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The black widowI’ve come to the conclusion that love relationships are not for me. After Nandi, it took me two years to get to the point where I was strong again and doing the things I actually enjoy. I had developed friendships, was learning new things, taking classes, going to clubs, spending time with people and recalling the things that make ME happy. And then Mac came along. I threw my entire being into healing him, saving him. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing at the time, of course – I thought I was diving headlong into a mutual love. I lost all interest in outside activities and people, or at least I lost the ability to juggle that interest along with Mac’s constant needs and anxiety producing behaviors. And now I try to push myself to do the things I had only just begun to enjoy again, out of some stubborn determination not to lose myself again for so long, even though I really already have.

It’s strange that every night I cannot sleep without the fantasy of a man’s arms around me, and yet I actually don’t like sleeping with any man in my bed. How bizarre is that? I dream a fantasy I don’t even actually want. I yearn for companionship, for someone to do things with and feel a connection with as well as a sexual bond – and yet when I have someone, I often wish they would just let me be alone with interests and friends sometimes. I was annoyed that my husband was ALWAYS there, being omnipresent and full of disdain for anything I actually enjoyed. I was annoyed that Nandi never was – and yet he still somehow managed to emotionally drain me and negatively judge the things I enjoyed. His very absence was a draining omnipresence in itself. And Mac – I couldn’t even tell him about things I wanted or planned to do or he would sabotage them.

Because of my mixed desire to be fully committed to someone but not be caged by them, I for years reflected on my feelings and behaviors and questioned if I was NPD or BPD myself – had I inherited this from my mother? But years of therapy and self-reflection have made it clear I’m not disordered in those ways. No, I am an empath and the quintessential “caretaker.” I am always the controlled one in relationships, stuffing down my own needs and emotions to take in those of my partner so I can release those emotions back to them cleansed and healed. Thanks, mom, for training me to feel everything instead of nothing. Because honestly I would rather suffer than cause suffering.

At this point I feel maybe I’ve been so completely emptied that I have nothing more to offer and further connection on a romantic level can only destroy me and do nothing positive for my partner. I feel I’ve left every past partner at least a little bit stronger. I’ve truly fulfilled my mother’s prophecy. This isn’t looking back at my own actions with rose colored glasses – this is what each man has himself told me. My husband said he could not have fulfilled his career goals without my financial and emotional support. Byron said I gave him the confidence to finally leave the incestuous relationship he had been manipulated into by his sister as a teenager. Nandi said I made him strong enough to reconnect with his first and true love in his country of origin. And Mac – Mac said I saved his life when he had given up on living altogether and now he describes himself as “living on the top of the mountain and thanking god every day” for his new life. A life he kicked me out of by his actions after I gave him emotional and financial support to escape the trap he had been in before. I would love someone to come along to heal me. Or rather, to co-heal with me. But at this point, I think such a thing is an unrealistic pipe dream. Every situation has simply drained me dry and given me nothing in return. I no longer believe in love. I no longer believe in soul mates. I just believe I’ve served my function in terms of love and it’s time for me to retire.

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