PQ 21.6 — Do I have problems that make it difficult for my partners to be with me? How do I seek to mitigate those?

an ornament of a dumpster on fire, like one would hang to decorate a tree
Image by Bill Ward / CC BY

PQ 21.6 — Do I have problems that make it difficult for my partners to be with me? How do I seek to mitigate those?

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“I think I’m becoming undateable,” I say to my friends.

They argue with me. Tell me that’s not true. They point to my existing two partners as evidence that contradicts this assertion.

I tell them that I agree that my two partners are wonderful. And yes, people who both have really good judgement.

“I’m talking about if anything ever happened to them,” I say. “You know, if they got tired of me. Which could happen. Or they died. Which is terrible to think about but also happens. I’m starting to think I wouldn’t be able to find anybody.”

Women Who Are Emotionally Secure Are Sometimes Read as Emotionally Unavailable

The trouble, I tell them, is that I’ve become too emotionally secure as of late. Something I didn’t even know was possible. I was about as insecure as they come once upon a time. And I always thought that all of my problems stemmed from that — and maybe some of them did — but that I’m having new problems now, as a result of becoming emotionally secure.

I’m noticing that women who are emotionally secure are sometimes read as emotionally unavailable. That the calm I’ve worked for decades to cultivate, a kind of even-keeled zen that keeps me focused not on my fears and my vanities but on things outside of me that are important to me, well… it’s read as apathy.

“Page, you know I love you,” my friend says, “but don’t you dare let any of the vain dumpster fires you’ve dated make you lose hope.”

Followed by scads of even more cutting observations that are, frankly, hilarious.

And as they continue to bandy jokes/not-jokes back and forth, it occurs to me that I’m incredibly lucky. That in essence I’m in a romantic friendship triad and I wasn’t even aware.

My word, there are days when my own amatonormativity never ceases to amaze me.

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amatonormativity: (noun) the assumption that a central, exclusive, amorous relationship is normal for humans, in that it is a universally shared goal, and that such a relationship is normative, in the sense that it should be aimed at in preference to other relationship types (for example, platonic friendships)
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This post is part of a series in which I answer each of the chapter-end questions in More than Two with an essay. For the entire list of questions and answers, please see this indexed list.

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