I Call It Dating. You Call It Stalking.

How to lose friends and negatively influence people: My life for the last two years

In 1998, I met Amy.
In 2001, we got married.
In 2009, I had an affair.
In 2010, we got divorced.

I never thought I would be the type of person who would have an affair. I’ve since learned that there is no *type* of person who has an affair. It can happen easier than you think. There will always be temptation, there will always be opportunity, there will always be moments of unhappiness, and sometimes those ingredients mix together to make a big old bowl of Failing At Marriage Soup. And that’s what it is – there is no way to sugarcoat it: If you have an affair, you just failed at marriage. Even if you pick up the pieces and Humpty Dumpty the shit out of them, you still got a big fat “F”, and you will be taking make-up classes and doing extra credit for most, if not all, of the rest of your marriage. More power to you, though, because I just took the easy route and quit. I ran away. I took my “F” and dropped out.

For the first time since I was 21 years old, I was single. My life was in shambles, my heart crushed into pieces. I spent my nights curled up under my desk, sobbing until I couldn’t breathe. I had my first panic attack, then a series of them. I finally grasped what it meant to feel empty inside, and I had no idea what to do to fill that void. I felt unwanted and unloved and rudderless.

No book or self-help guide can help you in this situation. Some people take their guilt and wear it around their necks like a yoke, allowing it to color their interactions with every person they meet. Others might withdraw from society and some will cling to their next relationship like a life preserver. I turned to casual sex with as many people as I could, limiting myself with a few basic rules.

Rule 1: Don’t lie or obfuscate the truth in any way. Be completely honest about your desires, motivations, and needs.

My divorce taught me that I never wanted to engage another person in any situation without honest and open communication. I would never again be someone who cheated or lied or sneaked around. I know that I’m naturally charismatic, and because I know how to listen to and talk to people, it’s very easy for me to convince someone to do what I want them to do.  A policy of complete transparency and honesty allows me to be responsible for my actions and words, and only my actions and words.

Rule 2: Don’t get attached. Nobody sleeps over, and as soon as someone gets attached, it’s time to end it.

My first sexual encounter after I moved out was with someone who was also in the process of a divorce. She had shown interest before, and I had no doubt that our first night out would end well. We agreed that our time together was purely casual and so we met several times, but the night that she laid her head on my shoulder and said “So you’re sure that you wouldn’t want to date?”, it was over.

Rule 3: The farther away they live or otherwise occupied they are, the better.

I focused my effort on women who lived far away or had children or busy work schedules. If our time together could be limited to an evening out once or twice a week, I was interested. If they lived in another state, even better. If they were married, so what? I was single, and it wasn’t my right to enforce a moral code on them. If a woman wanted to violate her wedding vows and fuck me, why would I say no to that? I was done assuming that I knew better than someone else and insulting them by doing so.  My interactions were with adults who can make their own decisions, and did.

That version of me isn’t someone I’m proud of. He was not an exemplary person. He was human and flawed and broken and vulnerable and needy. This Adam engaged in behaviors that made it difficult for some of his friends to be his friends. This was a person who was selfish because he had to be selfish for the first time in his life, and yet I embrace and accept him fully, because I had to be him to get to the place where I am today.

For almost two years, I was physically unable to handle the mere concept of a relationship that required any degree of commitment.  If I even considered relying on one person to be there for me, fulfill my needs, and support me, an elephant would sit on my chest and my vision would go dark. I noticed and mentally recorded every flaw of every person I was with, reminding myself of those flaws over and over again. I felt no guilt about having sex with four different women over the course of two weeks and continuing to see two of them intermittently. I made explicit, detailed plans for every trip I took to have sex with different women who lived in or were traveling to my destination. As far as I could see, it was the only path.

Over the last few weeks, I started dating someone casually. She made it clear that she wasn’t interested in non-exclusive dating, which would normally be a sign for me to end things and move on. But this time, I didn’t. I pictured dating her exclusively, seeing her regularly, if not daily, relying on her to be there for me, and there was no anxiety attack. There was no feeling of panic. No urge to go out and pick someone up at a bar to fuck. I traveled to San Diego for a week, surrounded by three thousand beautiful women, and had no desire to have sex with any of them.  It was like a switch had turned off.

