Dear Dr. NerdLove,
I really need your help. I’m going through mental anguish over the past and I’m at my breaking point. Here is my story:
One day, all of my longtime friends deserted me out of the blue. They told me they didn’t want to be friends anymore and that was it. To this day, I have not fully regained trust of women nor have I had a new female friend since this. I believe that if this event had not occurred, I would be a happy, functioning adult. But it sent me on a path of depression, contempt, and attachment issues. (These final two statements were only recently realized).
The next year I transferred schools due to the unbearable effects of being ostracized by my entire peer group.
I was the new girl: lonely, shy, and depressed. The first day, I was put into a group project with my current boyfriend. He was smart, artistic, funny, and a gamer (something that I had recently gotten into). It didn’t take long for me to develop a crush and then a full blown love/obsession with him. Despite only having one class with him 2-3 times a week, I thought about him constantly. I would spectate him playing games, text, and discord call. He was my best friend, in my mind. I didn’t care about befriending anyone else.
Anyone can see that the attachment I formed to him is unhealthy. I was so hurt from what happened with my friend group, I avoided girls. I was also worried he would leave me like they did. I relied on him for all happiness. I put him on a pedestal where he was perfect. I made constant hints at my feelings, even a few times outright discussing it. But he asserted his (valid) feelings that he didn’t want to risk things changing. Instead of taking obvious signs of disinterest, I never gave up. And most of all, when he hurt me the most, I ignored it.
We were friends for about 3 years before I asked him out on a date after realizing he probably never would. We went to a movie and then after that he still wasn’t sure. I remember finally breaking down on my bathroom floor in the new dress I bought for our date. Even writing this now, my chest feels tight.
After hesitation he agreed we were dating, and stupidly, I accepted that. I accepted the constant hesitation (as inexperience), the ignoring (as being busy with school), and disinterest (as my own inadequacy). My codependence was so powerful I was willing to accept anything. It’s all me. I carried the entire relationship. If any point I had stopped talking to him, I doubt he would ever reach out. In fact there was a 6 month gap of time over the summer in which there was no communication. I saw him in class, but he didn’t acknowledge my existence. I reluctantly was the first to text him and we started to talk again. But, if I hadn’t we never would have talked again. I feel like I deserve so much more. Anyone deserves so much more.
However, we started dating anyway and it was perfect happiness. What I was after all those years was finally realized. He introduced me to his friends. I was never popular nor did I make any friends of my own. But it was so much better than before. He met my parents, and I met his (after a few fights). Nothing could go wrong.
Then one day I unearthed my old diaries filled with pages of pain to recount what happened. I started fights occasionally and caused problems in our relationship (bringing up the past, insecurity, blame) when I remember those things. My most intrusive thought is: If I hadn’t asked him out he wouldn’t have asked me out.
You might think, what’s wrong with that? For someone like me who needs to know they are loved and wanted, that prospect hurts me deeply. Not to mention the fact that he must not have found me very attractive. He didn’t love me until I forced him to. I mean, that’s extremely problematic on my part. I want him to date a girl he loves, not a freak like me.
He loves me now. It’s been almost two years and a major life transition. But if he loves me because I manipulated and changed fate I can’t stand it.
As long as I forget the past, I feel content. There are other minor things he does, that annoy me. I end up seeing the connection between these current behaviors and the past. It sends me into a deep spiral. For example: “Why don’t you ever ask me out? I’m always the one who does it. I’m always doing all of the work. If you really cared you would enthusiastically ask me to go out without prompting. Just be honest and tell me if you even care.”
Sometimes I think, why am I so dramatic? Aren’t we the perfect love story? So what if the genders are flipped, that doesn’t make you any less of a woman. It’s the 21st century. Be happy now with what you have. But I know now that the initial attachment to him was one out of desperation, and some of it still lingers. Is it possible for me to move past such a stressful and heartbreaking past?
My boyfriend has truly grown into a much more dependable, loving person. I’m no longer codependent to him and slowly learning to make friends after therapy. We have talked about marriage and living together after college. We visit each other every week. My parents love him. We’re both each other’s firsts. We’ve had good discussions on the future and he’s incredibly talented, smart, and still nerdy. I love him, but the past hurts me so much. I’m worried that we will keep progressing and get married and there’s still going to be these feelings of inadequacy. That’s completely unfair to him. At this point, he has done everything to prove he loves me and finds me attractive and apologized for the past. There might not be a word or action that will ever disconfirm my thoughts. I really need your voice of reason.
– She Will Always Be A Broken Girl