There is, in my life at the moment, a boy who we shall call Boytoy, partly because he could fit that definition, but mostly cos it’ll piss him off when he sees it. Boytoy is, as the name implies, younger than me, and he is also, as the name implies, sleeping with me. Things being how they are, I am, at the moment, one of his harem, while he is all of mine. The reason he is not merely a boytoy is because the role he plays is more like that of friend, cuddler, midnight-panic-callee, things-around-the-house-fixer, driver-of-mother-to-the-airport and general all-round knight in shining armour. I also sometimes call him my fake boyfriend, because he kind of fulfils the role but actually is not. This is all a bit too line-blurry, but I am ignoring that because hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
The reactions to his presence in my life have been varied. Some people say yay good for you. Some people say no! You’re blocking out the possibility of a real boyfriend! Some people say you’re going to get horribly hurt because you’re going to fall for him (he was in this camp at the beginning). Honestly, I don’t know. To the first I say thank you, to the second, but at least I have something–I’m tired of having nothing, and to the third, well no one ever escaped emotional pain by planning to avoid it now did they?
The funny thing is, while I DO love him very much, and I can’t imagine my life without him, I also know that I will never want to be with him. We are fundamentally very different in ways that would destroy a relationship, but don’t matter here. Which makes him a safe bet in many ways. Now, I know and understand all of this, but, of course, the rational-emotional disconnect means that I do sometimes get hurt, even though the hurt seems to be more my reacting to him than him doing anything, except on one memorable occasion.
The other day I was thinking about why, whenever he talks to me about one of the other women in his life, especially when he says things like I want to date her, my instant reaction is one of extreme hurt and dismay, and all I can think is, but why won’t you date ME? I don’t want to date him, but I need him to want to date me? That’s not fair. But why does it happen? I can’t possibly be such a dog in the manger.
The first explanation that came up in my head was that his not wanting to date me is simply a confirmation that I’m not good enough, which is of course the deep root of all my issues–I’m not good enough for ANYONE to want to be with me. And it’s true, it does feed that particular monster, because, clearly, knowing me and being attracted to me and enjoying my company and all that still doesn’t add up to wanting to be with me. But then it struck me–it doesn’t add up for me either. I mean, I know him, I love his company we’re clearly compatible, and I still don’t want to be with him. There must BE an X-factor. What is it? I’m damned if I know! All I know is I’ve only ever come close to getting it once in my life, and maybe I threw it away. Maybe I did something great for both of us–only time will tell.
Then, today, it occurred to me that, as my life is right now, I don’t really have the resources to ‘put myself out there’ (and by resources I don’t mean money in case anyone was wondering). I simply don’t have the energy or optimism left to meet new people and believe in them, to nurture new relationships and maybe someday have someone else I can call with a midnight panic attack, or lie in bed and cuddle on a Sunday afternoon. I don’t even have the slightest inclination to go find hookups–I want to stay right here in my cocoon thank you very much. And on some fundamental level I have given up on the couples life, on the whole let us build a life together. I’ve built a life on my own and it’s actually pretty fucking amazing. It’s not the life I wanted for myself, but it has fabulous things that the life I wanted would never have had. But it also means that I can’t be irrevocably sure that I will have certain things that are small but contribute hugely to my own wellbeing. And at this point, I get them from Boytoy. And if he then embarks on a real relationship, all his protestations that things won’t change aside, I will have to learn to live without them again.
And that is something that just makes me gibber.