The Importance of Dating

February 6, 2015

When I met my ACOA-Ex, I was actually dating someone else. She never lets me forget that. I wasn’t trying to date two girls at one time. I don’t have that much free time. It just happened.

We had only been dating for that summer and then I met my ACOA-Ex. It was a meaningless fling, something to pass the time. And of course, she was crazy as hell. Much much crazier than my ACOA-Ex. So crazy even I had to figure out a polite way of ending the fling. Believe it or not, she was too crazy even for my tastes.

Then my ACOA-Ex came into my life and she seemed… well, relatively normal. So that helped me make up my mind. The transition was not smooth. I had to find some way of gingerly breaking up with a crazy woman. My Ex thinks I’m a player, but that isn’t the case at all.

I was still trying to figure out what I wanted and I was still finding crazy women in my life. If I was non-committal, it was because I was afraid of committing myself to yet another Man-Hater. So I kept things light.
Digging shallow holes, as they say, in hopes of finally finding a healthy relationship.

I had only been dating my Ex for a month. But, like so many of my other exes, she was on the fast track. She actually asked for my phone number when we met, so I was definitely not trying to date multiple women. It just happened.

In retrospect, I should have continued dating. I should not have jumped into a relationship so quickly. People, like me, can’t avoid crazy women. They are everywhere. Maybe it’s because I hang around eccentric circles, creative people who have liberal lifestyles. Or maybe, it’s because I’m a little crazy myself and just attract birds of a feather.

I’m not afraid of being alone. I am, what you call, a friendly introvert. I like going to restaurants, bars and the movies by myself. Or at least, I am comfortable doing that. But I also like being with someone who shares my interests and unique point of view. So when I meet a woman who feels familiar, I date her.

Unfortunately, familiar to me is crazy. And that’s what I don’t need. So maybe I need to start dating women who aren’t familiar. That is why dating is so important. Because it’s practice for the real thing.

Dating crazy women is not the problem. Being in love with a crazy woman is. It’s important for me to date to explore my options. Because my tendency and pattern is to date crazy, I need to date more often. I need to date until I find that one woman who isn’t so crazy. Or maybe just the right amount of crazy.

We all have issues. Myself included. But even I have limits. I like quirky people. I like crazy people who do amazing things, the kind of things only a crazy person can do. What I don’t like is the kind of crazy that translates into women punishing men for the sins of their fathers. That I can do without.

22 Responses to “The Importance of Dating”

  1. OC said

    The more of your stuff I read, as I have been for years, the more of myself I see.

    I, too, have only recently started coming to terms with the issues I have that attract these kinds of women to me, and am now working on how to get them to manifest in a healthier manner.

    I myself am a very paternalistic, nurturing, and protective person, which makes me a magnet for women with daddy issues, BPD, and histrionic tendencies. I am also very much wired for monogamy and commitment, which makes me a really bad mix for those kinds of tumultuous relationships where, through no fault of my own, I’ll never be enough for my partner.

    It’s important to come to terms with this stuff and I deeply appreciate all the help and perspective your blog has given me over the years (as well as some one-on-one email conversations a few years back).

    • savorydish said

      So glad to hear that, OC. I think most of the people here can relate, which is why I find myself coming back to this blog. This blog reminds me how important it is to know that you’re not alone. This is especially important for people who have the unique circumstances that we do.

    • savorydish said

      What you said about being “paternalistic” is so true. I think it is the reason why I attract women with daddy issues.

      • OC said

        yeah, my ex – who I now believe had BPD/HPD – was into DD/lg BDSM stuff, which I was completely okay with accommodating. The thing was, it was done in a healthy, consensual way, and the relationship was a normal, happy, healthy one for months. People have kinks, that’s on them, we made it work, it didn’t define the relationship. It was just a dynamic we had that worked for both of our needs as people.
        … And then all of a sudden she started seeking attention from other men out of nowhere and publicly pretending I didn’t exist. Telling other men she was touching herself to their photos, saying she needed more boyfriends, etc. She tried to “make this up to me” because she knew it wasn’t fair, but the moment I showed signs of being vulnerable, capable of feeling the pain she was inflicting on me, she dropped off the face of the Earth and spiraled out of control. Drugs, drinking, you name it. It was our first and only fight.
        Vulnerability will always be the kryptonite of someone with abandonment issues of any sort, in my experience, and as much as men like us may enjoy that “protector” or “nurturer” dynamic, we deserve to have that dynamic with someone who sees us as more than that.
        It’s a tough road, but we’re gonna be alright, brother.

      • savorydish said

        Yeah. Let’s hope so. It’s sad that being nurturing triggers their fight/flight response. Even pointing out that dynamic doesn’t help. Knowledge of their flaws only makes them feel more vulnerable.

        You can tell part of them yearns for that nurturing, but there is an internal battle that makes them do things that seem contradictory.
        The same women who loved to crawl into my arms, were fighting to get away.

      • OC said

        Yep. And it never gets easier. At least for me. I’m always caught by surprise by the speed at which the bridge burns down irreparably, when the need to be vulnerable and the terror that being vulnerable causes meet head-on.

