On game-playing and The Chase™

Deep down inside, I don’t think it’s bad or wrong that I love with all my heart, or that I like sex. It’s just the way I’m wired.

You hear so many men whine about how their wives don’t want sex – you would think they would want a woman like me. If logic had anything to do with it, they would ignore the frigid women and go for women like me.

Maybe it’s true that they’re addicted to The Chase™, and I make it too easy for them.

But I suck at extended game-playing. I play the game as long as I can stand it, but sooner or later, I want to stop the bullshit and just get to the point. So I end up being honest, and it’s not always fun.

Playing hard to get and game-playing in general are not sustainable. There’s no way I could maintain that as a way of life, in a long-term relationship.

It would mean I would never feel comfortable being my real self with the man, showing my feelings, telling my truths.

I think I deserve better than that. And – honesty time – I think if a man loses interest in me once he knows how much I care – he is missing out.

Maybe he wouldn’t be getting the challenge of The Chase™ anymore. But instead, he would be getting my acceptance of his imperfections. It would mean he would no longer have to play games and pretend to be someone he’s not. It would mean he could relax with me, and tell me what’s really hurting him, and what his deepest needs are. Of course, a lot of men are scared of that. They can’t even admit to themselves what they really want and need.

The right man for me would be intelligent, funny, able to keep up with me, able to handle me without hurting me, mischievous, and have a high sex drive. Those are the things I want in a man.

For whatever reason, I was cursed; but so were a lot of people. I think all the wrong people are coupled up together. If I was dictator of the world, every five years I would call time on all relationships – and if the people in them wanted to switch with somebody else, they could do it without repercussions. (Of course, it wouldn’t be mandatory – if people wanted to keep the same partner, they could.)

Anyway – on some level, I know that I’m not really “easy,” and that it’s not a character flaw to be unable to play games and sling bullshit indefinitely. On some level, I know that my longing to cut through bullshit and be straight with people can be an asset. I just wish that the right man would see it that way.

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I love somebody with bipolar disorder

Nineteen years ago – at about this time of the year – my brother made a suicide attempt.

Thank all the gods, he had second thoughts and called 911 before it was too late.

I had called my parents just to say hello and check in – and that was how I found out.

“S is in the hospital,” my dad said. And later – when I asked what happened: “He tried to kill himself.”

I was stunned. I never would have suspected. My little brother always seemed to  me to be in a disgustingly good mood – even when nobody else thought the circumstances warranted it.

He was always the funniest guy in the room. He’s super-smart, and a smartass as well. In my family, if you’re considered a smartass, that’s a compliment. As S himself once said, it’s better to be a smartass than a dumbass.

So – a suicide attempt? I always thought I was the one who might end up doing that. At that time I was just out of my tempestuous 20s (preceded by my teen years, just as difficult.) I also suffered from episodes of depression from time to time.

But as I learned more about bipolar disorder, the pieces started to fit.

Symptoms of a manic episode:
(WebMD, http://www.m.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/bipolar-disorder-symptoms-types)

– excessive happiness
– excitement
– irritability
– restlessness
– increased energy
– less need for sleep
– racing thoughts
– high sex drive
– tendency to make grand and unattainable plans.

And from the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH)
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder-in-adults/index.shtml

Symptoms of mania or a manic episode include:

Mood Changes
– An overly long period of feeling “high,” or an overly happy or outgoing mood
– Extreme irritability.

Behavioral Changes
– Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
– Being unusually distracted
– Increasing activities, such as taking on multiple new projects
– Being overly restless
– Sleeping little or not being tired
– Having an unrealistic belief in your abilities
– Behaving impulsively and engaging in pleasurable, high-risk behaviors.

Symptoms of depression or a depressive episode include:

Mood Changes
– An overly long period of feeling sad or hopeless
– Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex.

Behavioral Changes
– Feeling overly tired or “slowed down”
– Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
– Being restless or irritable
– Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
– Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide.

Yeah. It fitted with some of the things S did.

Staying up really late (like 3:00 AM on a weeknight) with no apparent ill effects.

Having so many cool ideas all at once that it was impossible to catch all of them – but being determined to try. Even the far-fetched ones.

Being so funny that he could have blown away the audience at a comedy club. Just off-the-cuff, high energy humor with no punches pulled.

Being crazy optimistic. Even when optimism was not realistic.

In S’s case – running up huge debts.

