Behind Closed Doors: On The Shelf

For years I have been unapologetic about the enjoyment I get from sex and men. I love it; being naked with someone you trust, being penetrated in a whirlwind of lust and letting time pass by as pillow talk swats away silence the morning after.

But recently a close friend of mine made a passing comment which implied that I was afraid of commitment. At the time I brushed it off as the light hearted joke that it was intended to be, but it did get me thinking.

I believe that men have two mind sets: wanting something long term and not wanting something long term. I’ve concluded this based purely on observation; two people’s compatibility depends largely on how wide they set their tolerances and when a man is looking for something long term he becomes a lot more tolerable of traits which previously would have caused him to walk away and in some instances he may even look for solutions! “Eden wants too much, she’s always complaining that we don’t go out enough” becomes, “Eden and I are eating at one new place each month; there’s actually some pretty good places to eat at around here.”

While I was busy burning my bra and sleeping with every man I wanted to, as a feminist who has no problem arguing against the different stereotypes placed on males and females who enjoy sex, ‘boys will be boys’ verses ‘sluts with no self-respect’. I had failed to apply my feminist principals to my previous thought process. If I believe men have two mind-sets, why haven’t I considered that I might also have two mind sets and that my actions are causing me to actively avoid commitment?

If I assume that I do have two mind sets, because the more I think about it the more it becomes true. What becomes relevant is understanding why I would switch from one to the other. ..

For at least the past three years, I’ve not been the slightest bit apprehensive about going out for drinks with the type of guy who sends unrequested dick pics and quick to let others know that I wasn’t looking for anything serious. I’ve laid in bed next to quality men, with wonderful outlooks on life and still brushed off all commitment while snuggling under their arm and saying ‘I think you’re amazing, but I really want to spend time on myself at the moment’. I nip it in the bud and force them into giving a response that’s as equally none committal. (…or they breathe a sigh of relief.)

This does immediately put up a wall preventing me from getting hurt, which was my initial thought. But what ties in better to my background is that I’m actually stopping them from getting hurt. I’m distancing them from a relationship (that is yet to exist) in order to save them from something that may, or may not, happen. I’m labelling myself as a liability and clambering up onto ‘the shelf’ regardless of reality.

As I delve into my psyche there are there are two ways I could hurt someone I was in a relationship with, either by (a) failing to commit to them and walking away, or (b) killing myself and leaving them with unanswered questions.

Failing to commit doesn’t cause me to dwell too much because that’s life. I’ve had my heart broken and I’ve broken hearts, both perspectives are painful, gut-wrenching and can take a lot of adjustment. You do get over it though and it’s for the greater good – you deserve to be with someone who is as equally committed to you as you are to them, if that’s not the case (although it may hurt like hell in the short-term) you’re both better off walking away.

Now, suicide. That’s a tricky one to consider, and some might say irrational. However, I’ve attempted suicide twice; once when I was 13 and again (with significantly more vigour) at 23. I’ve learn, like a sucker punch to the stomach, that there are times when I can’t trust my own thoughts to bring me to a practical and positive conclusion.

That scares me and I don’t want anyone to have even an ounce of that feeling on their shoulders. If I nose dive into another bout of depression and successfully kill myself while I’m single I regard the damage as being significantly less than that should I be coupled and/or with children.

This fear assumes that I will most likely plummet into another severely depressive episode, which I haven’t for years now. I’ve actually learnt, albeit the hard way, what the signs of early depression look and feel like, how to counter them and where to get help. I’m afraid of a ‘what if’. I need to trust myself more and allow men to get to know me well enough so that they can decide whether to commit to me. Everyone comes with baggage.

So lock up your sons – if they’re in their late-twenties/early-thirties, have no problem eating out excessively and have a cracking sense of humour – I’m switching my mind set and not dismissing something long-term before it’s even started. While I won’t promise not to indulge in the occasional fling after a charming date that shows little long-term potential, I can promise not to hide from a relationship which could be amazing to avoid a ‘what if’.

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