…and the short and long term effects of getting high.
You know me, I am not here to talk about micro-dosing of illicit substances, I’m here to talk about micro-dosing on love or rather, in this case, the attention and the affection of someone you love. I have finally realised after all this time that this is what I have been doing and allowing. Our dear old friend, Noir et Blanc regular, Mr Franks and I have been the guinea pigs and after nearly 12 months of testing, these are the results.
For those who have not caught up the history of ‘Frank’ and I (this alias really isn’t much of a cover), there’s honestly too much to dive into. Just know we are two people who care deeply about each other, who keep finding our way back to each other no matter how much time goes by and yet… we are not together. I was adamant at the beginning of the year, that I was closing this door. The idea of him and I together just seemed to have reached a whole new level of “never going to happen” when a photo of him and his new girlfriend appeared in my Instagram DMs. Frank and I have genuinely had obstacles to face along the way – distance, timing – something has always been just a little bit off. This time, him moving on with a new woman wasn’t an obstacle we faced, it was a choice that he made and THAT rocked me. So, deservedly, I put the lid on it. Or so I say I did, like I always do, over and over and over again. But as we’ve come to know, Frank likes taking the lid off, right before it’s sealed and shoved in the freezer, he sneaks in to see if all is still good. Seeing as my most popular posts are about him, you won’t mind me diving into our latest instalment, will you?
The action or practice of taking or administering very small amounts of a drug (my affection and attention) in order to test or benefit from its physiological action (his peace of mind) while minimizing undesirable side effects (a relationship.)
A week ago he reached out to me again, the first time we had spoken since November. Just like a junkie who hadn’t had a fix in four months, I predictably told myself “one hit can’t hurt.” I curled up with my favourite blanket, put myself in a comfortable and safe place for the comedown, tapped that vein and replied to his message, ready for the short-lived high I knew I was about to experience. This is one of the dangerous short term effects of micro-dosing. The rush of energy you feel and the instant release of dopamine in your brain the second you see that person’s name flash across your phone means all rational thought and logic I have reasoned with myself over the last year about this very man, goes out the window. I never reach out to him. I never spend my time texting him, checking in on him because I know that it is him who needs to make moves for us. I’ve done what I can, what he allows. So it is apparent, that he is micro-dosing on me too. He finds me when he needs to get high and we feed each other. I know what you’re about to say! “Let me guess, he was drunk at 4am again, telling you that you’re the one.” No. He wasn’t wasted and it wasn’t late at night but what was the most surprising difference this time around and not *Yawn, heard all this before* was his sincere vulnerability. The admission of guilt he felt for how horribly he had and continued to handle this situation. The admission he knew he needed to do and be better and he was trying to work out how to do that for me. The admission that he had been speaking to his best mate that night about me. Risky, given he’s currently dating somebody else who clearly has no idea about any of this. The admission that he was scared. Scared that I could be the one to hurt him. That in itself spoke volumes about how strong his feelings for me are. The admission that the commitment of being with the woman he already knows he wants to end up with is a commitment he just isn’t ready for because he wants to do it right. Build the foundation properly, he doesn’t want to fuck it up. And when he told me that speaking to me makes him feel better, feel ‘high’ so to speak, that on those nights when he finds me again, he’s happy, meant that when I read the lonely sounding words I’ve missed you, it hit differently than it had before, because he seemed quite… sad?
I want to believe him and I suppose yes, I do, to a degree. He lies to himself, to his girlfriend, to his friends so I guess there wouldn’t be anything stopping him from lying to me too, but I think he knows better. Knows that I can tell when he’s full of shit and he is not willing to jeopardise our future more than he already is by lying to me. That’s the problem with only getting micro-doses though – I don’t get far enough in to know if he is giving me full transparency. I don’t get to know all of the details. I don’t get to know what else is happening in his life that is causing this angst and stress, that is so obvious by the sheer relief he feels after running back to me, begging that I soothe his mind with the confirmation I am still here for him. There are issues he is struggling with outside of the bubble only he and I share, which is how I know he’s having a really hard time with how to delicately handle this situation. Not only is there still another woman involved (more on this in a bit) but I get the feeling he doesn’t want to put that weight on me. That he doesn’t want to appear weak. Perhaps this is why a controlled micro-dose is all I ever seem to get from Frank. He can handle that much, knowing he can’t spiral. He can stop himself from getting in too deep but still receive the affection and attention he craves from me to know ‘she’s still mine.’ This is obvious in how hard it is for him to open up and communicate effectively about what is going on in his head and in his heart. It worries me no end and it’s such a shame seeing him agonise from the same wounds every single time he pops in for a dose of me like he’s taking pain killers. Every time he reaches out to say something along the lines of “I know I’ve disappointed you because nothing has changed, but please know my feelings haven’t either. I need you to make me feel better about this.” I know how important I am to him but there are things going on that I can’t fix because I don’t know what they are. And so while I am getting high on the fact that for the first time in four months, he’s here reassuring me it’s always been me, that how he feels hasn’t changed and we are still on the same page, I am aware that once the sun comes up, things will go cold once again and he and I will suffer two very different hangovers. I make a cup of coffee and replay what was said over and over again until I go mad and he goes back to the grind. The grind of fighting how he feels for me, playing the dutiful boyfriend to someone else and battling whatever demons he is carrying right now that he refuses to introduce me to. This leads to what I struggle with the most – the lack of follow up. The lack of action. It’s so weak that you would be justified in saying “well his words don’t mean shit then if he won’t show you he meant it.” And you’re right. But this is why its called micro-dosing. You get those emotions and that euphoria for a few hours without the side effects of something heavier. Something he is not in a position to deal with right now. I am in no way oblivious to the truth and the truth is, he checks in every so often to ensure I’m still there for him. So if he’s ever ready, in his own time, on his terms (because Frank is clearly the one driving this train) he can jump in knowing that there is the certainty of a safety net – me.
