Sexless in the City

Ode to a F**kboy

Jayde Atchison // Columnist

As the sunrise lit up his living room and his hands lightly pulled on my waist, he told me, “I didn’t realize how much I was going to miss you. ”All I heard was, “I missed you,” and I was wrapped around his little finger all over again. We had a handful of dates and agreed to exclusivity without labels, but after a vacation that took him out of the city for a few weeks, communication became few and far between. Three weeks would go by, and mentally, I would accept that he wasn’t interested anymore, and I would tell myself to move on—but then the R2D2 text tone I set for him would sound, the corner of my mouth would upturn, and I knew I was still strapped in this rollercoaster.

I became addicted to the dopamine rush of seeing his name pop up on my home screen, asking me when he could see me again. My best friend still laughs about the time I nearly threw my phone off the balcony because I received the first “thinking about you” and was shaking with excitement. She would then shake her head and ask why I was so happy to hear from someone that seemingly threw their phone into the ocean after sending one message. It was because every time I saw him in person, I basked in his compliments and forehead kisses instead of remembering his bad communication. 

I made excuses for his every twist and turn. His job was much more hectic than mine. He was exhausted and barely had time to sleep. He was so good to me when we finally did see each other. I never grew tired of coming up with reasons why he wouldn’t see me more than once a month. What kind of relationship could we have when we only saw each other every four to seven weeks, with little to no check-ins between? The rational side of my brain knew that we had no hope in hell, but my tender, bleeding heart kept telling me to hold out. Our chemistry was undeniable, and I wasn’t ready to throw it in the hazmat bin just yet. 

Maybe I didn’t invent believing you could be why someone would change, but I took the trope to new heights. I found myself bailing on friends if there was even a slight chance he might call. I feel nauseated when I look back on the nights I sat waiting on my couch with my legs freshly shaven while my friends were sipping wine on the beach. Not only did I waste a leg shave just to be stood up, but I wasted a potentially hilarious night with the people that always took me into consideration. 

Every single day this man told me, without using words, how he truly felt about me—and I refused to listen. Self-esteem? Never heard of her. It took six months of drowning in this situationship for me to pluck up the nerve to ask what the hell was going on. I told him I liked him, but I wanted to eventually be in a steady relationship and experience more of a commitment. I explained that if this wasn’t something he was capable of giving me, that was okay, but I was going to start dating again because I didn’t want to be caught in this casual cyclone anymore. 

Once I stood up for myself—and didn’t have a heart attack in the process—I began to question why my type was “emotionally unavailable.” I knew I was a catch and a half, but the people I went for couldn’t seem to see that. After hearing me complain about my lacklustre affairs over brunch, my friend slammed down his fork and told me I had “an anxious attachment style and kept going for avoidant partners—wasn’t that obvious?” I had no idea what he was talking about, so he dragged me to the closest book store and encouraged me to buy Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Findand KeepLove by Amir Levine and Rachel S. F. Heller. 

Self-help books often seem too hoaxy and get-rich-quick for my liking. I expressed this to my friend along with my hesitation to read a book about “keeping love,” as if it was as easy as keeping my freezer stocked with dairy-free Ben & Jerry’s. He asked me to trust him and proceeded to sell me on the book with a cult-like conviction. 

After taking the quiz at the beginning of the book, it confirmed that I did indeed have an anxious attachment style. The theory of attachment styles is not just a self-help concept but a large part of  psychology. Attached brings to light the three main attachment styles (anxious, avoidant and stable), how to recognize yours, how to look for the signs that can lead to toxic relationships and how to let go of the cycle you may be stuck in. 

After binge-reading all 273 pages, I came to terms with my pattern of chasing after avoidant people. I joined the cult my friend started and began pushing the book on anyone that had fuckboy/girl drama or just general relationship turbulence. It sounds like it’s too good to be true, but reading Levine and Heller’s words gave me the confidence to use effective communication and let romantic suitors know what I was looking for and needed in order for the relationship to move forward. I used to be terrified that talking about my feelings would scare people away, but I now know that a stable person isn’t easily frightened off by the “i” word—intimacy. 

I can’t promise that I won’t be conned by another fuckboy in the future, but I am satisfied with my strength to walk away, sans anxiety, when a man shows me how little I mean to him.

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