I've been dumped by every guy I've ever dated. And I've had my heart broken so bitterly that I felt I'd rather die from it than live and know it to be so. And I regret nothing. All but one of my relationships has been long term, the longest lasting 8.5 years, and with the exception of one very intense and dangerous relationship with a charismatic, drug-addicted artist with borderline personality disorder who seemed to want to kill me... they all ended due to one or more of my following supposed shortcomings:
won't have his baby
not attracted to him sexually
too devoted to my work
won't get a real job
not a team player (whatever THAT means)
Oddly enough, all but one of these men told me they knew they were crazy for breaking up with me because I was "the best girlfriend they had ever had." And it took between six to nine months for every single one of them to ask me to take them back. For one of these men, I did, albeit a mistake I won't soon make again. My oldest brother tells me that I am loyal to a fault. And there are reasons why "to a fault" hasn't worked in my favor.
The guy I dated the longest once famously told me "you don't need a boyfriend, your horses are your boyfriend." And though it wasn't meant to be funny, I thought it was hilarious and much to his chagrin it inspired the following poem I wrote for my stallion:
my love lives in a pasture
and he costs me every dime
but he's worth his weight in gold
for every thing he doesn't mind;
portrait of... my funny valentine
Bruised egos aside, in all but one of my relationships with men I have never been able to shake the feeling that my guy was in love with the idea of me vs. who I really am. They always wished I were more this or more that or did this or did that. Reminders of my failures always seemed a common theme and for much of my early adult life I believed this was because of me, literally. I'm wiser now to the patterns in people and relationships and love and hurt feelings and more apt to believe that people point out the shortcomings of others most often when they feel especially sore about their own.
It may surprise some when I say I have sworn off dating completely but make more sense when I say that I regard sex with ambiguity. I've had so much bad sex over the past two decades that now I won't even consider it unless I know for sure there's something in it for me. Call me the ice queen but I don't feel the need to lease out my vag, half asleep, in exchange for a warm body and the sound of someone snoring next to me. So when I consider my life now vs. when I shared it in disgruntled relationships (both of us, not pointing fingers) I see a shortcoming not on the list, but the only one that counts: and that was where I believed more in the other person than I did in myself.