… course by “right” I mean, “what is the thing I can say that will make him love me like, for real.” I wanted to be loved for real because then, maybe (and yes, ironically, again), I would feel safe enough to be myself. Do you follow? I thought the only way to be myself was to first be someone else, as though one version of myself was simply a gateway drug to the truer, more accurate version.
If you are the type of person who needs to be needed — or the type of person who needs to enabled — you may be prone to codependent relationships. I was (am?), and so last summer I told my therapist that I was taking a break from dating while I learned to derive satisfaction from something other than making specific men believe that I am Good and Useful. She told me I could date and learn to do that at the same time. I told her that, in addition to being sure I would swaddle my independence and dump it on some church steps the second I felt a feeling again, the idea of dating exhausted me. Then she hit me with, “I’d be exhausted too, if I never felt safe enough to ask for what I wanted.”