I spent my 20’s searching for a fantasy.
I was worried I wouldn’t find my “person.” My match, the man who would play sports with me and then take me into bed and make sweet, sensual love to me.
At 22, I met my first love and I believed the fantasy was real. He’d bike around town with me, race me down the street for 6 am runs, watch all the chick flicks I wanted, and taught me what a true orgasm felt like. But then it ended, and fear took hold, and the fantasy felt like a lie. So I continued searching, like a stereotypical hopeless romantic.
At 26, I met my second love, and everything you hear about love being “easy” seemed palpable. He’d surprise me with flowers for no reason at all, cook me dinner, save me from mice that snuck into my ground-floor apartment, and wipe my tears during sex because the emotion was too much to hold in. The kind of connection you watch actors pretend exists. It does, but then suddenly, it didn’t. And fear took hold again.
I was terrified as I neared 30, watching all my friends get engaged and have babies, that I’d die alone and turn into a cat lady who didn’t like cats except for hers.
So I continued my search for the fantasy—for the playmate who also satisfied all my sexual desires.
I was on dating apps. I’d meet men out and about at cafes and yoga and bars. I’d go on dates. I’d juggle 4, 5, 6 at a time, texting and seeing them, trying to decide who, if any, was worth seeing again, flirting, maybe kissing one or two. It was fun and freeing, but often time-consuming and disappointing.
Occasionally, when I’d meet one who’d cause chills to ricochet throughout my body when we’d kiss, I’d remember why I took the time to date, and I’d fall, hard, returning to that desire for a partner, for a man whom I could love and care for, who would play with me. But when I met these rare finds, I’d stress about not hearing from them when they’d end, staying up all night, too upset to sleep, my mind racing with what ifs, certain had I just done this or that, it wouldn’t have turned out as I wish it hadn’t.
And then, two months before my 31st birthday, it hit me: Why the hell am I wasting away my single days not fully enjoying myself?
I should enjoy this—or at least more than I already do. I should savor the thrill of butterflies when a man touches my thigh for the first time, the way his lips hover close to mine before we first kiss, a surge of anticipation, the way he looks at me, unsure of what I’m thinking while taking the leap to explore me, to tell me how sexy he finds me. I should savor these things without fearing them, without stressing about the what ifs.
I should enjoy inviting a man over on a Friday afternoon to make love and pleasure each other, to lay in each other’s sweat and passionate kisses, legs intertwined, because I can. Because I want to do it. Because the way his manicured, scruffy beard rests on his cheeks pulls me in, the way his eyes are enamored as he stares at my naked body, a sun-kissed bikini permanently etched into my skin, tracing his finger tips down my stomach, savoring every moment because he can, because he wants to, because he finds me incredibly irresistible and he also doesn’t know what will happen next.
Not one part of me enjoying it while another part questioning why I’d expose myself to potentially being hurt again.
I have yet to regret a heartbreak.
Does it suck when you’re feeling hurt? Absolutely. But each one has taught me more about myself. Each one has taught me more about whom I am seeking for a partner.
I should enjoy doing what I want to do whether or not it’s right or wrong or slutty or reserved. I should enjoy it for what it is, without allowing the fantasy to take hold, the expectations of “what if” clouding my ability to be carefree. To instead learn how to say fuck it and do whatever the hell I want.