. Instead I just listened to his sad story.

After our initial meeting, we had some flirty texts and phone conversations until I felt guilty about leading him on and told him I was in SLAA. I also told him I couldn’t have sex outside of a committed relationship. Carson, who really is a good guy, understood and we started a platonic (ish) friendship. Which would be fine, except that Carson is an unavailable male and unavailable men are my drug of choice. I’ve been using Carson.

I keep trying to see how far I can push things with him. Then I get mad when he respects the boundaries I had previously put forth. I keep twisting his words around, using them to play out this sick narrative I’ve had in my head since childhood: I’m the girl that nobody wants. In my head, Carson (who has completely valid, healthy reasons for not wanting a relationship) doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me, because no one ever would want to be in a relationship with me.

The thing that is surprising to me about this “friendship” is that there is the same exact dynamic going on that was present in all of my previous love addicted relationships. I would choose men who were clearly unavailable for a longterm relationship, start a casual sexual relationship with them and then get hurt when they didn’t want a longterm relationship with me. I thought taking sex out of the equation would magically change all of this, but apparently that’s not how it works.

Friday I was working near Carson’s apartment (I work in different locations everyday) so I stopped by for a drink after work. I was more than sufficiently buzzed after two beers (they were strong), but had a third. Carson also appeared to be buzzed after two beers, but kept drinking…. and drinking, and drinking. I had previously suspected that Carson might have a drinking problem, but Friday confirmed it.

His intoxication was not attractive. I wanted to leave, but I needed to sober up before I could drive. At one point I was laying across Carson’s couch, and he came up behind me and swatted my ass. This spanking was the closest I’ve come to sexual activity in eight months and it really turned me on. At the same time, I was repulsed by how drunk he was. When I stood up, I let him push me up against the wall and spank me a few more times. But I pushed his hands away when they tried to go down my pants and up my shirt.

If he had been less intoxicated, I know I would have let Carson fuck me, but instead I found him gross and out of control. When, barely able to stand up, he slurred, “Let’s go get a bottle of wine,” I knew it was time to leave.

I’ve been straddling the line between acting out and recovery since December. I am not having sex with anyone, but I’m also not doing step work. There has been no forward motion in my recovery, or my life.

There is another inappropriate relationship I’m engaged in as well. I reestablished a friendship with my ex-Dom Anthony. I have started to write about Anthony at least half a dozen times on here, but there is so much complicated backstory I don’t even know where to begin.

Yesterday I was talking to my sponsor and she said that I am making Anthony my higher power. She’s right. She also said that both Carson and Anthony need to go on my bottom lines list. She’s also right about that, but I don’t want to deal with adding more qualifiers to my no contact list. One is hard enough already. I told her I wasn’t willing to cut off contact with Anthony and Carson at this point, but I would pray for willingness.

I’m also struggling with food. I don’t want to do anything right now but eat, or act out. At some point I know I am probably going to end up in Overeaters Anonymous, but I feel like I have to get my SLAA issues under control before I add another 12-step program to the mix.

For today, I’m praying for willingness — willingness to stop stuffing my face; willingness to stop doing whatever it is I’m doing with Carson; willingness to stop my dependency on Anthony; willingness to start Step 4; willingness to get out of bed; willingness to clean my apartment; willingness to find a better job; willingness to become a healthy person.

How to Make a Man Disapear

One aspect of relationships I have always excelled at is pushing away men that were previously interested in me. Below is a tried and true list of magic phrases I’ve used to make a man disappear (usually not on purpose). Got a guy you’re trying to lose? Suck at breaking up with people? Try out one if these lines.

“The last guy I dated had a huuuge penis. Like, almost too big… The sex was amazing though.”

“What’s your ex’s name? I want to google her.”

“My goal is to get married within the next 6 to 12 months.” This one I would actually use to purposely get rid of overzealous suitors. Success rate: 100%.

“So, last night I was on (insert name of dating site where you met) and saw you were on too… I’ve noticed you still go on there a lot. I also found your profile at (insert another website, the more obscure the better). You’re on there a lot too.” This one requires some research.

“Once I dated this guy who had the smallest penis ever/always came really quick/could never get hard (choose the option you think might be his anxiety). My friends couldn’t stop laughing when I told them about it.”

“Do you think I’d be prettier if I lost a lot weight?” Wait for answer. Then start crying regardless of what it is.

“Don’t worry, I’m not looking for anything serious either…. So, just curious, in how long from now do you think you will be looking for something serious?”

“On a scale of 1 to 10, how do I rate compared to the other girls you’ve dated.” Then, “Only a xx! Why only a xx?” Act super pissed. This will work even if he says 10, because he could have said an 11.

“OMG, I don’t even know why you want to date me. I’m sooooo screwed up, like fucking nuts. You’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg. It’s only a matter of time until I scare you off for good.” This line works best when drunkenly slurred through tears. Bonus points if he’s stone cold sober.

