It’s been a long day. Well, a long evening, at least. I had no reservations earlier on as I made my way to a Valentine’s Day singles party in Central London. That was my first mistake of the day. I should have been full of reservations. As I got ready at home, putting my best clothes on and styling my hair especially to look ‘attractive’, there was a small part of me questioning what the whole point of it was; but that was it. I carried on with the beauty routine that I have not used since my old drinking drinking days, because the main part of me was sure it would be a good night. I needed a good night out, and I needed to find a man. I’m fed up of being single.
Never mind the fact that I promised myself not to start looking again until I’d been a year sober; never mind the fact that all previous experience has shown these kinds of singles events to be completely useless. I really believed – no, I really hoped that tonight would finally bring me into contact with *the one*. There would after all be over 100 single gay men attending the party; we would all be there for the same reason. I reckoned my chances of finding someone had to be better than average. I managed to forget that every time I’ve gone out specifically looking for a man in the past, I’ve ended up with my dreams shattered.
I wasn’t worried about being in a drinking environment. I’ve been in plenty of pubs and clubs in sobriety, and only once has it made me really want a drink. New Year’s Eve was my last official night out – surely after all this time I would be able to cope with the gay scene again.
I got to the event before everyone else, so had to sit by myself drinking coke for a while. Eventually others began to turn up, and to begin with it was all very civil. Shaking hands, saying “how do you do?”, smiling politely. All the while thinking: “which of these men am I going to end up with tonight?” At that point I was sure I’d have to end up with someone for the night to be a success. What other possible reason is there to go to a singles party on Valentine’s Day? I don’t know.
Over the past couple of weeks, I had been outrageously flirting with some of these men online. We’re all signed up to the same social networking website – it’s thanks to the website that tonight’s event was possible – and so there I was until today, exchanging lots of saucy messages with people I knew I’d see at the party, hoping it would increase my chances of pulling even further. Hell, it’s nice to want and feel wanted sometimes.
The first person who came to speak to me, J, was very nice. He acknowledged our online flirting with a joke, proving that it didn’t have to lead to anything in real life if I didn’t want it to. I realised that I didn’t fancy him half as much in the flesh, and so decided there and then it would probably be best to leave the flirting behind. He seemed fine with that. We should have become great friends. But then the other person who I’d engaged in lots of online messaging with turned up. It was an awkward moment. All three of us had been part of this saucy messaging thing for two weeks; as soon as the third person in the trio, T, turned up none of us seemed to know what to say.
The first thing he said to me was: “I’m not talking to you,” quite seriously, and I knew I’d done something wrong. It turned out he didn’t like the fact I had been talking about him to the other guy, J. Wanted me to himself, or something.
At that point everything went wrong. I just knew I’d made a massive mistake in going to the event. I could hardly speak any more. It was T who I liked all along, you see; T who I really hoped might become something more than an internet flirting buddy. Now that he’d decided for whatever reason that he wanted nothing more to do with me, I couldn’t take it.
I shouldn’t have been so bothered by his behaviour. My reaction was ridiculous. I’d never met the guy before: how could he have such an effect on me? I got up and walked out of the party without saying goodbye to anyone. I couldn’t stay there a moment longer. It was that old ‘run from rejection’ instinct kicking in. Someone had rejected me and I had to punish them by walking away from them.
By walking out I was punishing everyone at the event, to be honest. Later on there would have been a few friends there; it might have been nice to see them, but because I was hurting I wanted to punish them as well.
This is dangerously alcoholic behaviour, I know it. But I couldn’t stop myself. The moment T turned up my heart began to flutter; the second he rejected me, I wanted to burst into tears, like a lovesick child. What a silly person I am. I don’t even know the guy, yet he’s managed to get under my skin. Anyone reading this right now who isn’t co-dependent must think I am completely insane. You would be right. I am frigging insane. Which is why, right at this minute, I don’t know how I’m supposed to get on with my life.
I should feel secure in the knowledge that I will always have AA to go to for the social support that gatherings outside of the fellowship such as tonight are severely lacking in. But that knowledge doesn’t make me feel secure, because the same thing has happened to me in AA, hasn’t it? How many times have I walked out of AA meetings without saying goodbye to anyone? I do it to punish them, for the old feelings of rejection and worthlessness that their mere presence elicits in me.
Tonight’s experiment didn’t fail because I went to a pub where everyone was drinking alcohol (though it certainly didn’t help), it failed because I have a serious problem with people, especially men. I allowed my hopes to get so high, when I should have known that mighty expectations are designed to be brought crashing down. All I want is a frigging boyfriend, so why can’t I have one?! Well, the problem is that I am looking in the wrong places in the wrong bloody way. I’ve always looked in the wrong places: you think I would have learnt my lesson by now!
It doesn’t matter how much progress I make, there will always be days like today, when the slightest negative event can tear my self-esteem down and make me want to curl up into a ball. My self-esteem is so fragile I feel I ought to encase it in polystyrene. Why do you think I walk out of social situations without saying goodbye sometimes? I’m protecting my ego from further rejection. Every time I step out and let myself open up a bit, like tonight, something seems to happen and my instant reaction is to close right up. As far as I can see there is potential rejection around every single corner. What the hell am I supposed to do?
I said earlier that I want a boyfriend, and this is the problem. I don’t need a boyfriend but I feel I ought to have one by now because society says that spending one’s life in the singular is abnormal. Society says you’re supposed to be with someone on Valentine’s Day. Only it’s not just society, my heart is saying it too now. T was able to have such a powerful effect on me earlier because he was the one who first expressed interest in me, with his online message two weeks ago. Guys like that are never interested in me, never!
I’m 25 years old and my love life is a frigging disaster. I KNOW I’m not the only person who feels this way!! People say love comes to you when you stop looking for it. If I’m not supposed to go *looking* for the one then how am I supposed to find him?
I thought I’d changed, I really did, but I’m still this sick co-dependent alcoholic who can’t get anything right! All my stupid life I’ve been in and out of rotten relationships, and here it is, the same thing happening again even though I was only in T’s company for half an hour. I fell head over heels, he wasn’t really interested, I came home wanting to sob my heart out. This can’t go on, it just can’t! The more it happens the more I start to think I’m meant to be single forever. I have a horrible feeling that it’s just going to be one of those things I’ll have to accept in life.
Here I am, 25 years old, never been in a relationship and never will be.
How on earth can I accept that? What really gets to me about it, what really bugs me, is that I know my problem, I know I’m needy and co-dependent. If I could stop being those things I guess everything would be all right. One snag: no one ever stops being needy and co-dependent. Another snag: if I stopped needing to be with someone then there’d never be a reason for me to have a relationship. Do relationships only work for people who don’t really need them? If so, how? I don’t get it!
There’s a part of me that’s broken, and I don’t really believe it can ever be fixed. This bothers me so much. I’ve heard a million chairs in AA where the person talks about being fixed by the programme, but what if they’re just the ones who were meant to be fixed? Nothing in life is absolutely foolproof, so how do I know the AA program isn’t going to fail me? I simply can’t see a time in my life when situations like tonight have stopped happening. It was such a me thing to happen, it’s ridiculous! Nothing has changed, not a frigging thing.