Previously in the Sex Love and Obesity series we talked about how someone else had come along and Superman had let me go without resistance to seek the greener grass in another relationship. In my last blog discussed Dissociative Identity Disorder and how after 15 years of managing this mental health issue my next relationship choice suddenly made it a prevalent issue in my life again.
Before we talk about the relationship itself, let’s talk about how it even came to exist. You see, I wasn’t really looking for a new relationship. I wasn’t really looking to fall in love with someone else. Superman and I had issues, but most of our issues centered around me, around my need for sexual attention and my inability to deal with a relationship that was void of passion and intimacy.
I wasn’t looking for love, I was looking for attention.
I was looking for intimacy. I was looking for someone to boost my self-confidence and my self-worth by making me feel wanted sexually. I was looking for someone to appreciate my new body, to look at me with want and desire. I was looking for validation of what I had accomplished. I was looking for someone to make me feel pretty.
I’m going to be talking about this next relationship for a while, so I feel I need to give this gentleman a name as well. I’m going to call him Peter.
The first time I met him was at a weight loss surgery-oriented convention. He was barely beginning his journey. We met in passing and he told me that he read my blog and appreciated the motivation and inspiration I provided. A year later, when I couldn’t afford to go to that convention, he stepped up and started a community fundraiser to pay for me to attend. I was appreciative. Nobody had ever done anything like that for me before.
We hung out quite a bit at that convention. We had a lot in common. Like myself he had lost an impressive amount of weight after weight loss surgery. He wasn’t where he wanted to be yet. But he was less than a year post op, so he still had a little way to go. We became friends, got to know each other. We talked about our current relationship statuses. We discussed the frayed strands of relationships I had dangling in my life. The boyfriend that didn’t want to be sexual with me. We discussed his unhappiness in his marriage that was generated by many of the same issues.
He spent most of the convention upset at a girl that he was smitten with. Her lack of reciprocation of his attention and the mixed messages he felt she was sending had him twisted and confused.
I spent most of the convention jealous of her.
I wasn’t jealous that he was smitten with her mind you. To be honest, I wasn’t really attracted to him at the time. I had just returned from a weekend trip at another weight loss-oriented event where I was having a fling with a man who I was ridiculously physically attracted to.
I was jealous that she drew that sort of attention to her in a way that I didn’t. I watched her, flirting, sitting in the laps of men that were so obviously drawn to her, and ask myself what was wrong with me that I didn’t receive this sort of attention. As I admitted earlier, I was seeking that kind of attention. I was envious of her. But, it wasn’t a green-eyed monster sort of jealousy. It was an ugly duckling syndrome type of jealousy.
I listened as he confided in me that she was his ideal of a perfect woman. That her appearance, attitude and personality were exactly what he would create for himself in some Weird Science, create the perfect woman sort of scenario.
It was August of 2015, and something had changed for me during the two weeks that I had been gone attending these events. I came back with the distinct mindset, that I didn’t want to settle anymore. I didn’t want to have all these relationships that lacked closure because I was afraid to stand up and say I was unhappy.
I wanted a chance at the Happily Ever After fairy tale that I was seeking.
I didn’t think I had found Prince Charming at either of these events, but the weekend had opened my eyes up to the fact that he might be out there and that all my lingering relationship ties might be keeping him from finding me. I came home from that convention and all be it very slowly, started severing ties.
I was scheduled to give a motivational speech at another weight loss-oriented event a couple of months out. I put a call out on social media looking for someone who was willing to listen to my presentation and help me practice. Peter volunteered. This led to us spending a large amount of time talking on the phone together. Day after day I would call, practice my presentation, he would listen, and we’d chat a little bit after. As the month went on, the after chats got longer and longer. We’d vent to each other. Me about the boyfriend that didn’t pay attention to me. Him about the wife that didn’t pay attention to him.
By October, our friendship had progressed into something unique and special. I really considered him one of my best friends at that point. He had made it into a small inner circle of people I let close to me, people who I consider my “Ride or Die” friends.
Somewhere between August and October I had decided I was going to go to Disneyland World and run the Star Wars half marathon. I had invited a couple of my Disney loving girlfriends to go with me. Being a Disney fanatic and Star Wars nerd himself, he decided he wanted to go too. I was impressed that he wanted to try to run a half marathon, motivating people to take on their first finish line is a passion of mine.
In September he decided that he wanted to be present when I gave my first motivational speech. He’d been a big part of helping me get prepared for it. I was excited, it was my first big motivational speaking gig. A whole hour of me talking to a room full of people about how I had used exercise as a weapon against emotional eating in my weight loss journey.
He booked a trip to Raleigh, NC where the event was at. We decided to share a room together. I was excited to have one of my dear friends along for the ride. He was in the middle of training for a half marathon we were going to do together the following April. I was already training for the Dopey Challenge event I was going to be doing the following January. We packed our running shoes and found a local event to participate in while we were there that would get us both the distance we needed to run that weekend.
We went through the entire event without me even realizing that he was looking at me as anything other than the friend I thought I was. In fact, the girl that he had been upset wasn’t paying attention to him the way he wanted her too just a few months ago was at that convention too.
I was under the impression his romantic interests still centered on her.
When we first arrived at the hotel he presented me with a ring that I had posted about wanting on social media. I thought it was a friendly gesture. It was a Tinker Bell ring that I had lusted after. I thought it was a “Thank you for being part of this Disney running journey with me” gift.
When I got back to the room after delivering my presentation there was a dozen yellow roses waiting for me. I took it as a “Congratulations, you rocked that presentation.” present. Yellow roses are after all a symbol of friendship. I correlated it with him knowing how much I missed my father, how much I wished he was there. The whole yellow rose of Texas thing.
It wasn’t until I was sitting in a room with a couple of my girlfriends the final night of the event getting ready for the evening festivities that I even realized I was being courted. He had confided his feelings to them privately before we had even arrived in Raleigh.
At first, I didn’t believe them. I was convinced his intentions, attention and romantic obsession was focused on another woman.
Next, I was angry. Angry that he was looking for more than a friendship. Angry that I was going to have to tell someone I cared about as a friend that I wasn’t attracted to them in that manner. Upset that he was trying to take our friendship to a different level. I’d never been in that position before. Having to be the one that says, “I’m sorry, I just don’t feel that way about you.” I was used to being on the other side of the equation.
We had that conversation. We got up the following morning and did our run. We had a great time. He went back to home to his wife, I went back to my boyfriend, we said our friendly good-byes and life should have gone back to normal.
But if there is one thing I will ever say about Peter, it’s that when he decides he wants something, he is relentless in his pursuit of it. He had decided that he wanted me, and even though I didn’t really want to be wanted by him at the time. I wanted to be wanted by someone more than I wanted anything else at that point in my life.
I had worked hard to get to where I was in my weight loss journey. Happily residing in Onederland. But I still had no self-confidence. I lacked self-esteem, I lacked self-worth. I wanted to be wanted because I wanted the way someone else looked at me to validate me. That desire to be wanted was about to take me down a very dark rabbit hole.