Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Lady or the Tiger: Women's Desire

This could be about the time we talked in a party or club, or it could be every date you ever went on, where you wanted the girl and you wondered what it was that made the difference between ending the date or conversation by having that girl six ways to Sunday or with a chaste kiss goodbye.

“The Lady or the Tiger” is a short story, written by Frank R. Stockton. In the story, a semi-barbaric king decides to punish a courtier who falls in love with his daughter, by forcing the courtier to choose between two doors: one with another woman behind it and the other with a tiger. The Princess finds out what is behind each door and tells her lover. The mystery of whether she sends her lover to another woman or to his death remains unresolved at the end of the story. The Lady or the Tiger, not only refers to what lies behind the closed door, but to the inscrutability of the Princess, herself; and by extension, female nature. Is she a “lady” or a “tiger”? Or, if she is both, which one is the man going to get? 

At the same time, women can feel equally puzzled about men and their desire to have sex with us. We might have thought that we really hit it off. We were in the mood to have sex with you, but then you gave us a chaste kiss goodnight instead. When it comes to sex and other people’s attraction to us, women often have just as many insecurities as men or the same challenges reading men as men have reading women. Being in the swinger world reinforces the cultural stereotype that men are sexually always ready to go. In the Lifestyle, the only thing that tends to stand in the way of a man having sex with an attractive woman is his wife, the other woman and timing.

The world of swinging can feel very transactional, especially if people feel the pressure to have sex with strangers to make it a “successful” night. This causes both men and women to lose sight of the factors that cause us to have a real physical connection with each other. Often the best swinger sex we have had has been with men we met and flirted with at previous parties. The time lapse, without the pressure to immediately have sex, made the flirting and anticipation far more pleasurable.

Women’s Insecurities

We worry that you may have rejected us purely on a physical level. Was there some checklist to which we didn’t measure up? This can be exacerbated when we encounter men who “neg” us. This type of man spends his time talking to us about the more perfect and desirable women he’s been with. We don’t know if this is a conscious strategy to destroy the woman’s self esteem, or bolster his ego, as being a desirable catch. He may be hoping that if he then offers the woman some little crumb of validation, she will fall into his lap, like a ripe peach, and demand nothing in return.

Sexual. If we have had sex before, and we thought it was good, and then you distance yourselves from us, this can make us feel pretty insecure. Sometimes we’d like to give you a booty call, but we’re too shy or afraid of being rejected. We don’t know if there is a non-crass word for women experiencing the equivalent of “blue balls,” but this is what men do to us when they leave us with our hearts racing, our senses melting with desire, and nothing but our imagination to keep us company.


Personality. Did we talk or text too much? If a woman passionately expresses her opinions, is intellectually engaged with the world around her, and doesn’t agree with everything you say, do you think she’s a bitch? Some men want a woman who is purely an object to be possessed, preferably an inexperienced and malleable ingenue. Some women are into this. However, some of us want to be in a relationship, even if it’s a mostly physical one, where we are treated like equals and men are interested in our thoughts, personality, way of engaging the world, not just our bodies.

Emotions. Some of us desire to emotionally connect, but we don’t want to be perceived as needy or a clinger. Is the man just there for a superficial friendship and a fuck? Is he only looking for a “lite” relationship, with no feelings and no connection? Does he only want to engage us when we are happy? If men are open to emotional connection, how deep are they willing to go? We are not necessarily talking about love and romance. This could be the emotional connection of us sitting together on a couch and sharing things that make us vulnerable. If we are alone and feeling sad, is this the kind of emotional connection that makes it ok for us to call you to come over?

Is this a balanced relationship? Shame, usually for being judged as needy, might prevent the woman from reaching out for help. It probably has the same effect on men, to an even greater degree, as they are socialized to be self-reliant and independent. For a man to ask for help, especially from a woman, may feel like weakness. A healthy relationship is like balancing a bank account. One person can’t be drawing it down and the other depositing in, all the time. There has to be some give and take.

