Thank you for your thoughtful reply, jbodean,
Mind if I ask you something - when you first entered into that relationship that you described as toxic, how was it? While you 'ignored' some warning signs, I imagine you had a wonderful time? Did you fall in love? How long did the amazing time feeling completely connected to another human being last?
What is that like? Really, seriously. What is that like?
I have never connected completely with another human being, ever. Even dysfunctionally, or even in a toxic relationship, or even ever.
This is what this whole pain in the ass is for me. Everyone has advice to give me, but seems to ignore that I can't even MEET that person to begin with!
I have no fucking clue what the experience is like. None.
And as a result, a huge huge part of me lies dormant, comatose, unrealized, unactualized, and dying. I'm a 41 year old man who has no clue what it is like to 'fall in love', or to be in a relationship.
I've never had a spontaneous 'first kiss' with someone I really liked.
I've never been on a vacation with a boyfriend/lover.
I've never traveled with a boyfriend/lover.
I've never spent a holiday with a lover.
I've never even fucking held hands with someone! I've never experienced the excitement and vulnerability that must come with that first touch.
Can you understand my point?
So while I acknowledge you say your relationship was toxic, and you ignored warning signs, I need you and others to acknowledge that I have never had some very basic experiences that the rest of you appear to be taking for granted.
This brings me so much pain and so much grief and so much loss. I am coming to recognize how much of MYSELF I lose because I've never had this experience. It hurts so god damn much. I'm terrified that I will never know what it is to be fully human, and that I'll always be a loner, and the most significant relationship I'll ever have on this planet is with a fucking dog. This is pathetic.
People keep saying "I just haven't met the right person" - I live in fucking San Francisco, the gay mecca of the universe. Everyone else has "met someone", and has had relationships, but no ... not me. And I know I'm the common denominator in all this.
So I have to start making assumptions about ME. Because *I* am the common denominator in all this failure. There is something unlovable about me, because I swear I've met thousands of guys here, and nothing has worked out. NOTHING. And I am literally the only person *I* know that has never had a boyfriend. I am literally the ONLY ONE I KNOW (and I know thousands).
Oh, right. Just continue working my program of recovery and keep on taking care of myself (like I've been doing all my fucking life). There is no pleasure in taking care of myself all the time. It just makes for a lonely and miserable existence.
It's a heroes journey, and you are the hero.