The rare and elusive Stage 6 clinger.

In 2013 after my breakup, I had a Year of Poor Life Choices. I dated before I was ready, tried to get over my ex, tried to get over the OTHER guy I’d developed a crush on. It turned into a few “relationships” that crashed and burned fairly spectacularly.

One was a friend of my sister’s, and I’m not proud of this, but I ghosted on him. We went on three dates before I realized we had NOTHING in common*, and I TRIED to be an adult and tell him I wasn’t ready to be dating. He asked if we could be friends and I said “sure,” because that’s what you SAY, but you both know you’re not going to be friends — or at least *I* knew.

Eventually I blocked his number and deleted him from Facebook because I am a coward. That was probably the summer of 2014.

THIS MORNING I got a Facebook message from him: “Hey Smug, tour name popped up on my phone so figured I’d say hi….Helloooo. How’s life treating you?”

It’s probably true he saw my name somehow since we still have mutual Facebook friends. But, like… Is there a Clinger beyond Stage 5?**

* When I say “nothing in common,” I mean I went to his Facebook page and he’s now an “all lives matter,” flag-fapping Trumpublican, and I am…NOT those things.

** I feel bad, he’s a “nice guy,” but…no. You are a reminder of a terrible time in my life. That’s not your fault, but it does mean you can’t exist in my world.

Maybe I can downgrade to a Stage 4 Clinger…

Therapist: “So, this thing where you’re calling yourself stupid, and clingy, and crazy where’s that coming from?”

Me: “I don’t know, I feel like I was pressuring him. He has anxiety and depression, too, and I know how that feels, to have someone demanding your time, another THING you have to keep up with. Honestly, I’m kinda psyched to have Sundays to myself again, so I get where he’s coming from.”

Therapist: “OK, I get that. But from everything you’ve told me  and obviously I’m your Person, so I’m biased  this sounds like it’s him, not you. Basically the only thing you asked him for was more sex. Maybe you could’ve been more direct about saying it, but that doesn’t make it clingy, or crazy, or stupid. Putting aside the sexual component, if you had a friend and communication with them dropped off like it did here, would you be concerned and check in with them?”

Me: “Yes.”

Therapist: “That’s not crazy. It’s caring about a human being.”

I LOVE paying people to tell me I’m right.

She told me it was fine to send him an email I’ve written offering a friendship, but the longer I don’t hear from him after the last message I sent, the less interest I have in that idea. I’m not that bad at taking a hint.

Slutty McSidepiece and the Stage 5 Clingers

Talking to a friend…

Me: “I’m thinking about hooking up with an ‘open marriage’ guy from OkCupid.”
Friend: “You could try it. I mean…you’re already IN therapy.”

There’s immense appeal in a guy who’ll come with me to a movie, come with me in the bedroom, then get the hell out. When I try to date proper, I attract Clingers, get anxious, and make terrible choices. That shouldn’t be an issue with one who’s already housebroken.

But I also know myself, and I may be too insecure to come second…literally or otherwise. If Dude satisfies my needs too well, I may catch feels, and if I fall for him, I’m SOL. The wife’s gonna stay the wife — I’d just be Slutty McSidepiece. I do not do well as Slutty McSidepiece.

I wonder if I’d rather fend off Clingers and hold out for a person with whom feels are at least an option, even if we never get there.

Then again… I don’t HAVE to date the guy long. Maybe I NEED a naked friend to fuck some clarity into me without all the relationship crap.

Also, if you consider where I am mentally, I might as well be in an open marriage, too. I have one guy I’d drop anything and anyone to help and/or be with, so as far as my heart and brain are concerned, I also have a “primary partner.” Then I still have the second guy in the back of my head, just for bonus emotional fuckery, so I have even worse trust issues than before. I can’t handle a real relationship, are you crazy?

Plus, if the guy turns out to be boring, I can just say I can’t handle playing second fiddle. (And that may actually turn out to be true.)

I can spot a Clinger at 50 paces now, anyway — “Oh, you’re doing THAT? Yeah, I’ve done that. I INVENTED that. Don’t even.” So far I’ve encountered three on OkCupid, and I’ve dodged them all without ever meeting them.

