I know I deserve better in my relationships with men. I know that I am worth so much more than what I get. How do I start to stop letting myself make stupid choices?
I feel really vulnerable writing this question, but I haven't gotten much helpful feedback on it in conversations with my therapist so I'm hoping Metafilter wisdom will help.
In the past few years I've been dating here and there, having overcome serious depression to try to get on with this whole having a life thing. Last summer, this happened
. I was hurt by what I felt was that guy's manipulation and purposeful evasiveness to keep me on the hook for sex, and it took some months of work to overcome the fact that I let someone treat me that way. Back then, it was a little more of a self-esteem issue than it is now I think.
Now I'm in a situation that has an unfortunately familiar feel. New Guy and I actually went on a date -- he brought me a small gift, bought me dinner, held all the doors for me, kissed me goodnight. In the two weeks we talked before we were able to meet, he asked me tons of questions about myself and said more than once that he hoped we would work as well in real life because he really wanted to date a "smart, funny, attractive girl like [me]." I have never been romanced
and admittedly got pretty caught up in how good it felt.
We've made arrangements for our second date set to happen this Wednesday. Except, it's not going to be a "date" so much as it is going to be watching a movie at my house. There has been about a two week period between this date and the last one (he lives an hour away), and in that time I have noticed a palpable, consistent drop-off in his communication level. It was bound to happen sometime, but not after a good first date I wouldn't think. He doesn't ask to talk on the phone anymore. He doesn't ask me any questions about myself that don't relate indirectly to the kissing/cuddling/sexing we're probably going to have on Wednesday, and sometimes light conversation like "How's work?," for which he rarely asks followups when I give him my answer. We do still text every day and he still always says good morning, so I know he's thinking about me on some level. But where conversation used to be free-flowing on his end I now have to work to keep it going.
I don't feel good in my gut about this. I told him, twice even, that I do NOT want a casual sex or booty call relationship ever again, because I couldn't stand being kept at arm's length and constantly toyed with. He said he understood why I felt that way. I have also told him that I hate when men blow hot and cold instead of telling me that they've lost interest. The problem is, even though I know having him over on Wednesday has probably a 90% chance of yielding a result I specifically do not want, I...can't bring myself to cancel it like I know I should. I don't know why I'm holding out so much for that 10% longshot chance.
I know I am a worthy person. I know I'm intelligent, funny, and that if I manage to find a good person, I will be an open and loving partner to them. So it's not thinking I don't deserve a good partner, or even poor core self-esteem, that keeps leading me down this path I don't think.
I crave intimacy. I really like sex. And even though I think manipulating someone for your own needs is fucking horrific behavior, it is so necessary to me to believe that other people have good intentions and aren't straight out trampling on someone else's feelings for their own pleasure that I can be naive. I really, really do not want to lose my ability to let someone in. Those are my major blinders, and big reasons why I think I am still in the frame of mind of letting myself take a probably stupid risk on New Guy.
So, knowing my blinders and that my self-esteem is headed in the right direction, what are some mental hacks I can start using to stop myself from making these poor decisions? How can I train the hopeful, intimacy craving part of me into realizing that insanity really is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? Even just suggestions to help me get through (or around) Wednesday would be helpful, and tough love is very welcome. Thank you.