don’t stand so close to me

by Kate

A couple of weeks ago, I was thinking about my attraction to the emotionally unavailable, and something I’ve sort of known for a long time became more lucid to me: involving myself with the emotionally unavailable frees me up to have a very active wish/hope/fantasy life.  Like this:

If I meet someone, and there’s a mutual attraction, and this fellow I’ve met happens to be really touchy-feely, and he wants to be with me, and he wants to move in and maybe talk about marriage and babies, that’s… horrifying.  I mean, nice, great, wonderful AT FIRST, but I don’t really know how to sustain that sort of relationship for longer than three months.  Whereas if I meet someone, and there’s a mutual attraction, and this fellow I’ve met happens to be more reserved, and he’s been burned in the past, and he doesn’t want to get married (and divorced [again]), well, it’s AWESOME.  And it might even stay awesome longer than three months!  Because here’s why:

I can still dream about marriage and babies and cohabitation and long walks on the whatever because IT IS NOT ACTUALLY HAPPENING, so there’s none of that tacky “reality” bullshit.  If you only see someone twice a week or three times a year, you don’t have as much exposure to all the profoundly disappointing/annoying aspects of their character, so it doesn’t bother you as much.  When one tries to actually build a life with someone else, there’s so much room for failure.  All that hope, just gone.  But if the Object of one’s affections always keeps one at arm’s length, well, one can dream of how lovely it would be if the Object would only let one a little closer.  One can enjoy a drink with the Object, and then go home by herself (maybe after a bit of shagging) and not have to deal with the Object’s gross drunk sleep farts.  Or the empty beer bottles the next day which the Object was too drunk to clean up.  Or the empty promises that the Object will stop drinking.

So when I meet someone whom I find fetching, and he happens to be emotionally unavailable, I want to say “OH THANK GOD, ME TOO.”  But the Object doesn’t ever believe me because here I am making uncomfortable jokes, and saying inappropriate things, and acting like any obsessive girl with a crush.  And what the Object might fail to realize is that my infatuation, as one might call it, is fed by the Object’s unavailability.  My crush, the feeling itself, needs air and light and *space* to survive.

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