Home » Getting whiplash from my desire & avoidance for romance

Getting whiplash from my desire & avoidance for romance

Some days & some nights I will crave being in a committed romantic partnership so much that it hurts.

And other times, usually after a period of craving for this kind of intimate, romantic, lifelong, deep soul connection– I will want to stay away from all forms of romance, and away from men in the context of romantic and sexual explorations.

To be honest, I have never been in a real relationship. I’ve experienced heartbreak with two different men, but I don’t have much experience actually having a romantic connection with someone that was mutual in effort. I’ve talked to multiple guys on dating apps, and even been on a handful of first dates over the past few years and just a couple of second ones, but none of these led to anything more. Nor did I really want any of that to, if I’m being honest with myself. To be honest, none of these were magical enough for me. I hate when dating feels like a chore. Just like I don’t want to make meeting new people platonically and making friends a chore, I don’t romantic relationships to feel like a chore, either. (I have a blog post on why dating apps aren’t for me, if you want to read it click here).

I want things to be organic in romantic connection, just like I desire for things to be with platonic connection.

My desire for romance entails the longing for a deep soul connection, to be very seen and heard and desired to be explored beyond my body and my physical looks, though I definitely want my partner to be physically attracted to me as well. It is rooted in my deep desire to belonging in an intimate, rare way– with and to someone, in non-objectifying ways. But after a while, I start to feel suffocated, blocked out in a way, from considering this a possibility in my life. I will feel an aversion or numbness.

But beyond these blocks of unpleasant physical feelings are the following fears: being controlled and making room to be controlled by allowing a man to love me and desire me romantically and sexually, being reduced to my body and an object of sexual and emotional pleasure where I am perceived as disposable and as a source to take comfort from simply rather than as a whole human being with a soul to connect to and mutually reciprocate comfort and love, the fear of losing myself, the fear of being taken advantage of, the fear of being degraded and violated; the fear of being erased to become a vessel, a sacrificial home for a parasite of a man whose love for me and integrity has actually been a lie.

I know, logically, that there are good men out there with integrity, honesty, commitment, loyalty and genuine love and respect for women that they love & choose romantically for who those women are, and do not reduce them to mere sources of sexual pleasure. I know that there are straight men who genuinely appreciate a woman in her wholeness, who value the sacredness of her intellect. However, it often becomes a struggle for me to really believe this– or to believe that finding and being in a relationship with such a man is a real possibility for me. Even much of the best men I’ve known and know in my life exhibit traits that have disappointed me and continue to do so.

And this isn’t to lament that men aren’t perfect– no one is perfect. As a woman, I know I have my flaws. I know that there are many toxic traits that exist among other women where they bring other women down, and are also toxic to men. I’ve experienced and witnessed mean girls even in adult women, and I’ve also seen women reduce men to bank accounts and sources of social status.

But for a lot of core value-based things like preserving human rights for all, advocating for women’s rights in the context of intersectional feminism, valuing a woman’s intellect, not creating a sense of entitlement to women’s bodies, not victim blaming women for violence occurring to them for simply existing and expressing themselves and just being– I’ve been incredibly disappointed at prevailing patriarchal, dehumanzing mentalities. I’ve seen this in both more conservative-minded men and liberal-minded men. As I saw on a social media post a while back, conservative perceptions understand women and their bodies to be private property owned by men in their family, and liberal politics understand a women and their bodies to be public property, public objects that anyone has a right to sexualize, objectify and commodify, especially as long as it’s done in secrecy and not directly impacting her because of keeping her in oblivion of your violations of her humanity.

There is this deep fear that I will allow a man to indulge in the most deep, most intimate, most vulnerable parts of me– some of the most sacred parts of me– only for him to turn out to be someone far from who I thought he was. Perhaps there is a fear that I will start to blame myself and be unable to hold the grief as I mourn the fantasy that I believed him to be– someone who was trustworthy. Someone I did not give so much to only for him to turn out to be a horrible person who took advantage of me and reduced me to an object and performed the respect that he had shown me instead of truly meaning it.

Perhaps a lot of these fears go back to me blaming myself for things out of my control.

Perhaps it goes back to my childhood and the way I grew up, in which I, without being aware of it and how detrimental and toxic these mentalities were– equated love to submission. Submission of mind, body and soul to my parents. Taking for truth that they had the blueprint for who I was, for what I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing with my life, that they knew better than me and that I was making a HUGE mistake for venturing out of their expectations and visions for me to listen to my inner voice. That disagreement equaled disrespect, that I was to lack mental and intellectual competence in comparison to them, especially to my father, and that if I didn’t accept this and exhibit this, then I was a bad daughter, arrogant, disgustingly stubborn, a disappointment. The reason that they would die and have health problems.