      • savorydish said

        Even the most experienced man gets caught by surprise because it happens so suddenly and for no apparent reason. And it almost always happens when it seems like you are getting closer to working things out. It’s the ultimate mind fuck.

    • savorydish said

      Thanks for the appreciation.

    • OC said

      Makes me feel better to know I’m not just making rookie mistakes, I guess. Though also terrified for any future relationships I enter into. Ah, the joys of dating, I suppose.

      If/when you have time and feel so inclined, here’s my story in full – http://outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=37999.0

      • savorydish said

        Thanks. Looking forward to reading it.

      • savorydish said

        I read your stories and I have to say you probably had it much rougher than me. I can relate to the withdrawal and the sudden 180 flip though. And with my ACOA-Ex, I can relate to a woman who is looking for evidence of wrongdoing by going through your emails and Facebook posts.

        But it sounds like your last gal has got bigger problems. The drug addiction indicates some serious internal pain. She is a trainwreck waiting to happen. So you should be glad, she threw you off the train. You’re not a rookie. You’re a seasoned vet. And I salute you for putting up with that much BS.

      • OC said

        It was an interesting dichotomy: I’ve never met someone who was so profoundly excitable and full of life, but I’ve also never met anyone who so deeply and genuinely wanted to die.

        I think one of the strengths/weaknesses (it’s a double edged sword) that people like us have is that we see people for who they COULD be – maybe even who they are – had life been kinder to them. We see that joy, that light. It’s why we hang on to hope the way we do, when anyone else would have turned tail and run immediately. We see a different side of them, even as depraved and cruel as they can be. There is something kind of noble about that kind of nurturing instinct, and you’d do yourself a disservice to downplay it, in my opinion. 🙂

        As far as my experiences? I’m in my early twenties. And man, have I seen some shit.

      • savorydish said

        I can relate to wanting to see the good in people. That’s what makes it so hard to let go. When I was twenty-something, that was particularly true. But even now, I still do that. The good news is it gets easier to deal with the pain as you get older. You feel less pain. Probably because, over time, you become desensitized. Although, I am proof that you don’t necessarily make better choices.

  2. Marie said

    SD,
    I think you can find a nice but quirky and crazy gal who will treat you well. Perhaps she will not be eye candy but just attractive. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.
    I have had several men ask where are the nice ladies hiding? I asked these men what they looked for in a woman. The number 1 answer was she has to be super hot. Don’t get me wrong, there are nice super hot men and women out there who are normal and capable of having a nice, loving relationship but there are many who are not mentally stable. I often wonder if it’s because they are treated differently because of their looks that they become the way they are…not just what happened in their childhoods.
    Bottom line, nobody is perfect. Each person has to find the right one for him/her and accept both their wonderful qualities and their defects. The defects should not outweigh the wonderful stuff though and never should those defects include abuse of any kind.
    Dating is good. We were not put on Earth to be alone…not with this many people on the planet. Make sure you are doing what is good and healthy for you.
    Hugs,
    Marie

    • savorydish said

      Always good to hear from you, Marie. You bring a nurturing voice to this place. I think this conversation got sidetracked and we focused all our attention on looks.

      All my exes were pretty. Not super-model hot, but beautiful in their own way. That wasn’t the point of mentioning their beauty.

      The point was that their outward beauty often masked the internal turmoil that would later become more pronounced. The point was I overlooked a lot of initial signs because I was charmed by their beauty.

      I don’t think pretty girls are more predisposed to mental illness. I just think the ones who are pretty get away with it. The ones who aren’t pretty are the crazy cat ladies and the homeless women who push the cart around. That’s just the way of the world.

      I don’t go looking for crazy girls. I just think only the crazy (angry) ones are interested in me. They’re not angry because they’re pretty. They’re angry because of their childhood. And because they’re pretty they easily slip past my defenses.

      But as I got to know them, the familiarity allows me to get comfortable. Therein lies the problem. It’s not beauty that gets me in trouble. It’s the comfort level.

      These women I date are particularly good at putting me at ease. They say the right things and do the right things, but they are all covering something up.

      I can never forget the way my BPD-Ex smirked when I confronted her with her illness. It was as if she was proud of the fact that she had pulled a fast one on me. She couldn’t hide it anymore. And it was at that very moment I got a glimpse of her evil nature.