Sometimes I forget he’s 26, not in his 30s like perhaps I am used to dating. And without sounding like I am making excuses for him, no 26-year-old male is ready to be slapped in the face with the realisation the girl they’ve always wanted is someone they met a year ago and is not the girl they are currently with (despite very publicly declaring their relationship two months ago – Whoops-a-daisy.) What really makes me angry though, is that I never asked for a big commitment. I never asked for him to settle down. It doesn’t have to make it this big thing. I know his feelings for me are overwhelming but he has created a fear in his head that isn’t real. A hallucination he’s having when getting high that he needs to be ready to settle down and have 2.5 kids and a picket fence with me, or not be with me at all. All I asked, was that we could sit in a bar and drink. Baby steps. He would make me a priority, let his walls down for a minute and share the fears he has about us and whatever else he is struggling with, so he no longer has to carry that on his own and we could at least move forward, even if it was slowly. Yet despite his feelings for me, he is still consistently going back to and choosing someone else. He doesn’t see it as ‘choosing her’ but that’s what it is. Whether that’s because it’s easier for him right now or because he knows it has an expiry date, I don’t know. Fuck, he could promise her all the things he promised me for all I know, but It won’t kill him if it ends. Not the way it’d kill him if that were me. Still, the fact of the matter is, anything he says, anything he promises is immediately turned to shit with every day that goes past and he is not calling to say “I have to see you now.” In fact, he told me “I’ll be in the city next weekend.” Well, do you think I got a phone call when the weekend arrived? NUP. I cannot wrap my head around how you can contradict “I am not ready for that commitment with you” by turning around and being in a relationship with someone else. If he was single, then that is valid and fair and I would absolutely understand. I’ve dealt with commitment issues. I get it! But telling me you’re not ready for such a big commitment (especially when I didn’t even ask for a big commitment), that you don’t want to fuck this up and you don’t want to let me down, only to be with someone else anyway? Are you joking mate?
Anyway, back to the actual topic of this blog, it is easy to become aware of these short term effects of micro-dosing. I’m not stupid, I know this has been going on for ages. I know that whenever he misses me, he reaches out, I respond and we both are pathetic enough to give in to getting the fix we need. What’s even more dangerous than the happy hormones your brain has associated with seeing that particular person’s name, is the silent long term effects occurring the longer you allow this to go on. And I can say as someone who known how I feel about this man for twelve months and spent the last six of them settling for the micro-doses of attention we give each other, no matter how many times we’ve both said “I’m done” – I am fucked.
I am in no way justifying our behaviour. I’m aware it’s borderline toxic. Not in a way that will destroy us individually but just in a way that means we are incapable of building healthy, functioning relationships with other people until this is resolved. Our love lives hang in limbo until then I suppose. I hate him a little bit for the effect he has on me but to hate him would mean I have to hate me too as I engage every time. It’s sad to me that every few months, I hear from Frank and we have our little micro-dose fix of each other, the happiness I feel in those few hours erases the months of being sober and trying to move on. I know I need a detox, to get him out of my system and move on with someone who wants more from me than just to catch a buzz when they are low. But whenever I think I can, whenever I think I can be with someone new, I think about the look on his face the second he realises I have moved on and I know – as though he has some sort of radar – he’ll call his dealer. Me. My phone will flash with his name and by heart, I know his order – 1 x red pill of Affection. 1 x blue pill of Attention. 1 x white pill of Assurance, repeat until sedated.