“I miiiiiiiss you so much, baby! Do you miss me?” Text this to him 45 minutes after he’s left your apartment.

“Tell me about the other girls you’re dating. Are any of them prettier/thinner/smarter/better at sex than me?”

“How many people have you had sex with?” Followed by, “That’s all! Why so few?”

Call him up late on a night you know he has to wake up early, crying hysterically. Tell him you are crying over (insert childhood trauma). Ask him to come over and hold you. Repeat the whole production a couple of days later, this time in the middle of his workday.

Try these out. Your guy will be gone in no time.

Feel free to add your own magic lines in the comments.

Love

I came home from work yesterday to find a Christmas care package from my Aunt Nadine and Uncle Ned, who live on the other side of the country. It contained homemade banana bread, cookies, a Christmas stocking full of goodies and two wrapped presents. It’s hard to put into words how moved I was by this unexpected package.

Lately, I’ve been lucky enough to keep getting reminders that I am loved. Big things like this care package, but also small things like a neighbor kid drawing a picture for me, or a text from a high school friend telling me that she misses me are enough to move me to tears. Surely, these kinds of non-romatic displays of affection always existed in my life, but I always took them for granted. If it wasn’t Prince Charming with a dozen roses, I barely even noticed. I was too busy lamenting all that I didn’t have — a boyfriend, a husband, a dom — to realize all the blessings that I did have.

Deep down, I didn’t believe I was even lovable. Sure, a guy might stick around for awhile if I was doing everything I could to please him sexually and be a good sub, but if sex was out of the equation that same guy would have zero interest in me. And the other people in my life — family, friends, coworkers, neighbors — they were just there because they got stuck with me, not out of a genuine tenderness for me.

Occasionally I still tend to oh, woe is me thinking (see previous entry, for example), but most of the time I am so appreciative for all that I do have. And I feel so lucky that these special people stuck around and still care about me despite the fact that most of my life I’ve moped around like a surly teenager and haven’t been able to return their affections.

Today, I can say that I am grateful for all the love in my life and I’m grateful that I’m able to accept and give love. Most importantly, I now see that I am a lovable person and I love myself.

Alone

Last night I saw Shame. I wanted to see this movie because the main character, Brandon (Michael Fassbender) is a sex addict. First off, it’s a well-acted, beautifully shot movie with a compelling script and I would have enjoyed the movie whether or not the topic of sex addiction was on my radar. Also, Michael Fassbender is hot and naked throughout much of the movie.

After seeing Shame, I thought I was going to write about how realistically the movie portrayed sex addiction and how much I could relate to the frenzied hunger that is never quite sated, and the desperate, yet fruitless desire to quell intense emotional pain with the ecstasy of an orgasm. Today, however, all I can think about is the relationship between Brandon and his sister Cissy (Carey Mulligan). Even though they have a highly dysfunctional relationship, they have each other.

Still of Carey Mulligan and Michael Fassbender in Shame

I can’t help but think how much easier my life and my recovery would be if I had someone. As some as you know, I am an only child and both of my parents died before I entered high school. It’s not like I am completely alone. I have close friends who are like family, and an extended family that loves and cares for me. Still, it’s not the same thing as having a close blood relative. Extended family is okay, but sometimes because I’m not immediate family, they don’t think to include me.

This holiday season has been particularly tough, because I wasn’t invited to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with the family members I lived with after my parents died. It wasn’t like they just forgot to invite me, either. I asked if I could come and was told that there wouldn’t be enough room, even if I stayed in a hotel. While this probably sounds like a pretty shitty thing to do, I know these people well enough to know that this wasn’t done out of malice, but just out of thoughtlessness. They have each other, and especially as their families are growing, I’m not included in this. I’m not immediate family. It hurts that the family I spent a chunk of my childhood with doesn’t think of me as a member, but I’m fortunate to have plenty of other aunts, uncles and cousins whose doors are always open to me. I’ll be spending Christmas with some of them.

While I am grateful for the family I do have, it’s just not the same as having siblings or parents, or even a husband and kids of my own. It’s lonely. A loneliness that few people can truly relate too.

Much of what drove my sex and love addiction was this loneliness. I so desperately wanted to belong to someone, to have someone take care of me. I would cling like my life depended on it. At the same time, I got freaked out whenever I felt genuine closeness with someone I and would push them away. I could be very mean and abusive to the men I was dating. Disrespectful. Usually this meant I was left clinging on to someone I had no real connection to aside from sex, like HC. This was the love addiction. The pain from being alone was what drove my sex addiction. I just wanted to obliterate my feelings and lose myself in sexual ecstasy. Then as soon as it was over the pain would come back even more intensely and I would have to do it all over again.

I worry that no amount of therapy or of steps will mitigate this loneliness. Really, the only cure for not having any family is to have a family. It’s hard for me to imagine I will ever be healthy enough to accomplish this. When loneliness is both the cause and the effect of my disease, how can I ever completely heal?