What Turns Us On

Your desire turns us on. That’s right: raw, animal lust. Even in the transactional swinger context, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t know her two hours ago and you won’t see her again, two hours afterward. If you desire us, in the moment, and we are attracted to you, it’s on. Your desire for us and our body is the ultimate turn-on. It’s a hunger. And it’s vampiric. You feed on us and we enjoy being “consumed;” as we, in turn, enjoy consuming you. Your hunger feeds ours. 


Feeling seen and noticed by you. Some of us women are so sick of pursuing men, and worrying that we will be perceived as needy and rejected. This feeds into a gender stereotype, but most of us like when men, to whom we are attracted, actively pursue us. The problem is men have the same fear of rejection and we may not always be giving you a clear signal that we welcome your attention. This results in a standoff that leaves both sides a bit confused and frustrated.

The fact that you are looking at us, and not just at us as one of three or or four other options. If we see you scanning the room or looking utterly detached and uninterested, it turns us off. Your desire and interest is manifested not just by your gaze, but when you notice something about us that sets us apart.

Conversation. People whose chief topic of conversation is themselves or some hobby or interest of theirs, that they have not bothered to find out if we share, are a turnoff. Try to find a topic of interest that we share and that engages us. If you are interested in us, rather than coming up with some overly general question like: “Tell me about yourself,” which leaves most, non totally self-involved people at a loss; ask something more specific like “what keeps you busy?” or “what are you passionate about?” A good conversation is like an enthusiastic game of tennis. You want to run to the ball and serve it back, it’s not just this formulaic back and forth of “call” and “response.” We both like originality -- people who have unusual stories or who aren’t afraid to challenge popular wisdom.  

Touch. So many men we have desired lost their chance with us (or put it on hold) because they did not just reach out and touch us. The best way is to start with with something relatively low-key and see if the woman is receptive. Take her hand in yours, or rub your fingers across her cheekbones, the top of her hand, the back of her neck. Based on her reaction and how well she responds to this, work your way up to bolder moves, of touching and kissing, based on her response at each stage. Claire and I may not be representative of all swinger women, but we love a variety of erotic or intimate things men do with us-- the light feeling of fingertips that makes our skin electric, being able to be comfortably silent with somebody, kissing that grows increasingly more passionate and hungry, looking into the other person’s eyes, and seeing our own desire mirrored in theirs.

That you are protective, make us feel safe, and show your concern for us. We are turned on by your strength AND your sensitivity to our vulnerability and when we see that you are protective of both our emotional and physical safety -- when you call an Uber for us at 3AM and make sure that we get in safe; when you give us a hug and tell us that we’re not “too much” for you when we talk openly about things in our past that have hurt us; this makes us feel safe enough to surrender to you, to be at your mercy, when you passionately bend us over and take us in the living room.

That you are thoughtful. We notice when you do little things for us like help us figure out why that lamp wasn’t working (we didn’t think that the light bulb could have possibly been a dud!) or when you take an interest in what we do and follow up by asking how things are going. Or when you go out of your way to bring us a book about a topic we expressed interest in. You don’t do these thoughtful things to get tally markets on some kind of relationship score card. You do it because you care. Feeling this warmth makes us feel warm in other ways. 

When you show us your vulnerability. Seeing your vulnerability is just as enlivening for us as it is sharing ours with you. Sharing what makes you who you are, not merely what you do, is a turn on. When you reveal your humanity, it makes us feel safe to reveal ours in return. It makes us more comfortable, especially when we can feel free to be a little silly, and not worry all the time about playing a false role of perfection.

When you give us the freedom to give to you in a way that enriches us, not because you feel entitled to it; but when you let us show you that we care, without demand or expectation; and when you trust that we are giving to you of our own free will, because we want to show you that you matter, not because we have to.

Balance is one of the sexiest things a man can have. It manifests as both a desire for connection and a maintenance of independence, as intellect and emotional intelligence, as the areas where we agree and those where we do not, and as space for both silence and conversation.

Friday, November 4, 2016

"Mansplaining" Sex to a Swinger Chick

Her Fatal Flaw
As a woman who has worked in some traditionally male-dominated fields, I have experienced my fair share of “mansplaining” aka “the practice of explaining something to another person, in a condescending or patronizing manner, often a man to a woman, and in situations where the listener may have as much or more experience than the person doing the explaining.”