That was the S I knew. And apparently, when he got very energetic and optimistic – that was probably a manic episode.

I almost never saw him on the down side of the cycle. Sure, he got in some bad moods as a teen – but don’t we all? Just as I thought his energy and optimism and humor were his normal personality – I also chalked up his lows as the normal blue moods that hit everybody – but especially people in their teens and 20s.

His story has a good sequel: he got the treatment he needed. He’s now almost 45 years old, a successful professional with two master’s degrees, a homeowner, and a proud dad of two.

If you know somebody whose behavior sounds like this – or if you see it in yourself – PLEASE get it checked out. Start with your primary care doctor and ask about bipolar disorder.

S was one of the lucky ones. I didn’t lose S – and I don’t want to lose anyone else.

Posted by SmartKat at 09:04 on July 1st, 2014 at 9:04AM

This Blog Entry’s Comment Board (2 comments)
1-2 of 2 Comments

quietlysensual

Posted on 08:51PM on Aug 25th, 2014
Hi Kat – my wife was diagnosed with it among a numbes of other things – she’s usually in the depressed stage but today is the 10th anniversary of a major manic phase that put her in hospital.

Thanks for this – it’s nice but also sad that someone else understands.

goodoldboy

Posted on 07:02PM on Oct 7th, 2014
had a girlfriend like that for 5 years too

I’m what you want the most, but I’m also what you fear the most.

The things we want the most elude us. That’s the thing that sucks worst about life (assuming you’re fairly prosperous and don’t live in a third world country.)

I had a friend in college I’ll call Lori, and of all of us, she was the one who wanted kids the most.

She had a boyfriend. Some of us thought he could be obnoxious at times, but he wasn’t actually abusive or anything. So we figured, there’s no accounting for tastes.

Then college was over, and Lori went to grad school. There was a different boyfriend, and this time there was an engagement ring. She was in school in my home state. He worked at her family’s business, about 600 miles away.

Grad school ended. She went back home. And found out her fiancé had been seeing another woman. 

Her father offered to fire his ass, but she said no. Lori was a class act. I probably would have let my father kill him. 

She came back to my home state and found a job with the help of another college friend. She planned to meet and marry a man with money. The main thing she cared about was being able to afford to stay home with her kids.

By this time we were in our mid to late 20s. I was meeting guys at parties and through friends. I wanted that special feeling – the passion, the chemistry, and also the deep comfort and feeling of being known. I wanted that elusive relationship that is both passionate and secure at the same time.

Lori wanted….babies. She was going to attend a church which she knew had a lot of wealthy members. I was dubious about this plan. How many single men go to church? Most churches I’ve seen have nothing but families with little kids, old people, and a few desperate single women. Of course I didn’t say that to Lori.

In any event, an illness in the family took her back to her home state, and she met her second fiancé.

I saw her when she made a visit back to my state. The wedding was going to be at Disney World – because his family was crazy about Disney. 

She admitted that he had a bit of a temper. But, she said, she could take the kids and leave the house if he really got going.

Are you starting to see red flags? Because I was. I saw so many red flags I felt like I was at a bullfight.

This is what did it for me: “I’m going to wear my grandmother’s wedding ring. He’s going to use the ring from his first marriage.”

WTF?!

The wedding rings are supposed to be something the bride and groom give to each other. If you have a family heirloom, you have it reworked somehow and give it to your new spouse. Or you give it to one of your children, and they can do this.

And IMHO, you sure as hell don’t reuse the wedding ring from a previous spouse! WTF! Head explosion!

But Lori and I wanted different things. I wanted the right guy – so much that I never did have kids, because I wouldn’t do it without the right guy.

Lori wanted kids enough to have a Disney wedding, to a guy who was reusing his first wedding ring, and she had a contingency plan in case his temper got out of hand.

Lori and I drifted apart, but I heard things over the years.

She was trying to get pregnant. Her husband made the tired old jokes about how this was the best part of his life.

She was doing IVF.

Finally, they adopted a little girl from an Eastern European country.
——————–

Why did I tell you this story? 
It isn’t just about infertility, or about the irony that some people are infertile and others have more babies than they really wanted, every single year, even with birth control.

I think most of us have one deep, dark, aching need with the power to break our hearts, turn our minds, and utterly ravage us.

For me, it was a relationship with the right man. Not just any man.

