My Story: Part 5
I had just moved out of my boyfriend’s apartment, and was sharing an apartment with one of my closest friends in downtown San Francisco.
In my therapy sessions, I made a huge breakthrough regarding my approach to relationships and my dating life. I realized that instead of getting to know someone, and deciding whether or not to date them, I was simply jumping into a relationship with whoever came along first. Rather than choosing my partners, I was sitting around, waiting to be chosen. Because I was unwilling to be single, I had accepted some pretty bad situations while rationalizing that “at least I’m not waiting around for someone to date me”.
I decided to stop being so scared. I decided that I was not going to be in a serious relationship for a year. I decided to date as many people as possible. And I did.
Of course, the people I dated at first were all wrong for me. I still had a broken sense of what was and what wasn’t acceptable in relationships. I dated two different guys who were severe alcoholics, and I dated both of them off and on for about six months. I needed comforting after a friend committed suicide, and so I forced another guy into some emotional intimacy he wasn’t ready for, and he broke things off after that.
Things got a little better as I stopped accepting bad behavior, and I stopped looking to the men I was dating for my entire emotional support. I learned to deal with the problems that life threw my way with grace, and I learned how to ask my friends for any help that I needed.
I lost the job that I had held for almost three years in the early summer. My supervisor and I clashed professionally, and he rearranged my duties to things that I was not well suited for. After a verbal and written warning, I was fired. My parents offered to support me, and I considered moving back in with my family, but I decided to try and stay in San Francisco first.
I had a little bit of savings, and figured that I’d be okay for a couple of months. Then my roommate told me that her ex-boyfriend was leaving his studio apartment, and she was taking over his lease. There was no possible way that I could afford the place on my own, and I was having trouble finding a roommate while sending around a hundred resumes to jobs every day.
The day that I had to leave my apartment, I received an offer letter from a company for an inside sales position. I planned on going down to the office the next morning so that I could sign the offer letter, as I didn’t have access to a fax machine. I woke up the next morning to find that the offer letter had been rescinded. I applied to the job through a friend of a friend, and I found out that the company had discovered that I was friends with a former employee. I was devastated, but I kept on sending resumes.
I moved out of the apartment on July 1st, and didn’t find a job until mid-September. I was incredibly fortunate to have friends who took me in, and allowed me to sleep on air mattresses, futons, and couches. I couldn’t get unemployment, as my former job said they fired me “with cause”, and I although I was staying with friends, my financial situation grew close to dire. I am forever grateful to those who helped me during this time. I was absolutely determined to stay in San Francisco, but I couldn’t have done it without help.
I was still dating during all of this time, but I held firm to my resolution to not get into a serious relationship. I could barely support myself, and I didn’t want to end up in another situation where a partner could exploit my shaky financial situation.
I had relationships end with a quiet fizzle, and relationships end with a huge blowup. I had sex with some of the guys I dated, others I chose not to have sex with. I even had a couple of relationships that were nothing more than sex. I dated men who were older than me and younger than me. I dated men who begged me to stop seeing other people, and men who were in open relationships with their longtime partners. Throughout all of this, I sang karaoke like my life depended on it, and spent a ton of time with my friends. Despite my other troubles, I was having the time of my life, romantically. It was exciting and fun, and for the majority of the year, I was seeing an average of three men at the same time.
During this time, I discovered exactly what qualities I was looking for in a long-term relationship. I learned that I was looking for someone with ambition and drive. I wanted someone who was creative and intelligent, and who not only wanted to be independently wealthy, but was actively working towards that goal. I wanted someone who would not smother me with dependence, and would not be threatened by my friendships with men. It was important to me to find someone who had a good relationship with his family and who had his own friends that I got along with.
I had “friends” who were so jealous of my dating life that their faces practically turned green. Some of them called me a slut and whore behind my back. Some of them called me these names to my face. None of these people are in my life anymore. I learned how real friends act when they disapprove of your choices, and how false friends act when you are happy.
During the course of one of these relationships, I met all of my current close friends. I continued spending time with these friends even after that relationship imploded. They were supportive of my quest to date as many people as possible, and some of them enjoyed hearing the dating horror stories I had to offer.
It was while I spent time with these friends that I met my current boyfriend in November. I knew immediately that I wanted to date him, and during that weekend I found out that he was precisely what I was looking for. We continued dating during December, and on my birthday weekend, he asked me to date him exclusively. I had already started breaking up with the other men I was seeing at that time.
Our relationship isn’t perfect. We occasionally have spats over little things here and there. I have had to put my foot down about things that trigger memories of my abusive marriage. He is a startup executive, and we’ve had some rough patches financially, but we encourage each another in our respective endeavors. He has a sense of adventure, and we seek out as many awesome experiences as possible. He is supportive of my interests, and he challenges me to do the things that will make me happy. It was after a brainstorming session with him that I decided to start this blog. I have learned so much about sex and relationships that I want to share my knowledge with other young women who have questions and don’t know who to turn to for sex-positive advice and information.
I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey.