The compulsion to repeat

by Alexandru Ciobanu

All this has happened before, and all of it will happen again.

There is something particularly troubling that occurs when I meet someone that excites me. I go overboard. I’m not sure there is any better way to describe it. It so happens that every couple of months I encounter a guy whom I deem so enticing, so incredible, of such great intelligence that I find myself head over heels after one date. Some would call it love at first sight. If only it were that bullshit. In fact, while aware of my own subjectivity in assessing one’s attributes and regarding them as alluring and of the reality that I only construct those attributes as such because of some deep-seated issues, I am also conscious of another little tidbit: they are not that great. They are not so great as to justify my behavior. And that strikes me as completely absurd. Yet I do this repeatedly.

I am often tortured by an incessant anxiety when I am not in their presence, and I find that the anxiety is at its most intense when they cancel our plans or don’t want to hang out a particular time. Basically, whenever it becomes apparent to me that they don’t want to hang out at any and all times, which probably means they’re simply well-adjusted, something that made me fall for them in the first place. Either that or they’re emotionally unavailable but, spoiler alert, I may have a thing for that too. Yet oftentimes, even if I think I did something wrong, it doesn’t translate to self-doubt. What it becomes is a frustration that boils down to this: “I am rather amazing and pretty good looking, so please hang out with me at any and all times so that you will see that and you will stay. Please stay.”

This pattern that I feel compelled to repeat exposes something that truly saddens me. However strongly I feel about these guys I meet, they are never as important as what they symbolize, which is a sense of grounding. For the past few years I’ve been in a state of aimlessness, and I can’t seem to escape it. As a matter of fact, I romanticize it, glorify its meaning to myself and to others. Most of what I write is a romanticization of my lack of direction and purpose, the emptiness of it. And it is not something I am yet ready to put a stop to. Glorifying my lack of purpose gives me, ironically, a sense of meaning. Thus, the only part of my life that I can allow myself to be grounded by, something I desperately crave, is represented by my romantic entanglements. But, I go overboard. I push it too much. I become anxious, worried that it may take them too long to fall for me. If they do, I have a feeling that after a few months, a year, I would quite possibly grow bored or tired of them, because, remember, they weren’t that great to justify my initial behavior in the first place. Wash, rinse, repeat.