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Dearly Beloved, I Miss A Trash Man

In this week’s Dearly Beloved, the advice column from author Michael Arceneaux, our dear reader writes extensively about missing a man who, throughout their situationship, seemed to treat him like shit. Has the man changed any of his ways? Not in the least, but our reader can’t stop thinking about him all the same. Yes, we can see you rolling your eyes, but the point of this column is to help folks stop being masochistic and behaving like every sad R&B song themed around a no good man ever recorded.

If you want Michael’s advice, just email him at [email protected] with your question. Just be sure to include SPECIFICS, and don’t forget to start your letter with Dearly Beloved!

It’s a thing.

 

Dearly Beloved,

About two years ago I met this man online and though at first I thought he was a catfish, I gave him the benefit of the doubt until he ultimately proved he was who he said he was. Of course I was younger and dumber than I am now and I put my wall down and immediately allowed myself to fall for him.

I’m a bigger guy and meeting someone who isn’t a big guy and finds me attractive was something completely new for me. At the time I was very self-conscious about my body and I hated myself. So having someone who I consider to be physically beautiful telling me that “You are all I’ve ever wanted in a guy” was extremely new and exciting.

We lived in different states (still do) and though we were never “official” we both acknowledged that there was something there. So, after a year of getting to know each other on and off, I took the leap of faith and traveled to LA to meet him in person. I fell completely for him. We had sex the second day of me being there; maybe it was too soon but it felt right. However, we didn’t use protection. Again, I was younger, and dumb.

I believed him when he said he was clean. When I got back to Texas, I got tested and everything came back negative even though I felt different and saw symptoms of cold sores I’ve never had before on my lips. I asked him if he had anything and he assured me he was clean and had recently been tested. I had only been with three men before him and had been tested months before meeting him in person so I knew I was clean before I met him.

Long story short, we continued talking and two months later I went back to California and again we had unprotected sex. Later that night he told me he was falling for me.

I was happy of course, and receiving confirmation that he felt it too made me lower the rest of my guard and allowed myself to imagine a future with him. We talked about meeting each other’s families and so on. But when I got back to Texas the second time he started ghosting me. When I asked him what’s going on, especially because he knew how much communication meant to me, he replied “I just don’t feel the need to talk to you” so we broke things off then and there.

About two weeks after that I got tested again and this time I was positive for HPV and HSV1. I immediately messaged him and let him know the results. He ignored me and left me on read so I figured he knew about it the entire time. I hated him and myself for giving myself to him and for trusting him. But mostly for being so stupid.

I fell into a depression and the fact that I was also alone and completely single just broke me entirely. I contemplated suicide and was about to go through with it if it weren’t for a friend. But I did text him and tell him I was going to do it before my friend stopped me. So I lied to him. And said I had taken some pills. Part of me hoped he would see what he once saw (though now I’m sure he just saw a psychopath), but I said it because I didn’t want to lose it and in the process I lost myself.

It’s been two years since then and I never heard from him again. But I’m still feeling this recurrent love and attraction to him. I’ve dated since him and have had other sexual partners (yes, I let them all know my status before anything goes down), but nothing has actually stuck around without him popping back into my head and heart.

Luckily my self esteem has come back up and I’m able to love myself again but every time a guy I miraculously like leaves me I can’t help but feel like it’s because I’m tainted.

My question is if there is a way to permanently get him out? And what could I do to meet someone else? I’ve tried dating here in Dallas, but I don’t really relate to American culture that much (I’m Puerto Rican and my “ex” is Cuban and Creole) and though I try to give guys chances I keep comparing them to him and that’s when they don’t run the other way because of my status. I constantly question if I’m going to meet someone even though I’m actively on dating sites. But, I’m an introvert and feel extremely uncomfortable at clubs and bars especially because of my status.

Any advice would be appreciated.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Tainted

Dear Tainted,

Where do I begin, love? Well, for starters, I want to suggest that you not use the descriptor “clean” for people that do not have any sexually transmitted diseases. While I am aware of its colloquial usage and assume you mean no malice, the term nonetheless has a negative connotation that none of us should perpetuate. As someone now living with HPV and HSV1, I imagine you know we needn’t advance any stigmatization. Something to consider.

Having said that, I want to level with you.

You miss a man that does not care about you.

A man who deceived you, and by ghosting you, essentially betrayed you. I am sorry for his callousness towards you, but I want you to recognize that by continuing to pine for him and compare him to other men you have met since then, you are now an accessory to your own pain and suffering.

From what it sounds like, it’s not so much that you miss him, but instead the sentiments you have attached to your association with him.

As a native Houstonian, I usually don’t try to miss an opportunity to trash Dallas, but it is not my fellow Texans fucking it up — it’s your peculiar attachment to some trash ass man. Perhaps the predominant culture there is not an immediate fit for you, but it’s Dallas. The city is diverse. This is an excuse. Again, you are stuck on a fool.

I understand weight struggles and issues with body image, so it sounds as if you were one, happy that someone like him found you attractive, and two, cherishing those moments in which you allowed yourself to embrace the idea of you having a relationship with someone.

It doesn’t seem as though you have truly allowed yourself to see that scenario with another man because you have attached all these false feelings to him. You can still have that dream, but try it on a man who deserves it.

That is, until you have done the internal work necessary to even be ready for a relationship.

The man who is the problem is not the dude you’re writing about; it’s you.

You say that your self-esteem has returned, but if you think your lack of meeting someone else is rooted in you being “tainted,” you are lying to yourself. Don’t rush an evolution that isn’t there; you are only delaying the real healing.

I would suggest you find someone professional to speak with about some of your issues. Please consider some form of therapy. You should also start doing some of that internal work now. Ask yourself why you miss a man who mistreated you and why you think his misdeeds make you the mistake? You are not tainted.

You are the same beautiful spirit you always were. Your diagnosis isn’t stopping you from finding love. Your lack of self-love is. You’re not going to find what you want until you love yourself first and foremost. You should get to work on that.

The sooner the better.

Signed,

Beloved!


Michael Arceneaux

Michael Arceneaux writes the “Dearly Beloved” advice column at INTO. He is the New York Times bestselling author of the newly released I Can't Date Jesus from 37 Ink/Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.