To be loved, to be loved

Or at least pursued a little bit. Let's not get too hopeful here.

(Alternate titles for this post included "I Want You To Want Me".)

This is kind of expanding on an earlier post (which was NSFW only since it was about this through the lens of kink stuff, sorry to the SFW readers!) about vulnerability and attention and so on.

One of the things I've often struggled with is reaching out for attention. I have lots of friends around, and as I've told myself over and over again, all it takes is reaching out to one of them to get the attention you so desperately crave. This was a huge part of what went into my bad brain time survival guide.

But there's still a sense of... a lot of them would just disappear from my life if I stopped reaching out. (Some of them have in fact already dropped to only infrequently responding to my contact, despite regularly telling me they're happy I'm reaching out.) Even for those who don't, it feels like it needs to be truly exceptional circumstances for them to contact me first.

A lot of them are shy, reserved, loners, whatever you want to call them. They don't initiate. That's just who they are, and it's not a personal slight or anything bad about our relationship. (Not that they would behave very much differently if there was anything wrong with our relationship. A... challenge for my anxious self.) Depression makes some of them quiet and inward-focused.

Others are very busy, and happy to see me when I come around and just otherwise occupied and don't have enough free time to think about starting much.

I get it, right? Like, that's the way friendships are. You're not going to be close to all of the people all of the time.

But...

Can't I be close to one of the people some of the time? Where's the me in my friend circle? Where are the people who reach out just about every single day to see how I'm doing and to catch up and share stuff going on in their life?

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy reaching out to others. I like knowing what's going on in their lives. I like cheering them on. I like doing all that. I think it's worthwhile to do. But it costs so much energy, and it feels painful to think about doing it again and again and not having much of it come back.

I think one of the things that was nice about my previous romantic partnership - well, I've had multiple, but by this I mean the only one that had really worked - was having that daily contact. The regular interest.

Now I can get daily contact... if I'm initiating most of it.

A few of my friends will reach out if I fall silent in their window for a few days, and I appreciate them for that.

But there's that imbalance, right? The friends I don't want to go a full day without talking to, but who often don't even check in when we speak again after all that silence. I bring up their latest doings unprompted, and they respond "Nice" when I eventually bring up my own successes myself. I explore things they're interested in that I think I might be interested in to expand our common ground, but there's rarely much of that from the other side.

I don't want this to sound like my friendships are all totally one-sided. Certainly, my friends are an emotional comfort when I call for help, sometimes without me having to tell them what I want them to do, and there is a lot we do share. And certainly, my friends don't act disinterested or ignore me when I talk about things.

(I suppose that's part of the definition of "friend". But there are a lot of people I have called friends, who have called themselves friends, who have not met that bar.)

I don't know. I don't know if I'm being unreasonable.

I want to be important to someone. And not just "I would be sad if you died" important. I want to be important to someone in the ways that the people who are important to me are important to me. "I want to be an integral part of your life" important. "I think of you all the time, connect all sorts of things to you and to the time we've spent together" important. "I want to be around you as much as I can" important. "I'm curious and excited about what you're up to" important. "I like knowing what you love and why, and exploring it a bit for myself to at least support your love if not discover my own" important.

I had it, a few times. And in its absence, I'm just full of questions. Is it too much to ask of someone? Was it wrong? (Or, put a better way, did it lead to unhealthy relationships?) Is it an unhealthy desire to have? Is it something that I lost in one of my rebirths, something I lost access to by becoming more outgoing, more assertive, more open? Or, worse, something that was lost in one of my deaths - is it something that my trauma, my fear of vulnerability has taken from me?

Is it unhealthy for me to be so eager, to want to get so involved with the lives of those around me? Does it drive people away? I keep having these flashes of being really fascinated with someone, and being excited by all the cool new things I discover about and through them, and being excited at the thought that they might feel the same way about me, and then...

... It's not like those people disappear from my life. In many cases, I'm still friends with them, still fascinated by them. But that joyful sensation fades, the hope that I might be as fascinating to them as they are to me. Am I doing something wrong that pushes those people away, makes them lose interest in me? Do I creep them out? Do I annoy them? Or is it just an unreasonable thing to want?

In the end, just... Why is this feeling gone? Will it ever come back?

I miss it.

I miss it a lot.