Marie: Could I Have a Healthy Relationship with a Man?

Posted By: on October 05, 2015
woman-and-man-at-a-coffee-shop

  
Editor’s note: This is part 44 in Marie’s story. 

For whatever reason, my thoughts have been pulled towards Larry a lot in the last few days…

I have not been sleeping well and have been binging heavily. I’ve consumed a pint of ice cream (at 1,200-1,400 calories per pint) pretty much every evening for the last two weeks as a way to unwind enough to fall asleep.

Reading my sexual fantasy in the last therapy session really stirred things up for me. And, I’m guessing that is the main reason I am currently feeling so unsettled and anxious. Sharing at that level with Carl was a major milestone for me. I’m still feeling raw (but in a positive way?) from the experience.

As a result, I’m finding I want to feel safe—as in, feeling protected by a man. That really doesn’t make sense because I’ve never had that kind of protection from a man—at least not until I started working with Carl. But, for whatever wacky reason, I crave protection specifically from a man.

Crazy stuff.

Because of Larry’s laid back and quiet personality, it is easy for me to create this fantasy in which I could lay my head on his chest and feel protected. But, as soon as I think about how good that would feel, I get hit hard in the gut with what I really believe about myself—I believe that experience is not an option for me. I am aware that other people have that option; I just believe I don’t have that option. It will never happen for me.

I know that doesn’t make sense… I know I have just as much chance as anyone else as experiencing that sense of physical safety. But, yet, in my core, I believe it is not an option for me. It is part of my core belief that I am irrevocably broken.

I want to change my belief about being so broken, but it is so established within my core belief system that I don’t know how to change it. I don’t even believe it is possible to change it.

I want to believe it is possible to change it, but I don’t.

And, my belief in the absence of possibility creates an ever-present sense of loss. It leaves me persistently feeling frozen in pain. I think I’m feeling sadness and depression, but I’m not even sure how to label this feeling. It is an unnamed emotion (or set of emotions?) that makes it hard to breathe. Maybe it is grief for what might have been. Whatever it is, I hope it fades over time because it is disabling. I’d like to not be so disabled someday in the relatively near future.

So… enough of the pity party—back to Larry (which is really what this journal entry is about, right?)

If I step back from my fantasy for a moment, I can realistically assess how he really shows up in the world. I think he isn’t emotionally available. Maybe that is exactly why I’m attracted to him. I have not yet developed the tools needed to determine if a man is emotionally available or not. Well, except that it is a pretty safe bet that, if I’m drawn to him, he probably is not emotionally available.

I don’t think he is interested in me romantically, anyway. I think he is only interested in being friends. That is fine with me… in fact, it is more than fine with me. The idea of having to be pulled together enough to keep myself “attractive enough” to keep the romantic interest of any particular man is incredibly overwhelming to me.

I barely can take care of my body well enough to not be offensive due to breath and body odors. I can’t imagine handling the pressure to keep my body well-enough maintained to be “sexy”, especially not with the extra 75 pounds (5+ stones) I’m carrying around on my body. No one could be turned on by my rolls of fat.

Furthermore, the idea of being touched in a sexual way makes me sick. The idea of a man looking at me with lust or desire in his eyes turns my stomach. I can’t imagine having sex right now—the very idea repulses me.

So, I guess all of that rules out my getting into a romantic relationship right now.

The idea of developing a healthy friendship with a man does appeal to me. I would like to have the emotional intimacy I experience with Carl in a friendship that exists outside of therapy. It would be fun to have a guy buddy with which to pal around. It would be nice to curl up with a man under a blanket on the couch to watch a movie on a cold, snowy night—knowing that I’m not expected to get naked at the end of the movie.

I think a friendship with Larry could be healthy. He isn’t married, and he isn’t my boss, therapist, etc., so it wouldn’t be improper for us to spend time together. I’m not feeling enmeshed with him—I could take or leave the possibility right now. I find myself wanting to take my time and move slowly.

I just don’t know if he is emotionally available and if he could support me in the way I want to be supported. I guess the only way to know is to go try it out and see what happens.

That’s my plan.

To schedule a free consult with Carl or one of the other counselors at Heart-Centered Counseling, email help@heartcenteredcounseling.com or call us at 970-498-0709.

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