I’m a Recovering Clinger, and I approved this message.

P.S. I actually ran this by the therapist and she says I’m in the clear as long as I’m safe. She told me it was good for me to explore options, to be aware of those emotional attachments I still have, to be conscious of what I need, and possibly work out a way to GET it without pressuring myself about being in a “proper” relationship. I think this is a good intermittent step, and she seems to agree.

P.P.S. Dude is ADORABLE and I want to make all the sex with him.

“Now you’re just somebody that I used to know…”

I know New Years is an arbitrary construct, and that my issues will still be my issues come January 1.

But I’m carrying over enough real problems, so I want to rid my psyche of as much clutter as I can before the new year begins. Plus, I wrote this a while back, and I just want it out of my head. I’ve spent much of this year cleaning house (literally and figuratively), and I want my tabula as rasa as possible.

So here we go. It’s long, so if you don’t feel like reading: a friendship is over and I’m processing the ensuing Feels.

I mentioned this briefly before, but I fell for someone earlier this year. (Which made the residual feelings for my ex even more confusing, but that’s not today’s story.)

I wasn’t in LOVE, but I was definitely in that consuming, heady infatuation of being into someone new. I hadn’t felt that way in a long time (since my ex), to have everything click. And he brought out a lot of aspects of my personality (good and bad, but passionate either way) I either didn’t know or had forgotten I had.

I thought it could’ve been something good, and that it was mutual, and no one could convince me otherwise.

Until the guy convinced me otherwise. He doesn’t even want us to be friends, which I never expected.

I have some quixotic notions of what might be “the real problem,” but it’s hard to delude myself. I considered him one of my best friends, and now he’s not. Which is fine. In any relationship, even a friendship, if one person wants less, that’s the path you take. The person who wants more either has to adjust or move on. I’ve been on both sides of this. And I’m not blaming him — I could’ve handled things better.

But it feels shitty. It’s like a breakup, but not. It’s fine, though. If we can’t even make a friendship work, chances are a romantic relationship would’ve ended badly. Of course, getting to sleep with him probably would’ve helped. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days if I’d ever, uh, HAD the guy.

But, um… our “friendship” did include several instances of intimacy. Not intercourse, but intimacy. (Or what *I* considered intimacy; I don’t know how he saw it. He made me climax, so…felt pretty intimate.) And it wasn’t like I was trying to distract myself like I was with those other assclowns I tried dating. I offered this guy my body because I liked him, because I trusted him, and he knew it. So now it just feels slutty and cheap and naive — like anything we’d shared even as friends was meaningless, like I completely misjudged him and myself.

I told him I thought it was just about sex, that I could’ve been anyone, and he acted offended and said, “How do I prove to you that’s not true?” My response was, “Time, trust, and friendship.” Aaaand then he stopped talking to me.

So all it would take to prove he cares about me beyond sex was to…care about me beyond sex, and I’m not worth even that. He’d rather have me out of his life than make any effort to keep me in it. He’s giving me the “time,” but the “trust and friendship” bits were kind of important. Just time leaves me to operate on my own thoughts and presumptions, and he knew me well enough to know that wouldn’t end well.

During the last conversation we had, he said he has a habit of establishing groundwork in friendships and then maintaining them intermittently whenever paths cross. Which…is bullshit. This isn’t Serendipity, fuckbake — we don’t even live near each other. Our paths are never going to cross unless we make them.

One of the last things I said to him was that he’d made me feel meaningless and insignificant, and he never responded — signs of a rock-solid friendship foundation, right? Sure, let’s catch up sometime over coffee! This is some lifelong Beaches-level shit we have here. When we get the “BFF” necklace, which half do you want?

But it’s fine. (I know, “Say ‘fine’ again.”) I’ve gotten over worse. I’m GETTING over worse. This too shall pass, que sera sera… Your platitude here.

More importantly, I am far too awesome to be a Stage 5 Clinger. I’m not seeking friendship or anything else where it’s not wanted.

Stage 5 Clinger

Me: “Remind me never to sleep with anyone before laying out clear boundaries and determining they aren’t clingy.”

Friend: “To be fair, I think we did tell you that and you slept with him anyway.”

Me: “I’ll have none of your logic!!!”