Publicly exposing yourself the way I have — the unvarnished truth way, that is, as opposed to the Chat Roulette way — also exposes a gal to certain risks. When my blog posts get picked up by AOL, for instance, six or seven hundred strangers leave angry comments accusing me of being an immoral, selfish slut. And calling me “selfish” really wounds me.
I just remind myself that these are the same women who cheered for the adulteress Carrie Bradshaw to get back together with the adulterous Big, and that they’re probably not mad at me in the first place. They’re mad at the husband who betrayed them/ mother who abandoned them/ father who broke their heart. I try not to take it personally.
Most of all, I remind myself that they’re not who I’m cracking my chest open for in the first place. I’m doing it for people like Miss J of… let’s just say a popular Midwestern state, from whom I received the kind of letter that makes the ALL-CAPS SCREEDS on HuffPo worthwhile.
J. says: I felt compelled to write to tell you I just finished reading LOVE ADDICT from cover to cover for the third time. It was — I guess you could say a relief to learn that there is a name and explanation for what has been my so-called “lovelife.”
I am single again at 50. I have had four marriages plus countless engagements and exes in my past. Although I’m not an athlete or rock star, my number of sex partners are closer to the four-digit number than the three digit. I would never say I was a real beauty — I was just good looking (and sexy) enough to catch almost any eye I wanted, and catch I did. I was a master at flirting and the high I got from it would match the best high from any drug around. My friends compared me to Blanche on The Golden Girls and, more recently, Samantha on Sex and the City. I never apologized for it.
That was me. I could tell you about the “love of my life” — he had a wife and three children. Or the gorgeous lifeguard on St. Thomas, almost 30 years younger than me. At least I sent that one away! I have slowed down, a little, but it’s still there. That never-ending quest for the feeling of infatuation, whether short-lived or not…. there was no name for it - until now.
I am going to Alaska this summer. Am I going to stare at Mt. McKinley? Not so much. I’m more excited at the prospects of saucy Alaskan men to flirt with, you betcha. I know that might sound desperate, but I shouldn’t be desperate. I have a job, many friends, a close family, and a beautiful daughter… even a grandson that my heart bursts with love for. Yet the addiction for that feeling of infatuation, or as you say “limerence,” still consumes me.
Thank you again for a very enlightening, funny, and well written book. Best to you - J.
Okay, maybe it isn’t as wholesome as the math teacher who does it for the excitement a kid feels when he finally understands long division. Or as graceful as the ballet teacher who stumbles under the weight of two-dozen long-stemmed thank-you roses. But when someone puts down my book and announces “My name is J. and, damn it, I’m a Love Addict…” well, my eyes just well up with tears.
What can I tell you? I’m an immoral, sentimental slut.