Perfection.

I hate relationships. Or rather they hate me because I try so hard to be perfect in them. Because in everything I do, I am a perfectionist. Unfortunately. When I make my first mistake in life, it’s okay. I say to myself, “Well that was interesting. Don’t do that again.”

But when I make the SAME mistake again, not good. Then it’s like I’m slapping myself sideways, exclaiming, “What the hell is wrong with you?! Didn’t you get it the first time???”

I treat my relationships the same way. My first boyfriend was a series of trials and tribulations, a rollercoaster ride lasting two years, so that when it finally failed, I could look back on it knowing what NOT to do next time. My “learning experience,” I like to call it.

After my first relationship, I had become hardened. I told myself I wouldn’t fall in love until it was smart and safe. And as time went by, it seemed as though I didn’t even know what being in love really was or what it felt like. My feelings had dissolved somehow. It was as if I couldn’t connect to anything. And I didn’t have a care in the world. Icy, I would say.

Then I met the Terminator. He was a wonderful person, kind and caring, always thinking of others before himself. He treated me with respect and gentleness. And when I told him that I couldn’t feel anything, he said, “It’s okay,” and held me tightly. Months went by with me analyzing my every move, thought, and feeling as I became closer with the Terminator. I am a firm believer in following my gut, but only after thoroughly thinking through every possible outcome my gut-reaction could create. At some point I realized I really cared about the Terminator and told him I loved him. But it wasn’t being “in love.” I still felt disconnected to that feeling and even admitted that I didn’t think I’d EVER know how to feel that way. Needless to say, our relationship ended quietly and calmly.

Unaffected by the failure of my second relationship, I moved on feeling strong and confident that I was making all the right decisions, that the end of the Terminator and I was the right move. I didn’t make any of the same mistakes that I had with my first boyfriend. It was a good sign. I liked feeling impervious to the sorrows everyone else was dealing with. Feeling nothing actually made me feel happy.

And then I met Mr. Georgia. This older man knew how to have a good time. Unbelievably open with his thoughts and ways he felt about me, answering every complicated question I threw at him, and being romantic in ways I never imagined, needless to say, I got swept off my feet. Literally, if you count the jet plane ride. There was also, deep inside my gut, a twisting sensation I had never felt before. It happened every time I knew I was going to see Mr. Georgia. It made me bouncy and nervous, and I couldn’t get a hold of myself. It was ridiculous. So I analyzed it for months, trying to understand why I felt so strangely. I had a bad feeling. I had a feeling I was falling in love.

This was not a good sign. Because I knew that if I was starting to feel this way, my perfectly constructed wall was crumbling. I kept my mouth shut for the most part, afraid of scaring off Mr. Georgia. It would peek out a few times whenever I said, “I love your hair” or “I love the crease on your cheek” or “I love…THAT…about you,” when I really wanted to shout out, “I love YOU, just you, dammit!!!”Marianne and Willoughby

After thinking about it for a while, imagining all the different outcomes if I told him how I felt, I had decided I had nothing to lose. If I told him, two things would happen: he would feel the same way, OR, he wouldn’t. Either way, I would have my answer. So I did it. I told him and he responded nicely. But he didn’t return the feeling. Although he said some very confusing things. “It was everyday implied but never declared,” Marianne Dashwood said in Sense and Sensibility when Elinor asked if Willoughby ever told Marianne he loved her.

Well, this was my problem. I thought it was safe and I was pretty confident in the way I felt, so I went ahead and let my wall fall. And Mr. Georgia did not feel the same way. That’s the problem with falling in love. You gotta be ready for a broken heart.Willoughby

I thought I did everything right, analyzed my every move, my every thought and feeling, and I still ended up alone. So my perfectionism cannot be perfected…because I can’t seem to control my feelings and I certainly can’t control someone else’s feelings. My friend Marilyn said she was happy I finally let my guard down and allowed myself to fall in love. “It’s a good thing,” she said, “Please don’t let this bring your wall back up.”

It doesn’t feel good though. But so is life. And I’m back to building my wall. It’s amazing how fast it goes up. I guess that’s a good thing. Means I’ve perfected something in my life.

Except that being a perfection is my FIRST mistake. So there’s the rub.

Life dating someone 21 years older than you…

 

….is Fascinating! And so unpredictable.

Ever since I was in sixth grade, I recognized in me an attraction for older men. At this point in my age, I had a massive crush on my dad’s friend, Tully. Tully was in college and was around his early twenties. I knew my age and childlike appearance would never even give Tully a glance. I even thought that when I became an adult, I would still be considered too young for someone that much older than me.

In high school I had no attraction to anyone my own age. In fact, I would vocalize my opinion of boys versus men all the time, and how I could never date a “high school boy.” Ironically later, I would complain about how I was never asked out in high school…probably because I was much too open with my opinions. Hmm…silly me.

I never had much patience for boys because of their immaturity, their inability to get their shit together, and their selfish, childish views on relationships. Of course…this is to be expected of boys because they never really do “grow up” until their mid-30s. At least this is what my dad tells me:

“Don’t expect much from boys in their twenties,” Dad says, “because they don’t know any better yet. Give them a chance when they’re in their thirties or up. That’s when they’ve figured it out…usually.” And he tells me this because he admits that that was how he was in his twenties. Selfish, stubborn, and barely willing to be a team player in a relationship with a girl.