That didn’t make me “too picky;” in fact, as I look back, I wasn’t nearly picky enough sometimes. I put up with things no woman should put up with. I dated guys – once lived with a guy – who never even should have gotten my phone number.

I’m older now, and I think I’m stronger and wiser. I’ve learned the hard way that getting in too deep with the wrong guy is a terrible mistake. 

I’ve learned that being unattached isn’t always so bad. George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Heartbreak is the end of happiness and the beginning of peace.”

I met a man in 2001 who was compatible mentally, emotionally, and physically. We had six great years. Then things started a slow spiral towards entropy.

I guess when I made all those wishes over the years – wishes on stars, wishes on birthday candles, coins tossed in mall fountains – I should have been more specific. I should have added a clause to my wish that said, “and things will stay good between us until I am no younger than 70 years old.”

Somebody once said to me, “I have a desire to be vulnerable with you…and I’m scared too.”

We all are. Deep down, I think we fear attaining our heart’s desire. And I think the reason is that we live so long hoping for it and trying to get it, that that becomes our way of life – wanting and not having.

What would you do if you actually did get your deepest desire? Are you so used to looking for it that you would have trouble adjusting to the lifestyle change of actually having it?

All the girls that I am

A couple of months ago, I was talking to a man, and I expressed doubt of my own attractiveness. He said, “That’s the refused girl talking.”

Yes, I am a refused girl, because I’m in a relationship that’s supposed to be a love and sex relationship with a serious boyfriend. But because he is my refuser, and for a number of other reasons, I feel like I don’t have a boyfriend. Instead, I feel like I live with an elderly relative who’s sick all the time. One of those old-fashioned relatives for whom you have to pretend you agree with the morals of the 1950s.

He has lost all interest in sex, so I’m supposed to pretend I have, too.

Too bad I suck at pretending.

But I feel like I’m supposed to. So the refused girl, the refused woman, isn’t quite sure how to get needs met. She isn’t sure what male pronouncements she should trust. “I love you”? When he says it, her refuser really needs to add, “the way a grandpa loves his granddaughter,” because that’s what his love feels like. Not a scrap of eroticism or romance about it.

The refused girl wonders if she’ll ever again hear those words from a man who kisses her hungrily, as a prelude to nibbling, caressing, fondling, teasing…mutual explorations of every inch of skin…hands and mouth giving and receiving….mutual undressing…and the ultimate acts of love.

I’m also the neglected girl. I’m still the little girl whose parents were so worried about her brother that they didn’t always see her needs. “Oh, Kat will be okay; it’s Steve who’s got the *real* problems.” And the neglected girl learned not to ask for help or comfort; learned not to lay more burdens on her already stressed out parents. The neglected girl became the woman who is still wary of approaching  others, afraid of making a move and being brushed off. The woman who wonders sometimes if she is *too* cautious – and missing out on possibilities. The woman who would love to send the first PM or IM or email or text or whatever….but who fears hearing, “Not now,” or, “Not ever,” or worse – no answer at all.

I’m also the independent girl. When the neglected girl was noticed at all, she was bossed around and spoken to brusquely by a father who was oppressed by demons of his own. The independent girl learned to keep out of his way, to avoid being spoken to harshly or given an unpleasant task to do. She learned that asking daddy for help was likely to result in unpleasantness.

So, she learned to be wary of assertive men. She became quite capable and competent as a result. But as a woman, she often became involved with men who were no help at all with problem solving. Her first husband bought a TV and home entertainment system in the 90s, then got it home, faltered and said, “Maybe you’d better hook this up.” So, the independent girl hooked it up.

And her feminist friends would cheer; but something about that incident was painful for both of them. He already felt bad because she earned more money and tended to learn things more quickly. And she couldn’t help wondering: what would happen if something came along that I couldn’t handle? Could I relax, knowing he could handle it? (No.)

As cranky and irritable as her father was, she always felt secure in the knowledge that he could solve problems and take care of things. And so the independent girl learned the good thing about an assertive man: she could relax and let him take care of things.

But would an assertive man handle her feelings roughly? And did a man even exist who could be the man, in the living room and in the bedroom – without turning into a dictator?

She once had a romantic but manly boyfriend who delighted in the struggle with her feistiness. Now she wonders if that was the guy she should have married.

The refused girl wants to believe love can be erotic again someday.

The neglected girl wants to believe it’s okay to ask for what she wants, and reach out to people.

