Self-Sabotaging Relationships

I don't remember exactly how long I waited after losing Chris before I started looking for a new boyfriend. I don't think I went out immediately, but I think I waited at least a month or two. Of course, I decided that it was time to look a little closer to home for someone. Chris had lived over five hours away, and it prevented us from seeing each other very often. However, the desire to find someone locally presented a problem. I was once again living in rural Pennsylvania. If there were any other gay guys in the area (and I have no doubt there were), they weren't exactly broadcasting their presence. Then again, neither was I. So the search alone presented some problems.

The small town just across the state line in New York had a small gay bar and dance club. I eventually convinced myself to check it out. Unfortunately, the bar scene is not my scene at all. I found it impossible to just go up to a random guy at the bar and start talking to him. And for various reasons, none of the guys there decided to chat me up, either. So after a few miserable attempts, I quit going, fully aware that it just wasn't working for me. If anything, it was making me more frustrated.

At this point, I once again turned to my old friend, the computer. This wonderful piece of technology had helped me throughout the past several years, so it seemed only reasonable to give the online dating thing a try. However, remembering my experiences with both Tony and Chris, I decided I would only use the computer to find a guy who was relatively local. After that, I expected to take the dating process into the real world.

I don't remember a lot of the guys I met during this time. One person that sticks out in my mind, however, is Jesse. Jesse was nineteen at the time, which would have made him about five years younger than me. Interestingly, Jesse was from the Rochester area, which is where I live now. Rochester was a bit far away, requiring a two hour drive for one of us. However, to me, this was entirely doable. College was also two hours away, and I made the trip down there twice month and sometimes even weekly.

Things never got that far with Jesse, however. In fact, we never actually met in person. About three days before I planned on making the trip to Rochester to meet him, Jesse informed me that he had been meeting other guys, and that one of the more local guys had just asked him to be his boyfriend. So the possibility of us dating just went out the window. Originally, we agreed to still meet each other as friends. However, as I spent the three days between that conversation and our planned meeting thinking, I decided against it. There were just certain things about Jesse's personality and things he had said to me that had begun to bother me. Eventually, I just decided that making the trip to meet him - especially when dating wasn't even a possibility anymore - wasn't worth my time. So I ended up not going.

I have to admit that I never told him I had changed my mind. We hadn't finalized our plans yet or picked a meeting place, so I simply forgot about the whole thing. The day after we were supposed to meet, Jesse contacted me online, asking me what had happened. I told him I had simply changed my mind about meeting. I have to admit that his response amused me. After saying he understood, he began telling me about his new boyfriend and how happy they were together. I got the distinct impression that he was trying to make me jealous, which I found ludicrous and hysterically funny. Not three days ago, he had told me he had found someone and wasn't interested in me, and yet he was now trying to evoke some sort of jealous response out of me, as if he was upset that I wasn't heartbroken or something.

I have to admit that when Jesse wrote me again about a week later to tell me that he and this boyfriend had broken up due to religious reasons, I had to resist the urge to gloat. As I mentioned earlier, I was working on building up my sense of self-worth, and one of the side effects at the time was that I would often overcompensate and fall into such foul sentiments as this from time to time. To be perfectly honest, I was a bit of a bitch about the whole thing. But Jesse and I never talked about trying again, despite the fact that he was available.

The other person who comes to mind was Rick. Rick was from Ithaca. I later found out that he was friends with my friend, Mary. Rick and I actually did go on one date together. We had a nice enough time, and he treated me to an excellent dinner at a nice restaurant in Ithaca. I do have to admit that I was a bit put off when he very noticeably checked out our waiter in front of me, however.

After dinner, Rick and I went back to his place to talk for a while. We spent over an hour sitting on the couch together before he announced that he should probably go to bed. So I left and never saw Rick again.

I found out from Mary later that Rick was notorious for not only one-night-stands, but bedding multiple guys in a single night. Because of this, she practically forbade me from seeing him again. This was fine with me, as I knew I didn't want to be with someone with that kind of reputation anyway. Of course, learning this made me wonder about that time we spent at his place. Was he waiting for me to make a sexual move? If he was, I'm thankful that he didn't choose to make the first move himself. As I had sat next to him that night, I had decided that if he initiated anything, I would jump at the chance. To be honest, my experiences with Chris had left me somewhat addicted to sexual intimacy. So the fact that Rick didn't make a move probably saved me from making a huge mistake. I'm grateful for that.

Eventually, my friend from Georgia, Panda, had a heart to heart with me. She felt that in many ways, I was sabotaging my own relationships. And in many ways, she was absolutely right. I would choose to date guys that probably weren't the best for me. Then I'd allow myself to get in such a tizzy over the whole relationship that I would probably have driven away any guy that had been good for me anyway. So I decided it was time to take a step back and do some soul searching.

I realized that a lot of this was due to the fact that given everything I had experienced lately, I still felt as if I didn't truly deserve love. This would cause me to react to situations poorly; desperately trying to find or cling on to any hint of love there might be had. The problem with acting out of that sense of desperation is that it has the exact opposite effect as the one you intended. So I started the lengthy and somewhat painful process of identifying and altering my thought and behavior patterns.