Friday, May 20, 2011

A dream is a wish your heart makes

Last night I dreamed I got engaged and went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting with my fiancé, a friend from high school whom I'd gotten together with. Not necessarily in that order. And in real life this would be impossible, because he's already married. We never dated in high school, and we aren't particularly close now. But in the dream I sought him out because I thought I'd be able to get him to marry me.

First the OA meeting. I went with him and sat down in the basement, where rows of chairs were set up. But nobody got up and spoke. Instead, everyone was writing something down, which they were going read out later. Maybe. I wasn't sure. It wasn't what I expected or hoped, so we left. We were both carrying bouquets of flowers -- maybe we were going to visit his uncle's grave later -- but mine wilted.

The engagement. He didn't give me a diamond ring. He gave me a ring I already owned; I had asked him to do this, when he was ready to ask me. It was silver with a large kind of sparkly clear crystal on it. I think I wore it on my right hand, which is odd. And I was disappointed that nobody noticed the ring or congratulated us. We met a number of people he knew, but he didn't introduce me as his fiancée. I was disappointed.

Not sure what all this means. Maybe that going to a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting will ultimately disappoint me, since no matter what my mother's boyfriend did back in the day, my life now is ultimately my responsibility. As is the fact that I ruined so many potential relationships, and thus my life, because I feel it's now too late for me to find real love in the population I think I'm supposed to belong to.

Maybe that I place more value on getting engaged than anyone else does -- nobody else cares whether I do or not. That I want so badly to get engaged that I'll even get together with someone I'm not very into, who's not secure financially and can't afford to buy me a ring. (Although even during the dream I kind of wondered why I was doing that.) And that I feel the ball is entirely in his court -- I have no say in the matter.

I was happy in the dream. I got engaged, I made myself happy. But I was also disappointed. Is that the message? That you need to take what happiness you can find, and cope with the disappointing rest of it? Or that getting engaged won't make me as happy as I think it will?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The universe is testing me

Poisoned food is of no comfort to a starving person. Problem is, sometimes it's hard to see what is poison and what is just unappetizing. I got a connection request today from a "Trcuk driver" on plentyoffish.com. A high school graduate. Needless to say, I wasn't interested.

Then I got an email from a very sweet shadchanit who lives in France. Let's call her Balabouste. She wrote:

Hi! Could you check the shidduchbook group i have a frum friend to set up and tell me what you think of LC? :)

"Shidduchbook" is a Facebook group for singles. That's where she found me, because I posted my info in there a while back. I checked LC's profile.

LC graduated from Touro College two years after I graduated from college. Since January 2008 he has worked as a library clerk. Job description: "Help Patrons with their books and process library card information." No information about what he did between 1994 and 2008, but I'm guessing he wasn't inventing the internet or burning up Wall Street.

I wrote back:

He's a library clerk. I don't mean to be a snob, but I have advanced degrees. I don't know if we would be compatible. I think I need to be with a professional.

She disagreed:

I don't think you would lose anything to try! At least he is fine on most things, he can spell, he is family oriented, not too far, observant...

No, no, dammit, NO! Okay... have to tone it down a little.

I remember looking at his profile on dating websites -- I don't think we're compatible.

After that she subsided. But honestly, is LC poison or just unappetizing?

I think he's poison for me. I really don't think I could be with someone who hasn't made anything of himself. I don't know how I could settle to that extent. But am I being too cautious? Is my "list" still too long? And is it better to be alone than to be with someone you neither respect nor admire?

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Why I think I'm a sex addict

A few weeks ago, I had a really terrible conversation with my mother about my past. To wit: her live-in boyfriend, who, while I was a teenager, left pornography all around the house. Which I consumed voraciously.

My sexual activity and appetite have been insatiable for as long as I can remember. I don't know if this pre- or post-dated the porn. It's definitely led me to get too physical too quickly with men I've dated. Which, as everyone knows, is the best way to get a relationship to end as quickly as possible.

I started wondering if I have an actual sex addiction. I spoke with a friend who's an addiction counselor, and he asked me a very pertinent question.