The last two years have been terrible. I betrayed my morals. I lost my wife, my best friend, my dog, my house, my life, my security, my comfort, and I lost my identity. I hurt others in my pursuit to heal myself. I’ve been told by friends that I’m an asshole, a horrible person, that I’m manipulative, selfish, bad, immoral, unlikeable, unsafe, dangerous, pathetic, sad, and too hard to be friends with. I’ve also had friends who stayed by me, who bit their tongues and hoped that this wouldn’t last. They knew that the Adam they loved was there trying to figure things out. That he was emotionally crippled and damaged, but he would heal.

And with a simple decision to enter into a relationship with someone, I’ve felt my priorities shift and I know, from the deepest part of me, that finally, thankfully, I’m back.

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87 Replies to “How to lose friends and negatively influence people: My life for the last two years”

  1. Kristabella

    I’m glad you have found someone. Because you do deserve someone great.

    And I had a friend who went through this EXACT thing you did when she got divorced. She had been with the guy since she was 16 and she was allowed to be single and be an adult.

    It happens. We make shitty decisions. It’s life. I’m glad you realized it and didn’t go down a destructive path. I was worried about you.

    Glad you’re back, pal!

  2. ADW

    I am proud to be your friend. Whatever Adam you are at the time, I will always be by your side. I love you. Truly and sincerely.

    By the way? Dolphin blow jobs and smurf butt plugs I can take, but this honesty? Destroys me. It takes more courage than most people will ever know to write what you just did.

  3. Ally

    Well done Adam. I’m so proud of you for taking this step and for sharing this. Hard to admit sometimes when you’ve been like that. YAY FCP!

    PS- you have to come to NYC to get the meaning of that.

  4. hello haha narf

    i’m thankful that through all of those growing pains you were honest (and used protection!). entirely too many people are much less than honest and so much unnecessary pain usually results.

    i wish the best for you. always have. always will.

  5. Robin

    I’m so proud of you. I never thought you were an asshole I just thought you were going through a rough time, a transition. We all are allowed to not know who we are and be confused from time to time. I believe as long as you come out the other end with more awareness or knowing yourself better it’s all good.

  6. Leslie

    Rock the hell on. I am going through my time of figuring things out. Hasn’t been easy, but I have faith it will work out for the best in the end. Good for you, and much happiness!

  7. Crys

    My dear friend, this entire post made me smile.

    I am truly happy for you.

    We all make mistakes. The worst ones are those that hurt the ones we love. But life really is about what lessons we pick up along the way, and the sad fact as is that too many people never learn from their actions and integrate those lessons back into their lives. They live instead in denial and continue acting out.

    These kinds of things make us better people, which some can find hard to believe. Yet they truly do.

    I am, and have always been, proud of you.

  8. Meg

    I’ve been wondering about you for some time now. Reading between the lines of your writings; trying to guess what’s really been going on in your life. Thank you for sharing all this. Not an easy feat. Keep up the good work, Adam.

  9. Maria

    YOU are fucking amazing, a truly brave soul!

    May true happiness be in your life forever. Never change Adam for anyone because by being true to yourself, no matter what you were going through, YOU came out a winner, I am so very proud of you 🙂

  10. amanda

    Oddly enough, I had stumbled upon your blog around the time of your demise.

    Your honesty and humor really drew me in. I certainly don’t know you know you, but I do think even if you weren’t a great version of yourself, you were still true to yourself and that is admirable. Even if it meant you were an ass hole.

    I’m glad you are finding the balance again and are currently living in a way that makes you proud of yourself.

    Keep being you.

  11. Coal Miner's Granddaughter

    Sometimes we suck and royally fuck up. Other times, we get it, it’s all perfect and everything rolls along swimmingly. You know what that’s called, fucker? Life. Congrats on living it and coming out of that nasty-ass valley you’ve been stuck at the bottom of. Enjoy the sun, m’dear! XOXOXOXO

  12. B.E. Earl

    Glad you’ve found some peace, brother. I’ve been quietly worried about you, but I haven’t wanted to pry.

    Maybe you should write one of your Dead Celebrity Interviews for Asshole Adam and bury the fucker once and for all.

