There is this person that I like and they seem to like me too. However
for some reason I have these terrible suspicions that maybe they are
not being honest with me. That something will happen. That they're
lying. That the other shoe will drop. Am I just being paranoid? How
can I find out the truth and get rid of this agonizing headache? Thanks
Okay. This frequently
asked question used to stump the Webmistress. Particularly because it
seemed so common. Why the fuck, the webmistress asked herself speculatively,
do so many people seem to have some sort of hangup wherein they go into
absolute fucking spasms of agony every time they suspect they like someone?
Particularly if the other person seems to be responding appropriately
with reciprocal interest. What's so fucking terrible, she wondered,
about liking someone and having them like you back?
asked herself these questions because sometimes she is just an idiot.
Sometimes the webmistress just does not use her head. Or draw upon her
greatest resource, her own vast and extensive personal history of being
completely fucked up. Fortunately, however, she snapped out it, gave
the matter some thought, applied her trademarked logic and came up with
some patented Crackpot Theories and figured the damn thing out. You
lucky agonized people experiencing the horrific agony of mutual attraction.
So here we go. There
are two components, as you have already realized, to this terrible business
of liking someone and having them apparently like you back. Component
#1, though mildly dreadful, is not as vast and frightening as Component
#2. So we'll deal with it first.
could potentially lead to emotions and maybe even feelings. Is this
a good idea? Potentially not. Emotions and their dreaded companions,
feelings, can lead to a distinctly queasy roller-coastery sensation
of being quite alive without any quick and reasonable means of bringing
this sickening intensity of aliveness to an end before you throw up,
start sweating, faint in front of the person you like, turn beet red,
or otherwise prove yourself to be a thoroughly human physiological creature
in front of scores of other human beings who most probably don't have
your best interests at heart. What a dangerous situation! You could
be thoroughly embarrassed, not to mention become the victim of an overwhelming
desire to actually do something foolish, like fall in love.
So naturally, when
you encounter this situation of liking someone, you will, if you are
older than 13 or 14, experience a counter-reaction, in which certain
parts of you that have been through this drill before, say things to
themselves like 'oh shit, here we go again. we all know what this leads
to - thrills, agony, sex, rejection, brokenheartedness, breakups, disruption,
blah, blah, blah. great, just great. we get to be yanked around by love
again. just when we were getting to really enjoy the peaceful calm of
loneliness and lack of companionship. do we really have to fucking go
through this business of adjusting to another human being that we like
again?' and they mull around your body muttering to themselves, murmuring
warnings about going on strike, painting 'Sexual Attraction Unfair
to Pheromones' signs and just generally trying to get out of the
work that liking someone entails.
This is just natural.
Rousing your body for the vigorous workout that attraction entails requires
some effort. All parts of your body naturally want to conserve energy
for that vitally important recreational activity, the nap, and even
if they are specifically primed for attraction and liking people, they
will first make at least a half-hearted attempt to see if they can talk
you out of it, partly to determine if you are really serious about things
this time. The human body is lazy, and so are you, and even if it seemingly
doesn't make sense, you will, unless you are actually desperately starved
for human contact, experience a little of that oh god, is
it really worth it feeling every time you feel attraction stirring.
Unless you are of
a certain breed that absolutely cannot be deterred from falling in love
no matter how many times the rest of your family tries to protect their
inheritance, the more times you've gone through the attraction process,
the more your body will protest the next time it sees the process starting
again. This is why it gets harder to fall in love as you get older.
When you are young and enthusiastic and haven't been put through
the ringer by love too many times, you will basically be attracted to
anything that moves, and a few things that don't. As you develop ringer
exerience though, your body will more and more vigorously moan 'oh christ,
not this again' and start saying disparaging things about the object
of your attraction. Attraction really does take a lot of out of a person,
it really does involve significant chemical disarrangement and adjustment,
and you might as well be prepared for your body to say some snipey things
about people you feel you might like.
This is a small
part of your agonizing suspicions. Take it in stride. Just expect
some 'oh yeah sure, right' comments from your body about the other person
when you move toward attraction. Bodies are sneakily clever and deceptive
in pursuing their agendas and they are not in the least above some malicious
gossip about someone you hope to become your favorite person, particularly
during the initial stages when the body feels it has a shot at dissuading
Most people really
really don't know this. They don't have a clue at unpacking their various
conflicting motivations when approaching a complex situation like a
relationship with another person, and they are inclined to think
that if they are spreading malicious rumors about someone they must
be true! Why else would they be saying this terrible stuff to themselves
about someone that only moments ago they felt quite positive about?
So relax.... Relax. Expect some backtalk from yourself about the other
person in the early stages. Suspicions, nit-picky criticisms, resistance,
fatigue, and a general feeling of probably-not-worth-itness.
Tip: If you are old, or even young, and have been through the
ringer and are now attempting to be attracted to people again, remember
to give your body some thorough rest and re-charge time before trying
to haul its tired little ass through the chemical fire-storm of Other
People and dating. Really. It's honestly fucking worth your while
to clear yourself as much as possible of the fatiguing chemicals from
that Horrible Other Person who put you through the ringer last time,
before attempting to put yourself through it again. Really - it is.