So how does mansplaining play out, when it comes to sex? In one memorable line, from an otherwise bad movie, “Pretty Woman,” Richard Gere’s character makes that most cosmopolitan of generalizations: “Nothing can shock me” to a street-variety call girl (who really is just a kind-hearted country girl at heart). She replies: “That’s interesting because most people shock the Hell out of me.” 

Shock is not the right word, but most of us, regardless of how much experience we have, still have the capacity for surprise. When the topic is sex, we can, as curious Swingers, always learn something new, or at the least compare notes on the kind of kinky fuckery we like. So, if I have one “fatal” flaw it’s curiosity. I am every archetype of female culpability in that regard. Before the Serpent will have even finished his first sentence, I’ll have plucked the Apple of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and bitten into it, its juices dripping from my chin and fingers. When Bluebeard gives me the key to every room in the Castle and tells me there is only one room I must not enter, I will not be able to rest until I have entered that One Room.

The Perplexing Encounter

So, it was curiosity that motivated me to meet a person who had a very specific Checklist of every quality he found desirable in women, made it clear to me that I was not on it, yet with whom I knew I had common interests, and who told me that perhaps we could help each other out in our respective searches. At the most, I thought we’d have a fun discussion of sex or other topics. At worst, I expected I might get the the backhanded compliment of “You’re not really my type, but I have a friend…” Afterwards, a male friend of mine asked me how that visit went.

I answered: “I’m very perplexed. I think I just sat down for two hours with a man who knew I was a swinger, who explained to me that all male behavior is motivated by the desire to find a repository for “ejaculate” every 48 hours. Imagine my shock upon learning that most men don’t care about my thoughts and personality, they just want to have sex with me.”

My friend laughed. "More like every 4 hours, but go on. How did you end it?”

I answered: “I’m still not sure if he made a veiled offer at the end or not, but it if he did, it was something like he is looking for a woman “who is capable of the self-restraint of not talking and not texting, whom he might be willing to see on a once-weekly basis to “teach” her about sex, but only on one condition.”

“What was that?”

“That she doesn’t fall in love with him.”  

My male friend was sympathetic. “Well, there’s a very simple answer to that.”

“Hmmh? What’s that?”

“Ask for a dick pic. Respond accordingly.”



 
Her Miseducation and Reprobate Choices

So the question that Vanillas must be wondering is: “Has anything I have seen or done as a Swinger shocked me?” The irony is no. I have had great sex, I have had good sex and I have had average sex. Sex is kind of like pizza. It’s still pretty ok, even when it’s just average. I don’t have sex because I have low self-esteem. I don’t have sex because this is how I get validation. I don’t have sex because I don’t know how to say “No.” I actually have pretty high self-esteem, I have plenty of other things I do in my life that provide me with validation and I’m pretty good at saying “No.”

I am a swinger because I enjoy sex. That doesn’t mean I have sex all the time at Swinger parties or Clubs, or that I am attracted to all people. Many veteran swingers have sex with strangers far less frequently and with more choosiness than a lot of outsiders would imagine. For me, being a Swinger, simply means that I enjoy the freedom of interacting in an environment where people have fun, are open-minded and if there is chemistry and mutual attraction, it is on and the only game-playing is the enjoyable kind.

I think many Swingers are like me. They lived the first halves of their lives as very respectable people. Then they reach a point, where they achieved the things that respectable middle-aged people are supposed to achieve. They see other people documenting their lives on Instagram, convincing themselves that the next promotion, car, house remodel, vacation or the achievements of their progeny are going to make them happy. And they ask themselves: “Is this all there is?” We don’t have remorse. We have regrets. We wonder what if? What if I had had the confidence I have now, when I was younger. What if I had reached out to that boy or that man? What did I miss out on? And some of us reach a point, where we decide to step outside the "little boxes" and walk off the (proverbial) Reservation, and in that walk we achieve a kind of freedom. "In the vanilla world, men propose and women dispose. As a swinger, I’ve learned to propose as well as dispose. I’ve been accepted and I’ve been turned down, and I’ve learned not to take it personally. What another person desires has more to do with that other person, than it has to do with me.  It doesn’t matter if you look like Gwynneth Paltrow if their desiderata is Sofia Vergara...or Wesley Snipes, or they simply have had had one too many cocktails or have to run home to the babysitter that night.

