We are only capable of being as emotionally intimate as the lovers we choose.
There are two kinds of people in this world: the kind who love sweet food and the kind who love salty food. My best friend swears by Oreos. Me? I’ve always been a Pringles kind of gal.
There are also two kinds of daters in this world: the kind who fall for sweet guys and the kind who fall for salty guys.
My best friend has always been a sucker for the sweeties, falling for men who bathe her in compliments, and adoringly call her “baby,” and bring her soup when she’s too sick to leave her apartment.
Men like that never did it for me. Like a masochistic broken record, I dive headfirst into relationship after relationship with the salty guy: the kind who chooses guys’ night over me, and indiscreetly stares at another woman as she walks by, and calls me fat while unapologetically pinching my practically nonexistent arm flab.
I once heard we are only capable of being as emotionally intimate as the lovers we choose.
For people like my best friend, this rule manifests itself as good news. It means they lead lives filled with romantic guarantees and pre-planned date nights.
But for people like me — the serial assh*le dater — that same rule is bad news. Because every time I take a shot at love, I miss miserably, and I end up leading a love life filled with half-assed promises and unanswered text messages.
I have spent the better half of my life wading through a sea of assh*les.
There was the guy who paid more attention to his money than he did to me. There was the 10-inch-dicked dickhead whose man parts paled in comparison to the size of his ego. There was the alcoholic who always “forgot” to call me back, and there was the wanderlust-stricken (read: confused) guy who couldn’t stay stateside for more than a consecutive week.
I could keep going, but the more I tell you about the ghosts from my past, the less I find myself believing I’ll ever be able to break my romantic patterns.
See, aside from their poor manners in love and lack of heart, these scum-of-the-Earth douches all had one thing in common — me.
I often get a lot of flak for my poor taste in men: from my happily wed sister, from my good-guy-loving best friend, from my smartypants therapist. I used to think people like them were all born with some sort of predisposition — a mutated gene or maybe a special computer chip lodged in their brains — that helped them meet nice people. People who love them the way they deserved to be loved.
All this time, I thought the assh*les were choosing me: like I was the butt of God’s cruelest joke, fated to remain ostracized from the VIP circle of happy, healthy love.
But no. I choose them.
There’s something about the assh*le that makes me feel alive.
To tell you the truth, I don’t think I can do better than them. I truly believe I don’t deserve that selfless, requited, fairytale kind of love I look at from afar and envy.
For me, that kind of relationship is always out of reach. And it’s because I’m unsure of myself, and hesitant to let someone really see me for me, and afraid of being abandoned by someone to whom I’ve decided to give my everything.
Here is my grand admission: I don’t know how to be emotionally intimate with a man with whom I’m also physically intimate.
It’s easy to be emotionally distant with assh*les who, by no coincidence, also happen to be emotionally distant. Keeping the nice guys at arm’s length, I keep the assh*les in close company.
It took roughly 15 assh*les (I stopped really counting after about the ninth), intensive therapy and one night of downing a bottle of wine to realize my unfortunate truth.
I started out believing love should feel like a roller coaster, that the ease and stability the nice guy spoon-feeds me would never be able to parallel the tumultuousness of dating the assh*le.
But true love isn’t supposed to feel like a roller coaster. It’s supposed to feel like sailing a boat on a calm sea.
So this is an admission to the assh*les I’ve willingly let into my heart and under my sheets. It wasn’t you guys; it was me. I’ve enabled you. I’ve matched you in your insecurity every step of the way.
Yep, you and all your petty problems were nothing but a direct reflection of me and my own.
And now, to all the fellow serial assh*le daters, know you are the common denominator in all your f*cked up relationships. It’s time to acknowledge it. Ignorance can be bliss, but in this case, it isn’t. It’s asking for heartbreak.
Though we can’t help whom we fall for — isn’t that why they call it “falling” in love? — we can work on ourselves in the meantime and hope that one day, hopefully sooner than later, we’ll outgrow the assh*le phase.
This article was originally published at Elite Daily. Reprinted with permission from the author.