"How do you feel when you haven't had sex for a long time, Ayelet?"

"I get angry," I said. "Frustrated. Impatient. Snappish. People annoy me; I resent them."

"Sounds like withdrawal," he said. "I think you might be a functional sex addict."

So I took the sexual addiction screening test (female version), which appears on several reputable websites like HealthyPlace and PsychCentral. Here it is, with my answers:
  1. Were you sexually abused as a child or adolescent? No
  2. Do you regularly purchase romance novels or sexually explicit magazines? No
  3. Have you stayed in romantic relationships after they become emotionally or physically abusive? Yes
  4. Do you often find yourself preoccupied with sexual thoughts or romantic day dreams? Yes
  5. Do you feel that your sexual behavior is not normal? Yes
  6. Does your spouse or significant other(s) ever worry or complain about your sexual behavior? No
  7. Do you have trouble stopping your sexual behavior when you know it is inappropriate? Yes
  8. Do you ever feel bad about your sexual behavior? Yes
  9. Has your sexual behavior ever created problems for you and your family? Yes
  10. Have you ever sought help for sexual behavior you did not like? No
  11. Have you ever worried about people finding out about your sexual activities? Yes
  12. Has anyone been hurt emotionally because of your sexual behavior? Yes
  13. Have you ever participated in sexual activity in exchange for money or gifts? Yes
  14. Do you have times when you act out sexually followed by periods of celibacy (no sex at all)? Yes
  15. Have you made efforts to quit a type of sexual activity and failed? Yes
  16. Do you hide some of your sexual behavior from others? Yes
  17. Do you find yourself having multiple romantic relationships at the same time? Yes
  18. Have you ever felt degraded by your sexual behavior? Yes
  19. Has sex or romantic fantasies been a way for you to escape your problems? Yes
  20. When you have sex, do you feel depressed afterwards? No
  21. Do you regularly engage in sado-masochistic behavior? No
  22. Has your sexual activity interfered with your family life? No
  23. Have you been sexual with minors? No
  24. Do you feel controlled by your sexual desire or fantasies of romance? Yes
  25. Do you ever think your sexual desire is stronger than you are? Yes
How is the test scored?
    1-3 (Your sexual behavior may be an area of concern)
    3-5 (Your answers indicate professional help for sexually compulsive or addictive behavior is warranted)
    6+ (Your answers reveal that you clearly have a problem with potentially self abusive and/or dangerous consequences. You should seek treatment with a trained professional.)
I got a 16. So I'm inclined to think I might have a problem. And as addicts love to do, I'm looking for someone to blame. I know that my father's death propelled me into emotional neediness. I used to watch "The Newlywed Game" as a little girl and dream about being a bride. I was obsessed with having a boyfriend in elementary and middle school. And high school too, and college. But in college I started having sex.

So combining emotional neediness with the sex drive of a teenage boy (which has not much abated, to my dismay), I spent my twenties and thirties trying, trying, trying to find true love and great sex. I found a lot of good sex, but precious little love. And since I wasn't really well medicated until well into my thirties, I had a lot of the kind of sex that led me to answer "yes" to a lot of those screener questions. One-night stands with complete strangers. It's a miracle I never got raped, killed, or HIV.

Most of those encounters took place during periods of hypomania, which confounds the issue because hypersexuality is a symptom. But at other times, I was perfectly lucid and -- hungry. Craving. So I hooked up.

I downloaded a list of Sexaholics Anonymous meetings, but I've been too ashamed to go. And right now, I need to focus on getting a job and getting along with my colleagues. But this is something I have to address eventually.

The 10 pounds I've gained during unemployment might protect me somewhat from male interest, which is bad for my ego but good for my virtue. And once I'm able to exercise more, hopefully I'll get to a weight I'm comfortable with. Either way, fat or normal weight, a woman can always find a man to have sex with. So I need to take care of this issue.

And right now I'm not speaking to my mother. Because she still lives with that douchebag. I know I'm only trying to blame them for my problems, and since I'm the only person responsible for me and my problems, I have to accept and forgive. But I just can't right now.