The Money

"In the financial world, whether you are  a man or woman, it doesn’t matter if you are an idiot who couldn’t find their way out of a brown paper bag when it comes to EBITDA, people are very nice to you when you are “The Money” -- aka the person who can write the check. They may "think" you are an idiot; however, their self-interest and desire to get their hands on “The Money,” inspires them to treat you (at least outwardly) with a lot of respect. In the world of Swinging, at least the one I interact with, women are "The Money.” This has to do with the simple fact of supply and demand. There are more more men wanting to interact with attractive, sex positive women who can process the idea of NSA (no strings attached) sex, than the other way around.

The kinds of acts of sexual harassment and aggression that politicians and tycoons seem to regularly get away with don’t happen in the swinger world, where I interact. When men first enter this world, some might think they get to run around like a teenage boy playing Grand Theft Auto, but they are quickly brought in line, and made to understand that if they want to continue to frequent this world, they have to first make sure that both the woman (and her partner as well) are ok with his advances. I have had far more rude things (the kind that were so exotic, I had to look them up on the Internet) said to me or in my (virtual) presence in the male-dominated business world than I have ever heard of or witnessed as a swinger. I have heard of far more disturbing abuses of women from respectable housewives married to extremely successful, prominent men, at the top of their professional field, than I have ever heard of or witnessed in Swinging. 
Delvaux The Great Sirens (1947)
When you have a cohesive swinger community, it tends to be self-policing. It’s in nobody’s interest for the women to become uncomfortable and leave. The main tempest in a teapot, I witnessed in an online Swinger forum had to do with anonymous reporting of “offensive” pictures. The debate centered on whether this was the work of online “policing bots” or a traitor in the community. Swingers like their nudie pics. Those pictures don’t necessarily turn me on, but they don’t offend me either. I recognize that people enjoy posting these pictures and looking at them, and I am glad they have an appropriate place to do this. I haven’t seen anything that involves illegal or degrading acts. When I do go to that forum, I tend to glance over the nudie pics, while appreciating the more original montages or the sex-humor memes.

Because Swinging is a sub-culture that is misunderstood and very harshly judged by the mainstream, Swingers are very protective of their privacy. You can’t come into this world as a gawker, you have to put “skin in the game.” The Community solved the problem of deleting the fake profiles by a simple process of validation of members by members. I guess this would be like a virtual AA meeting, but for deviants. “Hello, my names is Claire. And I am a slut.” And in that world, people who come from very different backgrounds and have very different beliefs on every subject, on which it is possible to disagree, have found a common ground to validate each other.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The Women of Online Dating

Introduction

For any men that may be reading this Claire and I have decided to start with a master category that may or may not apply to all the types below. So here you have it, guys. You’ve already unconsciously realized it, now we’ll give you a pro’s eye view. The Female Fuckability Scale, courtesy of “Belle de Jour.” You are welcome.

The Princess: The hottest girl in the field. Frequently found in groups of other women that are all pretty; but, like the solitaire, surrounded by accent stones, she is the fairest of them all. You are going to have to put effort into wooing her and beating out all the other suitors. The time to fuck may vary, depending on her age and sexual appetite. She knows she is a hot commodity and doesn’t hide it. She only goes for really good looking and successful men. By definition, most men feel rejected by her. Can be high maintenance and demanding.

Cute Girl Next Door: Jennifer Aniston: Basic Bitch, waits for 3 dates to fuck.

Scary Bitch: This is NOT slut shaming, but a compliment. This woman totally owns her sexuality. She doesn’t care what people think one way or another. She isn’t a nympho and doesn’t fuck for validation, but if she likes you, she will fuck you on the first date.



Keeping the Crazy Under Control

And the question we know you all ponder (or conclusion you have already reached): "Are all females of the species, stark raving mad?" As women, Claire and I cannot answer this question without prejudice. We will limit ourselves to the simple observation that crazy people are rarely aware of themselves as such. Like a broken clock that tells the correct time twice a day, the truly insane may occasionally be graced with moments of self-awareness and lucidity. Marilyn Monroe was sexy, tragic (and many would argue smart) enough to get away with the following quote. In other words, she was crazy, but you wanted to fuck her anyway.

