I fall in love way too easily, way too quickly, and way too intensely. I’m an easy target for mockery because I can’t help wearing my feelings on my sleeve.
I’ve had long stretches of my life feeling helpless, feeling small in a big world, and feeling in desperate need of rescue. And I’ve had equally long stretches of feeling masterful and grandiose.
My life has bounced from crisis to crisis.
Half of the people I’ve fallen in love with have been guys. I don’t want to have sex with them. I don’t want to be gay. I don’t want romance with them. I don’t want to hug them. I just like hanging out. I just like learning from them how to be human.
I naturally adore some guys and some gals. It’s like a fever. I can fall in love with a man or a woman without wanting to be romantic or sexual. There’s just something in my autonomic nervous system that gets activated and I feel high in the presence of certain people. (Every rabbi I’ve ever wanted to devote myself to has turned out to be a scam artist.) I feel myself slipping into worship and emulation mode. It’s beyond my rational processes. It’s beyond my cognition. It’s beyond my control. I just want to make other people my higher power. I feel like they can fix me. I feel like they are just what the doctor ordered. I put them on a pedestal. Sometimes this adoration lasts for decades. At other times, it is destroyed in five seconds never to return (such as when the person demeans me).
Like other narcissists, before recovery, I tended to put people one up on me or one down. I naturally tended to idealizing and devaluing people (including myself).
I think these are symptoms of love addiction. It’s not just about sex, you know.
When I make God my higher power, and seek to live a life of service to others, these fevers hit me less often and less intensely. I have less need to make other people my higher power.
On a psychological level, I think this is about attachment. Spending most of my first five years in foster care, I grew up with anxious attachment. I naturally obsessed about my attachment to people I cared about and whether the attachment was waxing or waning (which usually led to the destruction of the attachment). Through 12-step work, I’ve moved in the direction of secure attachment. I think it has been years since I got up in the middle of the night to see if a person had unfriended me on Facebook.
I want to be more masculine. I want to live in reality more than fantasy.
“I’d hate to see you waste your whole life in delusion,” said my long-time therapist. Another therapist said he’d hate to see me end up as the guy on a bar stool talking about what a success he could have been.
The more serene I feel in daily life, the less need I feel to escape through fantasy. I’m sure there are healthy forms of falling in love. I look forward to living them.
I remember in grade school there were times when the cool kids would bring me into their circle. Often, a great kid would befriend me and my life would dramatically improve. “I’ve finally gotten things figured out,” I’d say to myself. And then the kid would die or one of us would move, and I would be left once again outside the winners circle. I’d loved living on borrowed functioning but it never lasted. It can’t.
There are lots of parts of human connection that don’t come naturally to me. So I love it when other shlep me along into the world of normality.
I think part of my sports addiction comes out of my need to love, to worship, and to feel excited. The more together my life is, the less dramatic of a role sports fandom plays for me. There were some years, such as 2007, when the success of the Dallas Cowboys felt like the greatest thing in my life (and then in January of 2008, they were knocked out of the playoffs by the New York Giants, who went on to win the Super Bowl).
This is the home I grew up in on Currans Road in Cooranbong, Australia. I lived there a bit in my first four years and constantly from age 6 to 11.