Perhaps beneath the avoidance and fear of romance is the fear that in order to sustain the love, or so called love, between us, that I will have to give up parts of myself and perform. That in order to validate the parts of myself that soften and lean into him, that allow myself to desire and exhibit open attachment to him and allow his attachment and encourage his expression of desire for me, that I have to erase or at the very least suppress the parts of me that know more or perhaps better than him, the parts of me that are intellectual, smart, brilliant, wise. As if these parts of me discredit the parts of me that are “feminine” and therefore receptive to be taken care and loved by society’s standards instead of being parts of me being a “real” woman and therefore, again by society’s standards, feminine. As if my desire to love and be loved are invalid because my intellect, autonomy, independence and free thinking are supposedly at contradiction with my desire for a relationship. Nevermind that men desire and deserve to be taken care of, too, yet society puts so much emphasis on how a man takes care of women, discrediting women’s emotional and physical labor that sustain a man and enable his successes in tracitonal relationships. This is of course to promote the patriarchal constructions that women’s work is neglible and easy, and that men are the ones doing the real work.

I know that my fears of valid. What I need to reconcile is that true love in all love and including romatnic is freeing, not restricting even if there are uncomfortable conversations and triggers in conflict management that arise.

There is also the fear that once a platonic connection with a romantic connection brewing is explicitly acknowledged out loud, that the connection will lose its genuineness- because of the fear that once a man has the opportunity to enjoy a sexual connection with me as part of the romantic one, then he will make that sexual enjoyment and carnal pleasure a priority over the connection between us that is based on who we are in all of our multifacetedness. That at the end of the day, a man will always value me more for sex, for my body, rather than for the foundation of deep, intimate friendship and connection between us that ignites deep desire.

And don’t get me wrong. I want for a man to desire me sexually, and I desire a partner I am very sexually attracted to as well. But I don’t want that sexual attraction, desire and partnership to turn surface level. I want the sex to be good– for both of us.

But I want it to be a means of a portal of being immensely present with each other’s existence at a soul level.

Deep down, and being more explicitly aware of it now, I have worries that there can’t be room for all of it in real life, beyond my fantasies and imagination. That a man can desire me sexually AND genuinely enjoy sex with me from a place of connecting, not just taking. There is also the fear that there isn’t room for him to both value my intellect and self-sufficiency and still want to cherish and take care of me, as if my intellect and self-sufficiency invalidate the parts of me that desire to be protected, vulnerable and taken care of in my vulnerability. As mentioned earlier, much of this limiting belief, no doubt, stems from societal, patriarchal assertions that overly compartmentalize what it means to be taken care of, what it means to be feminine and masculine– over-categorizing people into boxes based on gender and pushing a limited, suppressive understanding that rejects their multifacetedness from this desperation to overly simplify things and people to keep things in so-called order.

There is the fear that no matter what, no man will truly understand me and connect with me and value me in the ways that I crave, and that at the end of the day, I will be taken advantage of. There is the fear that I can’t have it all in a man & in a relationship with him– mutual attraction, mutual values, good sexual chemistry, romance, genuine human connection, a platonic foundation.

I find comfort and pride in knowing that I am really good at being single. It’s what I’ve known for all of my life basically. So I don’t worry that I will not be able to do without a relationship. However, on the other hand, I worry about missing out on the romantic love I know that my soul desires. Partnership and connection that goes beyond platonic friendship and beyond sex. A kind of partnership where if God forbid something were to happen where we couldn’t have sex, the sexual chemistry would still be there and we would still make it work out of a genuine wanting and effort to (but again, God forbid it ever comes to that point because I would very much like to not have that limitation from sex if I do ever find that dream partner. Especially after going my whole life without it, never having done “it” still at 26 years old). Part of me feels scared that I’ll get to experience that deep pleasure and experience of connection through sex because I’ll never find someone, a man, I respect, trust and love enough to have it with. And that even if I do find that person, that it will all turn out to be a lie or that our love with be something fleeting.

And of course, in addition to these fears that are beneath the numbness of my avoidance, there is also the fear that I will lose interest. That I will lose the desire I have for my partner. That I will lose the desire and ability to connect with him, that instead of enjoying his desire for me, that I will be icked by him wanting me and desiring me. That I won’t actually like him anymore.

But again, that would only happen if this person is someone I no longer respected. The avoidance is there to protect me from baring my heart, mind, body and soul to someone who will eventually make me feel suffocated. Someone who will control me perhaps, and limit me from freely being myself. Being someone who has to perform and pick up all of the emotional labor. Someone who ends up being devalued.

Maybe my own whiplash comes from the anticipated whiplash that I will get from a man.

What I have been helping myself with is by seeking out & collecting evidence of good men, healthy relationships wherever I see it. Seeing that there are men out there who genuinely love a woman for who she is, and sexually desire her beyond the physical. It’s also learning to accept things that are out of my control and not blaming myself for them– not blaming myself for doing my part in upholding my standards to the best of my knowledge if I get betrayed or if things change in a relationship I thought would last forever.

