Yoooooooooo you know what's a toxic attitude about women? That they don't know their own minds, can't say what they want when asked, and couldn't possible be sexual without being exploited.
Look, dude, the answer to your first question is yes. Yes you are abusing feminist ideology. I applaud you for what appears to be very hard work to overcome what you know is problematic thinking about women - your comment about your past bitterness is a red flag to me. But you're falling into a different but similar trap - unless you are actually going to act like a predator, women don't need protection from you, just like they don't owe you anything. I encourage you to really try to start thinking about women as whole people, not victims or any other kind of cookie-cutter image. And stop worrying SO much about other people's feelings. You are sympathising yourself to death.
A little story: a very socially awkward (but lovely) friend of mine one day decided that he wanted to have more sex. It was in the context of being in a secondary relationship with a poly girl, which I think emboldened him. So he started approaching (carefully, respectfully) certain women he thought might also be interested in having casual sex. I got a nice email from him one day that laid it out. And we then had a nice date to talk about it, and then a little while later had sex. And it was fine! We didn't pursue it for lots of reasons, but it was totally fine. And it was presupposed on my own agency, my ability as a person to make decisions for myself.
So, maybe do that.
Also, online dating.
LW, you sound like your expectations of yourself are monumental, and you view your failures as catastrophic. Really, my love, you are just regular, like the rest of us, fucking our shit up.
LW, my life got so much better when I stopped worrying about being different or special in either good or bad ways, and started working on just being who I am, doing whatever I'm doing in ways that make sense for me. I'll never be a child prodigy or a prima ballerina or even a super duper high-powered version of my current profession. My depressive episodes just are what they are, they are not a marker of my unique brokenness.
And it's wonderful here. It's totally fine to just be a regular person. In fact, it's a miracle. Life is full of miracles, every day. I have learned to take delight in my dumpy little garden and my small professional successes and the people whom I love. Maybe none of it is impressive or great or perfect, but it's what I've got.
LW, you are missing the boat by worrying about missing the boat. It's ok, you're on the boat, carry on.
Also, consider getting a pet - a cat or a dog. Maybe for you a dog, if you struggle with feeling unloved. Pets are great for making you think about things other than your own failures.
@themegnapkin praaaactice. Haha.
But actually, yeah, just practice. Not that I'm super good at it, or anything, but from my super limited wisdom, just practice. It's like loving someone well, or playing the violin. It feels fucking impossible at first, but you just keep chipping away it, and eventually it makes a bit of sense.
In little ways, just noticing how you're feeling and what you're thinking helps so much in detachment. Notice, keep noticing, be curious, watch the feelings, watch them shift and change. Eventually they seem a bit less powerful. But keep working on engaging, at the same time. Working on really really noticing the person you are with at any one moment is a good exercise.
@antarctica starts here I don't have genital herpes and I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure "burning when you pee" is not a defining symptom. Does he have even HAVE an outbreak? Has he been to the doc?
So, unless we're missing something, it sounds like this dickbag may be punishing her for something her didn't do. NATCH.
@paddlepickle I'm so sorry.
You will live with this grief your whole life, but after a while it won't overwhelm you all the time. You will laugh, and work, and think about other things.
When I had my first big loss at 15 (a sort-of boyfriend, a dear friend, who also committed suicide) my mom told me: people are Buddhist rock gardens. Throughout life, we get rocks in our gardens. Some are big boulders. They never go away, but we learn to rake the sand around then.
This boulder isn't going anywhere. But it's ok to rake the sand around it. And really beautifully, if you choose.
@pointreyes I may be echoing what others have said, but if you do decide to stay pregnant, I very much recommend seeking some legal advice, specifically around custody, access, and child support. Pay for that advice if at all possible. There are likely free legal resources in your area, and seeking them out may be a good option. But you know what they say - you get what you pay for.
In my jurisdiction, child support and custody are only inter-linked insofar as child support is payable on the basis of residential custody. You would be entitled to child support, and you should get it.
I want to send you all the emotional support and love I can. But I also really want you to protect yourself if necessary.
@Kristin Kallaher@facebook My advice is to get your blood pressure checked before you go!
Hot yoga is great, unless you have weird low blood pressure (or I guess other health issues) and then it's awful and all the "lie down as much as you want and stick with it" advice in the world will not help you.
Polly is spot on.
But LW I want to give you a big hug and be a big gentler than Polly, because what I saw in your letter is someone who believed herself to be unlovable before this vampire. I've been that person, and it makes you so vulnerable. It's totally understandable that, when you believed a false fantasy like being unlovable, that someone like this guy could have a lot of power over you.
It's ok. It's ok it's ok it's ok. You did not do right by yourself but I think you did the best you could. Feeling loved is wonderful and very very powerful. LW I used to believe I was unlovable but through hard work I've proved myself wrong, and I would bet all my measly dollars the same is true for you. You have to start with yourself, like Polly says. It's not easy, but it's the only thing to do. But forgive yourself. Please. Forgive yourself. That person who made a bunch of mistakes is worthy of love too.
Polly you are so wise!
LW, what do you actually want? It seems like you think there is some action that would result in catharsis, which I might guess could involve contacting John. Don't do that, nothing will come of it.
You want the past to be different, but it won't ever be different. You can only forgive, as Polly suggests. You could contact John in a million different ways and never get the catharsis that you want, because he just can't give it to you. Would an apology be enough? Probably not, right? An abject one? A list of the things YOU did wrong, too? Anger? Sadness?
Talking to John will only make you feel sick, and drawn back into the place you don't want to be. He hurt you, and the only choice you have is to forgive him, or to drown in the past forever.
LW, I recommend going to a 10 day silent vipassana retreat. It will be so brutally hard, but it will change you, and you sound like you need to be changed.