Dating Detox: I Took A 3-Year Break From Men

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dating detox
One woman goes three years without a date to kick her bad-boy habit.

When you hear the word "detox" all sorts of things come to mind: spas, juice fasts, colonics, rehab centers. People enter detoxification programs to rid their bodies of toxins, lose a little weight, maybe look and feel better about the damage they've done to their bodies. Detoxifications are done when you eat too many chips, drink too many drinks, do too many drugs. But how do you detoxify from poor love decisions? Is there a Promises out there for people who have had one toxic relationship after another? How do you take the damage done from too many bad relationships to enable a fresh start?

I came into dating like a lot of young women with a challenged self-esteem from developing too early. I spent a lot of time hiding from boys in junior high and high school. A a self-professed band geek with braces and glasses, my M.O. was to stay as far under the radar as possible.

All of my friends tried to give me advice as they had their first kisses and groping sessions with boys they'd learned to attract. I began trying these tactics ever so hesitantly on boys I thought were cute, which in high school meant any boy who looked in my direction for longer than five seconds. That was how it started: I became a Rejection Junkie.

The objects of my addiction took on many forms: the Misunderstood Artist, the Shy Musician, the Brooding Soccer Player, the Beatnik Fellow Band Geek. I would fall madly for them, they would lose interest, and I would lie at home crying into my covers. I'd lament love and listen to depressing radio until some poor guy would pick up a pencil I dropped in English class and become my next unwitting pusher. 

On the last night of high school, one of the coolest boys in my class—the captain of the wrestling team and a smoking hot jock—came up to me and admitted that he thought I was cute. I didn't know what to do about what he said next: "Yeah, I always wanted to ask you out, but you were always into all these other really weird guys. I figured you weren't really into guys like me, so I never asked you."

I wish I could say I went out with him. I didn't. I didn't know what to do with that comment. He wouldn't have rejected me, so I wasn't really interested.

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