So far I haven’t said anything nice about boys. I want to point out that I have a lot of really great guy-friends. I love them and think they are great people. But I could never see myself in a relationship with them because of their age, both parts physical and mental. I get easily irritated when they don’t have a more mature view on the outside world. But I get irritated at anyone who can’t see outside themselves. It all adds up to how I personally want to be treated in a relationship. With respect, kindness, and thoughtfulness. Maybe my experiences with boys my age have not been very good, so I am jaded with these thoughts.

When I moved to California and began dating the Terminator, I was fascinated by the way he treated me with such caring attention. He was a real gentleman, humble and confident, kind. It took me aback once that he was ten years older than me. At the time, I thought a ten year gap was my limit.

Not anymore.

Now I’m dating a man twenty-one years older than me. And it’s like night and day. Man versus boy. Wildly unpredictable. Which actually makes me uneasy. When dating boys, I know what to expect; I know what they want. But men? There could be so many different things they want and I haven’t figured out the signs yet. With men, I don’t lose my patience, because they’ve got it together. With men, their sense of humor has matured, no longer silly and childish. And the deeper I analyze this, the more it makes sense how I would match better with an older man, than with my own age.

Most of my childhood was spent with adults at Christmas parties, closing show celebrations, fancy dinners with the cast of an opera, etc. I was brought up to be mature at five years old, to sit quietly in a restaurant full of adults drinking, laughing, and talking business.

It is no wonder I have no patience for unruly kids. I can’t stand them and think they should be smacked into maturity. At five, I remember sitting at a booth in a restaurant across from some other kid who kept climbing and whining everywhere. Even at five, I wanted to punch him and tell him to “sit still and shut up, stupid!”

If I do a breakdown comparison, it would go something like this: most boys still haven’t moved out of their mothers’ houses—men have lived alone for a while; boys don’t know where they’re going in life—men have already gone and done it; boys are still learning the ropes on how to have good sex—men have, well, A LOT of experience (they BETTER); boys don’t know quite how to treat girls—men treat them like women.

So I guess you can say I like skipping the boy phase and going straight for the man within.

Understand that my comparisons of boy versus man are simply general and come from personal experiences. I have met mature boys, or young men, and have met very immature older men (pricks, as I like to call them). So, all in all, it’s really based on character preference. And I’m also aware that there are some very stupid and immature girls out there. That’s why there’s a difference between a girl and a woman; a boy and a man. It may have nothing to do with age either, just the way one presents him/herself. I just find the differences fascinating.

Once upon a time…

…There was a very young girl who liked a very young boy. She’d punch him and shoved him into trees and was so sure he’d know she meant love. But the boy cried, running to the first grade teacher, pointed at the girl, “telling” on her. The girl’s face fell in sadness. She was so sure he knew! And then there was detention. This made the girl very angry, and she vowed to never love the boy again, rather to kick his butt just a little harder next time.boy and girl

As I was growing up, I wanted more than anything to be impervious to emotional pain. I believe most of us strive for this in vain. Because when it comes to relationships, pain is part of the warning label. WARNING: YOU MAY DEVELOP A BROKEN HEART.

As a constant analyzer of human emotional reactions, throughout the years I have examined my closest friends’ relationships, and have been occasionally envious of them. I watched how they showed the most complicated and controversial emotion, love.

First, there was Emm and Jay. The two expressed their love for each other so publicly and so unashamedly it was sickening! And after a year of nearly spending 24/7 with each other, they still seemed stuck in the “honeymoon” phase. In fact, they said the “love you” words to one another within the first week of dating, so who is to say “love at first sight” doesn’t exist.

Then there was Rach and Tony, a tug-o-war sort of relationship. One always being more needy than the other, and when things seemed to be finally leveling out, suddenly the tide would shift and the other person would do all the needing. Always in love, but always unbalanced, grasping at something too far for them to reach.

In my recent couple encounters, I had met a very unique girl and boy called Stunt Gee and Stunt Bee…for they are stunt performers. The two spent nearly every day together for about two years. They were very private with their affections for one another and acted very practical. During one of my conversations with Stunt Gee, she mentioned how she has never said “I love you” to Stunt Bee and believes very strongly that it shouldn’t be thrown out so easily as most people tend to do. She explained to me her viewpoint on the “love emotion” and felt that it should only be said when you mean it. MEANING you will NEVER take it back. Her opinion on love leaned more on the “forever” aspect of things.

I said to her, “Sometimes it feels I’ll never get there.”

She said, “That’s called a broken heart.”

Which leads to me and my new adventures on exploring relationships again. After surviving a fabulously destructive unrequited love relationship, my emotions on love automatically went into full lockdown. This was all subconscious of course, because I honestly didn’t notice myself locking up. That is, until I met the Terminator. I noticed that with such a nice guy, I felt absolutely nothing and wasn’t doing it on purpose. It took a long conversation with my dad, who apparently went through the same lockdown when he was my age, to help me warm up. So I pushed myself into trying love again, allowing it to happen naturally. It was like getting back in the water after nearly drowning to death. I’d been analyzing my every move and emotional response in an attempt to figure myself out, to see if I even knew what being in love felt like. And when I finally decided that I got it, I collected enough courage to whisper it to the Terminator, who, in turn, remained…silent.

So now, after being jealous of my girlfriends’ relationships, how they were all so quick and eager to profess their love and have it returned, after surviving a horrible relationship where the boy never really loved back, then being surrounded by a couple that didn’t believe in saying “I love you,” I find myself not wanting to be involved in the whole mess.

But there’s no getting away from it, not when you decide to get involved with someone else. So I must learn to love happily without being loved in return. Though it sucks! I’d rather take the detention…but not this time. Time to grow up just a little more.