Of course, you have no clue how to do this and we're not going to
address the subject of Getting Rid of Those Fatiguing Ringer Chemicals
in this FAQ. So you will just have to wait around hopefully until
I get to that topic. In the meantime, don't worry. It's natural to
Okay, so there's
a little suspicion going on because your body's a whiner. And
furthermore, since we are dealing with a situation that may produce
rather intense chemical emotions and feelings, your prior experience
with those puppies is going to play into it as well. Most of us, or
many of us anyway, rapidly pile up harrowing experiences with our own
personal intensity of feeling when it comes to attraction and then,
once we have survived them, come to certain conclusions about them.
One of the conclusions is that those feelings were great and necessary
to the vital health and well-being we all crave, not to mention really
fun when it came to the sexual attraction and release part. On the other
hand, we also come to the conclusion that some of them were a real pain
in the ass, potentially dangerous, surprisingly and persistently painful,
and just generally a bad fucking idea. There is generally, over time,
a mixed bag of experiences. And the bad experiences will take the first
opportunity they can to snarl menacingly at any potential human bringer
of new intense chemical experiences. Snarl!!!!! they will say.
Snarl and growl....Grrrr....Bad! Go away! And so on.
Unless you are an
absolute fucking idiot (and some of you, of course, are) you will have
some of this wariness. It may or may not express itself as agonizing
suspicions but it will express itself with some sort of grumpiness.
Naturally you don't want to repeat any bad experiences, and naturally
your body will want to be on guard against them. Like a lovable Doberman
that attempts to attack your houseguests, embarrassing you with
its loyal love and misguided fierceness, your body's defense systems
will want to plunge their teeth into the neck of the unsuspecting person
you like who apparently likes you. And sometimes they will do just
that. Be prepared.
Figure you have
a doberman in the house and stock up on choke chains accordingly. Of
course you are going to want to say something charming to your new interest
while preparing dinner for her at your home like....'So, you're just
a cheating whore, right? You lie constantly, am I correct?' And so on.
Don't do it! Chain the fucking Doberman! Chain the doberman,
chain the doberman, chain the doberman. Just don't fucking do it. Forget
about it. About 80% of the population has an inner doberman and you
all just need to keep the damn things in the backyard and away from
your houseguests and treasured social relationships. Male or female,
the vast majority of you with Previous Experiences are going to experience
a terrific desire to say something really stupid and accusatory or explanatory
or what have you and quite frankly you are just fucking crazy if you
think it's a good idea.
There are certain
things you should keep to yourself as you build a close, loving, fulfilling
relationship with someone you like who apparently likes you back and
those things are Your Innermost Thoughts. Agonizing Suspicions
belong in the backyard on a very sturdy chain. Got it? Of course not.
Repeat this mantra to yourself religiously until you understand it -
My Agonizing Suspicions belong in the backyard on a very sturdy chain.
Not bringing those puppies inside into the relationship - hoh no! that
would be foolish and ill-advised. Not making that mistake - not me.
And so on.
Okay, so that's
a second small piece of your Agonizing Suspicions. And then some
of you just don't really care for feelings period and would rather not
experience them. So you're going to try to find any excuse to talk yourself
out of them, even if it means concocting Agonizing Suspicions. No one
can blame you if you don't like experiencing feelings. That's just a
personal preference. Avoid them if you'd like. Just don't drive yourself
crazy trying to concoct some reason why you should be allowed to avoid
them. Just avoid them because you want to. It's less wear and tear on
Okay, to summarize.
So the physiological component of attraction coupled with the inevitability
of Previous Experiences is going to make it likely that at least part
of you is going to want to try and dodge and weave its way out of getting
involved in something hideous like a relationship with someone you like
who apparently likes you back. This is just natural. Frequently this
natural desire to avoid intense human contact will express itself in
various forms of criticism of the Attractor you are trying to avoid.
It doesn't have a lot to do with them. It just has to do with your desire
to avoid something that could turn out to be a real drag at some point
down the line.
The desire to
avoid something that could turn out to be a real drag at some point
down the line is completely and 100% logical. The point here is
that Previous Experiences will really kick and snarl and growl and scream.
Really. They just do. The truth is you are almost entirely composed
of Previous Experiences and some of them weren't all that great. The
ones that weren't are going to affect you. If you somehow believe they
won't or they shouldn't, you are a few Bud Lights short of a six-pack.
The only thing that
will screw you up here is your unwillingness to let yourself be ambivalent
due to your Previous Experiences. Somehow or another you will get it
into your head that instead you need to be trusting and open to relationships
or some other such crap your Inner Relationship Counselor will try
to feed you and then you'll try not to be ambivalent but then you
really are and you'll have to make up Agonzing Suspicions about the
other person when all you really want to do is experience some natural
human wariness and distrust of the whole process. Got that? Of course
not, how could you? The sentence was too long, you dozed off before
the end of it. Just realize you are ambivalent and you have your doubts
and don't worry about it. The only way you can avoid doubts and ambivalence
is to be stupid and it's too late for that so don't even bother trying.
Okay, that was the
easy part. Notice how we didn't even approach finding out the truth
about the other person because it's completely irrelevant. Isn't that
a relief? Yes, it most certainly is. Thank god you didn't have to interact
with them and say delicately 'so - you're like a jerk, right? and I'm
a complete sucker to even begin to believe that you are telling me the
truth, right?' No, no, we steered you away from that potential disaster
- and we are here to tell you that we are geniuses to have done that.
But now the easy part's over. Because we are going to venture out into
dangerous shark-infested waters as we wrestle with the extremely frightening
monster of Component #2. Ooooh scary! And don't even think we
are exaggerating. Component #2 is where the bullet hits the bone and
the agony in agonizing suspicions gets its oomph! Stay tuned!