The independent girl wants to believe a man can be strong and take charge without hurting her.
Posted by SmartKat at 11:57 on September 10th, 2014 at 11:57AM
1-6 of 6 Comments

Jim44444

Posted on 07:18PM on Sep 10th, 2014
{Hugs} to all of you.

DancingBear70

Posted on 10:14PM on Sep 11th, 2014
xoxo

SmartKat

Posted on 10:34AM on Sep 12th, 2014
Well, except I’m wondering now if blanket avoidance of assertive men might not be a mistake for me. If I could believe in – and find – a man who could be assertive, who could have passions, desires, strong feelings; and take charge – without being abusive, bossy or just running over my feelings like a bull in a china shop…….

Jim44444

Posted on 09:16PM on Sep 12th, 2014
An assertive man does not equate to a bully.

SmartKat

Posted on 10:07PM on Sep 12th, 2014
It has taken me a long, long time to figure that out, Jim. And I’m still trying to figure out how to tell the difference – they have superficial similarities.

NotHisBabydoll

Posted on 10:44AM on Sep 23rd, 2014
I am amazed that you and I are not friends. We same to be the same woman. We may have different paragraphs, but it’s the same story. The same lessons being learned. The same morals being taught, if even in some unnecessarily harsh ways. 😦

I think all of my girls love all of your girls. 😉

*runs off to add you as a friend now*

Bah humbug on Valentine’s Day

Fuck Valentines Day up the ass with a splintery flagpole.

Those of you who have known me a while might remember that V Day last year [2013] was my tipping point. It was the incident (well, non-incident) that made me realize how unhappy I am in my  low-sex/no-sex relationship.

What happened last year on V Day? Nothing happened. Well, we ate out, and that was nice – but we eat out a lot. I suspect he’s trying to substitute dinners out and occasional presents for wanting me.

I was really crushed – I spent the whole day crying on Feb. 15.

This year, I don’t expect anything better. I’m feeling kind of angry and resentful at him right now, and I’m pretty sure it’s because I know our V Day will be totally G rated.

I bought him a card, but that’s it. And it’s not even a romantic or sexy card. Why should I give him what he doesn’t want to give me ?

In my fantasies, a handsome, intelligent, sexy man will take me to a nice hotel for V Day.

Probably in his fantasies, he and some non-sexual woman will sit together on the couch in front of the TV.

Posted by SmartKat at 20:11 on February 11th, 2014 at 8:11PM 2 Comments

Petrushka

Posted on 07:05AM on May 13th, 2014

Actually, Kat, bah humbug on any freakin’ ~day. It first came home to me when, as a 20 year old, I had fled my insane parental house and was flatting with a couple of guys … and there was X-mess (as I mentally spell it) – and what happens X-mess?  People who hate each other’s rotten guts for 362 days in the year attempt to play ‘happy family’ and ‘blood is thicker than water’ and it ends in drunken whatnots and more animosity for the next 362 days …. the incidence of family violence rises steeply during X-mess I found out as a student of social sciences … and I saw the lonely ones shed tears into their beers on this day when, normally, they would not and I ask myself why THIS freakin’ day? The sun rose, moved overhead, and set. Nothing’s different from any other day, except for the sentimentality meme.

So, ever since, I’ve refused in my mind to cave. It’s just another day. Oh, I send people a nice note or give them flowers or whatever when I know it might make them feel good, but in my mind it is much more important to make them feel good for the other 364 days in the year as well … and vice versa.

Yes, bah humbug. Scrooge, in that way, the brother of my soul. I expect intimacy and consideration and loving glances and touches _every_ day, thank you very much. Not because there’s a certain number on the calendar. Spintery flagpole
etcetera, indeed!

You and I, we need to get “our ashes hauled”, completely irrespective of any-bloody-thing else. I haven’t done anything about it yet, I’m too picky, and suffer from a pronounced lack of trust these days, but I’m looking …and if the chance presents itself, I’ll let the big hairy beast out of its cage. (reference to some old ladies in a Terry Pratchett novel discussing what droit de seigneur might mean).

SmartKat

Posted on 11:15PM on May 13th, 2014
I hear ya. I need it….I want it. And yet, I’m afraid of getting hurt. Trust issues, like you said.

I wish I felt safe to just let go and love someone with all my heart. But the last time I did that, it was my refuser. Who has turned into a refuser.