According to Hollywood, which is always right in these matters, the only thing a woman needs to get her confidence back (sexual or otherwise) is to have a fling with a 20-something male. I haven’t done an exhaustive study, but I have a feeling that at least some of those scripts were written by 20-something males (and perhaps wishful thinking 40-something females). But here’s my question: if you’ve been emotionally traumatized by the end of a long-term relationship either because your partner has cheated or simply decided that it wasn’t working anymore, how the hell do you get enough confidence to approach any person again, let alone some 26 year old lothario?
I know what at least one of you is thinking: alcohol can play an important role in this healing process. But let’s face it; that’s not really confidence (or healing) talking as much as the inability to come to a cogent decision because you are so impaired you can no longer walk. All decisions made just prior to passing out in shrubbery should be treated as suspect at best. So barring alcohol or other chemically-fueled choices, what motivates you to make the approach?
Based on my own experiences, I’d have to say that starting over again after a long-term relationship (marriage or otherwise) is particularly tricky. Over time you have showed the best and worst of yourself to another person. You’ve said, “This is me, love me!” and they’ve said something along the lines of “Eh, I’m going through a selfish phase which involves red heads.” Knowing that you allowed yourself the vulnerability of really letting someone see you, only to watch them walk away, why do you try again?
Obviously, people do it all the time. Somehow people convince themselves that with a different person, all their tricky bits will coalesce into something better than they had previously. And maybe they are right. Maybe the partner they were with was actually the problem and that with another person, and greater awareness, life really will be better. Logically, I know this happens. Emotionally, there’s part of me that wonders what was wrong with me. I’m the common denominator in relationships that have gone off the rails, so why should I believe that the next one will magically work?
I understand that sex is a powerful motivator for some. But after years of being single, I’m not sure I could generate a “come hither” look if my life depended on it. People who know me—try to picture me being sexy. Frightening, isn’t it? You can’t do it, can you? The problem is, neither can I. “It’s just like riding a bike,” you say. It’s really not—particularly not in a city like Los Angeles where sex seems to be treated like a competitive sport.
Maybe the reason I’m having such a difficult time getting my groove back is that I never had it in the first place? Maybe all I ever really had was a gentle sway, and now after all of this time I’m just frozen in place. Not moving forward. Not moving back. Just immobile with wariness wrapped in fear.