I've been single on and off for the last fiveish years. I've had "boyfriends," yes. One that lasted a good while, but most that lasted a few months at best and probably should've never been dubbed the term to begin with. Being a perpetually single woman in her late 20s (okay, literal last year of my 20s), there comes a point where you can very easily start to turn on yourself, and it's harder to avoid than you'd think. After an egregious amount of let downs and disappointments, you start to wonder: am *I* the problem? Am I just terrible? Am I more insane than I already think I am? Am I just a horrible, awful person to be with in a romantic sense? What in the literal fuck is wrong with me?
So, in an effort to understand my self-inflicted questions better, I decided to dive in. To be honest with myself and try to perhaps see something I keep missing over and over. Some shitty behavior I'm exhibiting with no self-awareness. Shortly after I started this exercise, I realized the majority of the trysts I've participated in over the years could've at least lasted longer than a few months, if only. If only these men hadn't done or said so many of the things they did and said.
(and in absolutely no kind of sequential order whatsoever)
I was willing to watch ESPN and movies from the late 80s/early 90s for the rest of my life.
I stayed with someone who loved me much more than I loved him.
He hadn't asked me, "Wanna buy me a burger?"
He hadn't shown up at my house, unannounced, after one and a half dates while I was very ill with a care package so meticulous, it showed signs of possible psychopathy.
He hadn't begged me to be vulnerable and open with him, then use it against me by frustratingly stating "You're so sensitive."
He hadn't posted an Instagram picture on a 7am flight, showcasing his morning beverage of choice — cough syrup over ice.
He hadn't TOLD me I was picking up the bill (it was the first dinner we had ever shared together).
He hadn't acted alarmed at the idea of giving oral sex on a 3rd date but quickly followed it up with, "What are your thoughts on butt sex?"
He hadn't sexted me after our first date before a second one had even been mentioned.
He hadn't taken me to Kona Grill at the mall in his powder blue sports car, guilt tripped me into ordering a cheap drink from the HH menu after, and during the movie we saw ("Ted"), covered my mouth with his hand every time I laughed out loud.
I was up for making love to a legitimate micro penis for the rest of my days (not just a smaller penis. A micro penis. It's a condition; look it up).
He hadn't written in his diary about me and texted me some of the entries before we ever went on a date.
He didn't try to invite me over for crockpot leftovers and call it a date after he had only taken me out once.
He hadn't asked me if dinner was on me next time immediately after the first dinner he ever took me to.
He didn't get debilitating migraines mid-orgasm, basically traumatizing me for life.
He didn't scoff that Amy Poehler and Tina Fey aren't funny at all.
He hadn't sat there, completely stone-faced while I cried tears of hysteria as we watched a Bad Lip Reading video.
I was okay with a penis that didn't ejaculate. Ever. For anyone or any act.
His reply wasn't, "I don't do oral because I'm unfamiliar with the area and I don't like it."
He hadn't gone through my text messages while I was asleep, take screenshots of texts I had sent my friends about him/us, send them to himself, delete the evidence off my phone, then take me out to dinner two nights later so that he was safe in a public setting to admit to me what he had done, then tell me it was really honorable of him that he was even telling me and he wasn't going to sit here and watch me get upset about it and we could get our dinner to go if I was going to be that way and somehow made it so I ended up apologizing to him.
He hadn't proclaimed, "All p*ssies taste and smell gross."
He hadn't been a boyfriend who made love to me but then was too tired to drive me home, so insisted I get an Uber but did not offer to pay for it nor text or call me to ensure I had gotten home safe and sound.
I could deal with passivity and the sweeping of real issues under the proverbial rug.
After openly expressing I would like more sex in our relationship, he didn't choose to take the rest of that day to himself to workout and sit at home alone on his couch when I fully expected him to jump on the ask and come over to f*ck me until I saw stars.
He hadn't threatened that if I were to "defy" him, I'd be sorry.
He had been able to handle being called out on his bullshit rather than responding with, "I'm too old for drama." (We were the same age).
I was okay staying with a man who despised sushi and coffee.
He hadn't audibly sighed and grimaced when I asked him for oral after not receiving it for over two weeks when we were averaging sexy time 4-5 times a week.
He hadn't been a literal nomad who lived out of the back of his car.
He hadn't handled being aggravated with me by ignoring me for an entire weekend, then texting me Sunday: "Hey, sorry for being a dick this weekend :-/" :-/. :-/. SIDEWAYS FACE.
He wasn't a narcissistic dark lord who judged girls by the "denim" they wore and lived to have week-long standoffs of who would text first.
He didn't ask me, "Oh you gonna cry now?"
He didn't keep trying to justify his shitty behavior by claiming he was "scared" and "didn't expect me" and "was trying to deal with how much he liked me."
He didn't agree to be exclusive and get off all dating apps... and my friend saw him on Bumble (alive and active) a week later.
He wasn't a master manipulator who somehow convinced me to give him four chances.
I didn't consider phrases like "Don't get moody" degrading and unacceptable.
Getting him to go on an adventure with me wasn't like pulling teeth.
He didn't snap at me any time I tried to take a picture of us, then would always see it and say "Aw, that's actually a really good one. Sorry, babe."
He didn't get right up after anything sexual and run to the bathroom to wash his hands/face/self.
He had opened doors for me and, when I called out this subpar behavior, didn't claim I "always get in front of him" before he has the chance to do it (I tested his theory shortly thereafter, making sure to walk behind him and stop before the door. He stopped, too. We just stood there).
So, to answer my own question of "What's wrong with me?" — Nothing. Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing so bad that I don't deserve to be treated and loved the way I want. Nothing so horrifically unacceptable that someone couldn't love the shit out of me in spite of it. The truth of the matter is that I've been the one to call off most of these dating ventures because of everything you just read. I could be with a lot of someones right now. In fact, I could very well be an engaged woman right this very moment to one of my past boyfriends — I'm almost sure of it. I could be on my way to marriage or at least in something mega serious that's been going on for years. I could be but I'm not because of so many horrifically valid reasons, but most importantly because I refuse to settle for anything less than what I know, without a doubt, I want and need from a relationship. I could be but I'm not because none of what you just read was worth putting up with.
I could be, if only.