Perhaps another element of this is understanding that I am not betraying myself for enjoying sexual pleasure with someone who did not end up being right for me. Knowing that I can still treat sex as sacred if I have more than one partner. The fear of doing something wrong where I feel like I’m betraying myself for something I didn’t know for supposedly “allowing” myself to get taken advantage of no doubt comes from toxic beliefs that were ingrained into me from purity culture, which I can go more into depth on in a future post.

I find that the thing that brings me out of avoidance is when a man is truly present with me. There is a certain man I recently came to love, the second man mentioned towards the beginning of this post, but I know things wouldn’t work out between us (considering that his feelings are reciprocated). Him being present with me grounded me, making me feel seen, heard and valued for my intellect and my personality as a whole. While it hurt a lot to accept time and time over that it would never work out, and that there are incongruities between our core values and that we would not be compatible for a myriad of reasons, I am grateful that I was able to understand how important connection is to me, in a romantic context with a man. Not just being desired, but actually desiring a man back for who he is. I didn’t realize until I met this man, and not until later in our knowing of each other, but all the other times I was attracted to a man it was based very much on how much he desired me. This was the first time I truly knew how it actaully felt to desire a man right back. I know that a lot of my oblivion to the joy of being physically and perhaps even soulfully attracted to a man where I didn’t just get pleasure from him enjoying me, but from me enjoying exploring him too– comes from patriarchy and purity culture where women were shamed for being open about desiring a man and perhps even pursuing a man– even from a non-desperate way where she is secure and whole in herself and stops her pursuing if she sees there isn’t mutual interest, because she knows her worth.

I realize that there is a lot of shame within me for pursuing a man and being rejected– not just for his rejection, but for daring to take the initiative in the first place as if it insinuates that I don’t know my worth for not waiting for him to pursue me because “I’m the prize”.

This discussion of who is actually the prize stems a lot from the new age packaging of patriarchy under those guides of divine feminine and divine masculine that is control and dehumanization guised as gender-based empowerment. This idea that as women, we have to be the prize, and that there is a prize at all, is incredibly limiting to forming genuine human connection in a romantic partnership. The man and woman in a heterosexual relationship aren’t a “prize”– the relationship itself, the connection– considering that both people are secure and desirable, good people who take care of themselves and embark intentionally on their individual and partnered growths– is the prize. The modern dating new age discourse teaches people to play a game where you can’t be honest about who you are, that you have to to some level forfeit your authenticity and make sure you are walking on eggshells and keeping your partner on their toes in order to sustain the relationship. As if this BS isn’t toxic and creating of disconnection and lack of vulnerability. This topic can be another blog post on its own I will write in the future.

Part of the solution for myself is also understanding, like many things in life, that I am allowed to make mistakes in relationships. I am still allowed to be grateful for the pleasure from relationships that didn’t work out and for what it’s teaching me about what I need and want.

A lot of it has to do with me removing shame around pleasure– especially around sexual pleasure. Around feeling pleasure for being desired by a man sexually– instead of feeling like I’m inherently objectifying myself or allowing myself to be objectified for owning this very natural, primal part of me that is a PART of my authenticity and personality, not a threat to it. Owning and celebrating that I am a sexual person. And removing shame around not just being desired by a man, but also desiring a man sexually. Understanding that the parts of me that desire connection romantically and sexually with a man don’t make me desperate for male attention and male validation, and don’t warrant me losing myself– my sexuality and desire for romance are a part of who I am. And it also means understanding that I do not forfeit my identity in and of who I am if or when I am to be in a committed relationship with a man.

It’s important to reject societally constructed dichotomies that position sex and genuine human connection at odds with each other with the lacking-nuance justification that men and women want different things to justify that men want sex while women want love. Or that in order to validate the parts of me that want a committed relationship, I have to reject my desire and need for sexual pleasure in comparison to a potential male partner. And that my intellect supposedly goes against my softness, or that my “feminine” aspects lessen how smart I am as if those things contradict each other. As I type these out, I feel more and more how stupid these notions are.

Will I ever end up in a relationship? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I will try my best to uphold my standards. And to make sure that I am meeting them myself if I am expecting them from another person.

And another thing I know is how genuine human connection is to me, both platonically and romantically. And that love, true love, is supposed to be freeing. Not restricting, not controlling, not dehumanizing, not objectifying. I know that when I feel avoidant towards love, I am really avoidant towards the things that I was taught that I would have to sacrifice to be worthy of love and to make it possible for me in the first place. Many things that required self sacrifice and lowering my standards, filtering my authenticity.

I know that the more I openly be myself, the more that I allow myself to be seen in my authenticity and make the effort to meet people organically, not just to find a romantic relationship, that I will make more of the genuine connection I seek to be possible for me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *