This post is going to be more navel-gazey than is normal for this blog. That’s not a disclaimer of apology, just a ‘heads up’. This piece is also very much rooted in gender binary language, and that is a disclaimer of apology. I am speaking most often from my own experience. As a mono cis hetero guy, my romantic experience falls along a gender binary with a single partner. This is not to elevate or normalize mono cishet relationships above others, but I don’t want to speak too far out of my own depth. I am sure that relationships between queer and poly people have dimensions that I simply cannot address, and I don’t want to do it hamfistedly. I am very interested to hear what parts of this post do and don’t resonate with your own experiences, particularly if they are different from my own.
I am sure that I’ve made oblique reference to this before, perhaps even on this blog, but my sexual and dating history are perhaps a bit atypical. I say ‘perhaps’ because a pretty decent argument can be made that everyone’s dating history is atypical. However, from the standpoint that the average age at which people in Canada have their first sexual encounter is some time in their teens, my history is slightly to noticably atypical. This has a lot of explanations, some of which I am capable of explaining in some detail; others that I am still puzzled over. I’ve talked a bit about this process in a post I wrote a couple of years ago:
After a year spent in a different doomed-to-fail relationship in my first year of undergraduate (this time I ended things, and for what at the time seemed like noble reasons), I embarked on a long journey into my own bruised psyche to try and figure out what it was about me that made me so undesirable while everyone else had girlfriends (author’s note: most of my friends at the time were single). It was an endless pattern: I’d meet someone, we’d hit it off, I’d eventually work up the courage to ask her out, and then I’d get rejected. In my feelings of dejected misery and frustration and need for self-affirmation, and because there was a whole intellectual institution created around it, I embraced the “nice guys don’t get laid” myth wholeheartedly.
So, I didn’t get laid a lot. That “endless pattern” lasted, for the most part, for around 8 years. After I broke up with Jane (not her real name) in fall of 2004, I didn’t enter into another committed relationship until spring of 2012. During that intervening period, I had a small handful of flings with women, but nothing that lasted longer than 6 weeks or so. None of this did anything to disabuse me of the notion that I was, at some deep, fundamental level, incapable of being loved or having a lasting, meaningful relationship. It wasn’t all bad, as I’ll discuss further down the page, but there were a lot of pretty despondent nights. … Continue Reading