      • Marie said

        SD,
        Thanks for always being so sweet to me, that’s one of the reasons why I care so much about you. First and foremost, we are all human and like eye candy, I am no exception. I don’t judge anyone. I only meant that for the guys that asked me where are the nice ladies…they only were interested in drop dead gorgeous women. We were able to talk about how it’s nice to be with an attractive woman (I’m not saying “good personality”, we know physical attraction is key) who has other nice qualities. I know we live in a country where looks and overall physical appearance are very important.
        Normal looking people also have BPD. Plus there are all kinds of issues out there…sex addicts, PTSD, Complex PTSD. I wonder if anyone is truly 100% “normal” whatever that really means. I have yet to meet 1 person of either gender that falls into that category “normal” whether at work or in my personal life but not everyone has a mental illness, thank God.
        There are many super good looking mostly “normal” people out there. In my lifetime I have met a few “hotties” (of both genders) who had serious issues but many who did not. I found that in their particular cases because they were so good looking they were more at risk of suffering many different types of abuse (even at a younger age) and being stalked. The stories (true and verified by yours truly) are heartbreaking. It’s kind of scary how afterwards they can (not always) become the stalker and/or take on the traits of the abuser. Teenage years are when the traits start to manifest.
        I am not drop dead gorgeous, I would say average to some and below average to others but am happy to hear my husband tell me he thinks I’m beautiful. Only his opinion matters to me because he’s the one who has to see me every day and night. I do seem to have a face that everyone trusts enough to walk right up to and start telling their life stories/problems to no matter what country I’m in or what I’m doing (grocery shopping or just hanging out in a bar with my husband). That’s ok I have met some interesting people and like I said we are not here on this planet to be alone. So, I’m happy to nurture here and in person…it’s nice to feel helpful.
        Reading all the comments over the years that have been posted here I feel men in particular keep getting trapped into a relationship with a BPD over 2 main things (besides the CRAZY rollercoaster of emotions) looks and great sex. Yes, they are both great things. Attractive though is good too. As far as sex goes…practice makes perfect. We all prefer good lovers to bad, however, this is a skill that can be learned and improved. But if someone is a bad lover and doesn’t want to improve….I believe that passion is a VERY important part of the relationship. Most normal, loving women do want to make their men happy in all aspects (and a truly good woman will NEVER deny you sex unless you cut the grass, ridiculous nonsense) but when we are younger different things are top priority.
        Keep writing and prompting people to open up. You save more lives and mental states the more you share with us.
        Hugs,
        Marie

  3. dskennan said

    It’s been a long time and a lot of miles since I posted here back in the 2012 time frame. I was going through some bookmarks in my browser and a few clicks later, I was brought back here.

    I’ve re-read a number of posts from that past era. I haven’t had a visceral reaction to my long-since-departed ex… so that’s a good thing!

    In trying to learn more about your (Savory’s) references to Ms. Hallett, after some Googling and Facebook searches, it appears that your ex and my ex are friends on that latter site. In the past, my jaw would have dropped and my mind would have started spinning. Now, the reaction is a raised eyebrow and an intellectual curiosity. Somewhere somehow they connected… and an educated guess is that it wasn’t around champagne brunches.

    What I do know is that your posts and comments still do resonate strongly with me years later.

    Be well.

  4. naples104 said

    SD, I don’t believe there is such a thing as a little crazy. Emotional and personality disorders make a person unbearable to live with. I was married to ACOA and I divorced her while she was a drunk 20 years ago. She does not drink anymore but she is still a wreck and always will be. The BPD I dated, I flushed when I found how crazy she is and I don’t know what she is doing now and it doesn’t matter. As I said, I will always be resisting and sometimes fighting the effects of a co-dependent personality but for the most part I can fix myself before it gets out of control. I have to argue with my self to not make dumb life decisions just to make someone else happy. That is not always so easy although it sounds easy. Its a fine line we walk between maintaining a healthy balance of self love and saving. As a co-dependent you can default to your saving personality by over doing for the one you love rather than having a discussion with the person of why something is not mentally healthy for you. The person with the co-dependent does not have an easy life either. They are forced to accept your over the top behavior be it good or bad and try to understand why we do what we do. I don’t think that anyone is “NORMAL”, we all have our damage done from the upbringing we have experienced. Ours is a bit more fucked than others but we can enjoy a healthy relationship if we work hard and pick the best possible choice for our love life. I am not sure dating arm candy does any good for you or the other person, but I did it too. In the end it was a waste of time and just made me more cynical about if I could have what I was looking for in life. I should have spent that time alone getting comfortable with my mental make up and establishing the self esteem that would allow me to enjoy the time alone. I did spend the better part of a year alone when I got help. I dated occasionally but I was very selective about who I spent time with. My analysis was that if I knew that the relationship would go no where, dating that person was giving in to my insecurities and keeping me from getting comfortable with my self. I would not have casual sex with anyone because I felt that it was in the way of me emerging as a better man. By better men I mean that I needed to be better to myself and not allow my unhealthy need to not be alone guide my decisions. All of that was not easy. I like the attention of a woman and I am a salesmen that thrives on the “thrill of the kill”. A perfect emotional intoxicant for a co-dependent.

    Tom

    Tom

    • savorydish said

      That’s the thing- nobody is normal. Everybody has their issues. Everybody is crazy in their own way. Some people are narcissistic. Others are obsessive. So it’s all relative. I can say that I feel like I am moving up the mental health chain. I am seeking out people who are more compassionate and emotionally available. The problem is when the emotionally available are hypersensitive and prone to push and pull.

    • savorydish said

      Like I said, nothing would make me happier than to have the attention of one woman for the rest of my life. But it is so hard to find that one woman. Being a bachelor is fun, but it has its downside.

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