I Stopped Falling For Jerks And So Can You

Smarmy man with a cigar

When I was a high school senior, I fell in love with a boy in college. It was just the kind of romance my over-emotional adolescent self craved.

This was back before email, so our relationship took place over handwritten love letters and the occasional phone call. I would imagine well-soundtracked reunions in my head, complete with tears and long, lustful kisses—something slightly Reality Bites with a splash of Far & Away. (It was 1995, after all.)

When it was finally time for my college man to come home for summer, I had all but convinced myself that we would continue our romance and soon find ourselves with college degrees and a marriage license. Sadly, two weeks after his return, he still hadn't called, and I did what most 17-year-olds with heartbreak did back then: I put on Tori Amos, threw a big old tantrum, and told myself that I would never fall in love like that again. Bad Breakup? 10 Things To Remember

Of course, I was wrong. I fell in love like that again within the month. I fell in love like that again and again over the years. Because, as I wrote in my memoir, 51 Weeks / 50 Dates: The Magical Adventures of a Single Life, I always fell in love with people who never called. And the only thing worse was if they actually did. Beware The Man With an Exit Plan

I liked assholes. No, I loved them, but now, looking back, I realize it wasn't just that. For the most part, every man who failed to call me was capable of calling someone else, and at a certain point, I had to face the fact that it wasn't just them, it was me. I begged for men to be unaccountable. I allowed them to be untrustworthy. And I expected them to leave. Breaking The Love Addiction

Unfortunately, by the age of 32, those ideas had also left me incredibly, terribly alone. I hadn't been in a relationship in five years, and I had never lived with a man. Ever. My father left when I was three, and I spent my formative years living with a mother and a grandmother. No man ever slept in our woman castle. It was like a small, two-bedroom convent that doubled as a condo. And as I entered adulthood, it stayed that way. There were boyfriends, sure, but we were either too young or too casual to make it a co-habitation.

Written by Kristen McGuiness for lemondrop.