The exception to this change only arrived as my mental state deteriorated further along in my late twenties. In 1990 I thought I'd made a big mistake when I blew off Sara in 1988. By the time "Jenna" came along, I really wanted at least one deal with a young woman to work out, and I got pretty desperate. So, the phone calls started happening, the repeated requests for dates met with rejections, and in the Summer of 1992, I finally had my meltdown.
In recent years I've decided to revive the "turn my back on love" experiment, and although I'm not exactly a hot item on the dating scene, I'm a lot happier on my insides. I've really set limits as to how far I will go in my pursuit of any woman, no matter how much I may think of her as an ideal match for me.
In recent posts I've talked about the tendency I have to cast about for a love interest from amongst the women in my world. I brought up the observation that I would project onto such women the idea that there was something "there" as far as their feelings for me. Usually, I would base this conviction on what often must have seemed like, to them, pretty minor flirtations from these women towards me.
Here's how dissociative thinking would play into these scenarios: I would, say, eat at a restaurant. The waitress brings a skillet of sizzling hot fajitas. She would say, "It's hot." I would think in some automatic, nonverbal way in my head, "It's hot? What's hot? Is she talking about my deal with Rachel at the coffee shop? Is that what this waitress means when she says, 'It's hot?'"
So, that means, when I am at the grocery store and the cashier hands me my change and says, "Have a good one." I would, and sometimes still do, cast about for some attractive woman in my world that he or she may be "talking about." This woman would usually occupy a top tier spot as far as how attractive she is in comparison to other women in my world, and if she happened to be someone who at any time seemed to flirt with me, even a little, then we're off to the races.
I think the "turn my back on love" method of setting limits to what I'm willing to "do about it" restores some sense of balance and sanity to me. Remember, when I leave off on the pursuit of someone, what's going on my head is, "Okay, this woman could actually represent true love, and I'm fine with just dropping the ball on this one and going about my business." So, it's an extreme antidote to the relentless phone calls with the relentless pursuit that marked some of my worst moments, and it's the relentless pursuit from me towards them that seems to be what these attractive young women are most apprehensive about. Whereas, if I just try to set some arbitrary limit about how far I'm willing to go, such as telling myself, "Well, I'll call her three times this week instead of seven or eight times," it might not come out as so decisive or robust.