  13. muskrat

    This sounds a lot like our 10 hours in the car to Kentucky and back. Were you recording yourself? In any event, I’m glad to see this change. I’m your friend regardless, but I didn’t like seeing some of the things you weren’t happy about the past several months, either. Also, you need to wear more glitter.

  14. ygraine

    Wow. Your honesty is so refreshing, and I appreciate this post so much. (Just for some background: about 4 years ago, I used to read about 100 blogs…yours was one of them.  Now, since my life is exponentially busier, I only read two.  I check them daily…and yours is still one of them). I hate to admit to being a lurker, but this post was mind-blowing enough to make me break my silence.  Thank you for this…and best of luck to you…

  15. Red Lotus Mama

    I am so incredibly proud of you for putting this post up. I know how hard it was for you to do. Your honesty and ownership of everything that you did is HUGE. I am even more proud to call you my friend. Welcome back, Adam! xo

  16. Sheila

    Yaaaaaaaaaaay! Now I can stop asking my auto-question every time you mention going out on a date! #woot

    Also, the last two years may have sucked royally at times but I think you deserved it all. It’s about damned time you learned what it felt like to be just like the rest of us miserable peons who fumble around trying to figure ourselves out.

    Welcome to humanity, Asshole.

    And yes, you’re still an asshole.

    I love you 🙂

  17. TyKes Mom

    This is single-handedly one of the greatest pieces you have ever written. You are in such a healthy place in your relationship self. Congratulations to you for never losing who you were even through all of your rocky times. We all have them. We all have moments of selfishness and deceive ourselves into a place we shouldn’t be. Some lose themselves forever and their lives turn into a constant spiral. Even though you may have betrayed a lot of what you are about, you never lost you. Thank you for sharing this with us!

  18. Lisa

    I’m glad you’ve made it through the other side. It sucks that our biggest “personal growth” moments tend to be our darkest ones. Congratulations on surviving the growing pains 🙂

  19. Poppy

    A very well written post.

    Do yourself a favor, and keep your relationship off the blog for a while so you can develop a healthy monogamous connection. Don’t feel the need to give us a blow by blow and explain yourself at every turn.

    You don’t owe any of us that.

  20. Valerie

    Bring her to my Latin Night on the 20th. It’ll be fun. I promise. I know people from my work would want to meet you. I’ve shown them so many, um, interesting things from your blog.

  21. Special K

    I really enjoy all your posts but it is posts like this that make me stay. I love seeing all sides of you, good and bad. It is a great reminder that we are all human. I can relate.

  22. The Zadge

    Wow! Just found your blog (from the Twit, where I found you from DebThaxton) and all I can say is great piece. Your post, I mean, not any other part of you. Well, I don’t mean that as an insult, I’m just complimenting the post right now. I’m sure your other pieces rock too. And P.S., I’m a lawyer too, although I desperately don’t want to be.

  23. martymankins

    Having been through a divorce ( I was the one who ended it), I understand some of the things you are going through or have been through. I did get into a rebound relationship while going through my divorce and ended up having my heart broken, which later on I would appreciate happening to me, I had to do a lot of soul searching to eventually find myself. I always thought that was some fucking catch phrase, but there is something to learning who you are and makes makes up yourself as a person in society.

    Glad to hear things are coming togther for you, relationship speaking.

  24. concerned professional

    from a psychological perspective, you’re a cliche, my friend — an insecure egomonia if there ever was one. and no well adjusted man would openly brag about the number of women he’s “fucked” in such a public and crass manner. it’s overwhelmingly likely that you’re padding your numbers, if you will. perhaps even making them up altoghter.
    from a common sense perspective, it’s obvious that whatever women you do manage to fuck are ugly ones, indeed.

    • village idiot!

      i just read this post again. i skimmed it the first time and wow did i miss the mark with that mean comment. first time i stopped reading after the rules and didn’t understand the point. until i read it again. wow. i just wanted to say how sorry i was and that i was moved by your words and honesty. i’m glad that your in a better spot and sorry i misunderstood and left such a horrible note. please know how sorry i am. read the other comments too this time. you have lots of admirers and its easy to see why.

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