I think I may be suffering from a rare mental disease that only affects my good self. I call it commitment-phobia. I’ve had it for almost thirty years but I’m really only coming to terms with it now. What it is is a hormone or gland or chemical imbalance or something, that causes delusionary emotions of falling madly in love and then falling madly out of love just as quickly. The falling out of love is usually triggered by the other person falling in love with me. Hence, I probably have enough ex-lovers at this stage to fill a theatre for one of my story telling nights (if they were speaking to me, that is).
And believe me, it’s not as if I have a lot of choice. There are plenty of people with whom I would love the opportunity to prove I wouldn’t be happy with. No, I am only referring to those who are desperate enough to fall for me, and whom, similarly, I am deluded enough to be taken in by.
I remember my first boyfriend. I was a seventeen year old school girl and he was a student of twenty one. I was well impressed. He was tall, blonde and he wore a black polo neck sweater. We kissed and fumbled. I stole an ashtray from the pub and he gave me a crossbar home on his bike. It was pure adventure. Even the next day when I was sober I still thought he was the sexiest man on the planet. We spent a few weeks talking about every single thing under the sun, and then we tried out every single thing under a blanket. He told me that I was the only woman he had ever loved. My heart skipped a beat and I was so much in love that I, yes, even I, could not eat. Soon after that, he himself got some sort of disease, whereby instead of still talking about everything under the sun, his conversation became limited to: ‘I love you’ or ‘you’re amazing’ or some similar kind of rubbish talk. Although I could still talk coherently, whenever I did try to engage in conversation he would gaze into my eyes sending out the message ‘whatever you say is wonderful, but I’m not listening, I’m just waiting to kiss you.’ Looking back, that’s where my own disease probably began to kick in. Unfortunately, the more he gazed lovingly at me, the more he began to look like a duck. I’d feel uneasy and decide to take a breather, so I’d say something like ‘I’m just popping up to the shops for the newspaper.’ ‘I’ll come with you’, he’d say, and then hang out of my arm all the way there and back. My disease then entered stage two, which was similar to a complicated form of claustrophobia. When I wasn’t with him, I was still madly in love, but as soon as we met up I began to panic and plan my escape. This then developed into crisis mode. I knew it was over, not only did I not love him, I hated him. He had nothing to say, he looked like a duck and that sweater from the first night had belonged to his flatmate because on the night I met him all of his horrible cream coloured shirts had been in the wash. Being seventeen it was easy to run. I just got one of my school friends to call up to his house and say ‘my friend says she’s breaking it off.’
Unfortunately, despite having tried every possible combo there is, the pattern persists: I meet someone. They are the most amazing person in the world. Then they are not. Then I am in trouble for breaking their heart. Then I do something stupid to escape, such as shag their friend. Then they hate me. At this stage their hate can at times cause me to have second thoughts and go for a reunion, but once they love me again, I’m off again. I celebrate my freedom and remind myself that I am not suited to relationships. Then I meet someone else and truly believe that they are ‘the one’. Then the whole thing starts again.
I suppose I’d be much better off just concentrating on one night stands. Thing is though, I’ve recently fallen madly in love…