100 first dates without a spark means I’ve forgotten the roller coaster ride of moving past a breakup. There are days where I seem to be moving past the Outback Italian. I learned about anxious attachment. Managing it makes me think more logically to avoid leading with my emotions, which allows me to be more thoughtful in my interactions. This has led to some fun first dates and avoiding some time wastes. Dating is hard enough. But dating emotionally compromised is an exhausting back-and-forth 👇  

The Inequity in Our Goodbye

“Yes unfortunately my feelings have changed, so ok let’s both move on,” conceded the man who previously declared, “The important thing is, we found each other.” I gave him the words to get unstuck from a relationship that had run its course for him. Shouldn’t karma return the favor for me? I lean into logic to reason that if parting is good for him, it’s good for me too. I’m a catch, and my commitment deserves reciprocation. But then the arc bends 180 and I remember how happy he made me, most of the time.  

He Guest Stars on New Moments

I posted to Instagram for the first time in months and Messages showed he was active. I breathed a sigh of relief that Past Me had wisely unfollowed him to avoid seeing his life without me. It hurt enough never getting acknowledgement there because, so he said, he didn’t want coworkers to know he was dating someone overseas. And there are times, like when the witty East Coaster and I went out, I wondered what the Outback Italian would have thought of the place, knowing how much he enjoyed new experiences. 

The Partner in the Mirror

Anxious attachment theory says that you seek validation from your partner to replace uncertainty you experienced as a child. But my parents were consistent and attentive care givers. If anything, the destabilizing force was poor treatment in my earliest relationships, which I took as normal since TV shows from my childhood featured women in compromised positions – Peg Bundy, Marge on The Simpsons, Lois from Family Guy, and just about every single Law & Order episode dealing with domestic abuse. 

To counteract my tendency to look externally for validation, I focus on shoring up my self-assurance. I’m responsible for handling my anxious reactions to the big, dynamic world. I shouldn’t need a partner to calm me down, pick me up, or tell me it’ll be ok. That’s a damsel in distress mode I don’t accept financially, so I shouldn’t accept emotionally either. Just like with work, I’m self-sufficient and I’m enough.  

Wiser but Still Stuck

So, yes, I’m learning and getting healthier. Better late than never, but I wish it didn’t take a breakup to get here. I go surer footed but heavier hearted missing the Outback Italian. Every now and then, I wonder if a more self-assured me could have kept his heart because despite the long distance, he seemed so into us. So the breakup roller coaster continues.