“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best.”

Such cannot be said of all the crazy women who use Monroe’s words as an excuse for unbridled drama. Your other clue to pre-detecting insanity, besides their predilection for this quote, is the online dater who goes out of their way to reassure you that s/he is sane and drama-free. Per Hamlet: “Methinks she doth protest too much.”

Claire and I wonder if the reality is not just that “women are crazy,” but that that we are all crazy and men and women just have different ways of expressing their craziness; whether it’s the more “feminine” impulses (that men often repress, yet unconsciously express), such as the desire for love and connection or the more “male” instincts (often repressed in women) of Eros and Thanatos. Per Freud’s analysis in “Beyond the Pleasure Principle,” Eros is the life instinct, which includes sexual instincts, the drive to live, and basic instinctual impulses such as thirst and hunger. Its counterpart is Thanatos, which is the death instinct. 


Categories

The English Major: Intellectual who seems overly impressed with her vocabulary, ability to turn a phrase, and hyper-literate references. Her profile and communication are liberally sprinkled with obscure quotes and on a good day, iambic pentameter. One subtype may be obsessed with Jane Austen, another type may fancy herself a modern day Anaïs Nin.


Quirky Girl: Likes to spout random, disparate, and weird facts about herself in an effort to seem more different than she really is. "I am a high scorer at Angry Birds and a graphic designer in my spare time. I like to eat cereal for dinner, but I also make a mean ceviche. Maybe if you’re nice, I’ll show you my vintage 1977 Han Solo action figure."

Geek Goddess: Two sub-categories here. One is the genuine nerd, Felicia Day type, who plays MMO’s doesn’t just read manga, has a favorite sub-category of manga. If you love to go cons and are “on the spectrum,” you are the guy for her. Second type is the pseudo-nerd, aka the hot chick who likes to rock the geeky look in order to stand out. May wear fake glasses. Likes to dress up in cosplay. The hot cosplay chick is frequently seen dressed up as Wonder Woman and aspires to be Olivia Munn.

Man Hater: Self-evident. One man betrayed or hurt her: therefore all men are evil.

99%: Women who are pissed off at dudes writing them sexually explicit or otherwise obnoxious messages right out the gate. Is it any wonder given the frequency of these messages? Makes a point of writing that she’s not into hook-ups. She’s got PTSD from all the unsolicited dick pics she’s received.

Debbie Downer: The emotional woman who seems to wear her mental issues on her sleeve. Frequently self-describes as awkward, depressed, "a little bit crazy," or otherwise anxious. We all are a little wounded, but this woman puts really personal details out there too early in the game. “I’m socially awkward and have a lot of issues, but if you just give me some time, I have a lot to offer. My therapist says I need to take more risks, so here I am.”

Stage 5 Clinger: Controlling and overly emotional. Sends too many text messages and needs constant reassurance. After date number three, she’s already planning your future and passive-aggressively guilt tripping you if you want to hang out with your friends. She stalks you on social media and sees everything you post in real-time.


Beach Girl: Lives to go to the beach. “My dream is a glass of wine on the beach or we can hang out at home and watch Netflix.”

Prettier Friend Girl: Always puts a picture of herself with her prettier friend or friends. You need to do comparative analysis of the pictures, mentally removing the prettier ones from all the pictures and keeping the lowest common denominator. Men have told us about this profile. As women, Claire and I really don’t understand what the end-game is here. Is she hoping the guy will look at the picture of her prettier friend and then “fall in love” with her profile description? Or is this some sort of “pretty by association” ploy? We honestly don’t know.

One Picture Girl: Expects to be liked on one picture. This one also comes from male friends. They complain that about “one picture girl,” because they feel like it takes them three or four pictures to make up their mind.

“Don’t Text on Me:” You reach out to her via text asking a simple question, such as “what do you like?” Most the time she doesn’t answer and or she responds to your question with: “Read my profile.”

“Just Says No:” No to married men, no to cheaters, no to players, no to couples looking for threesomes, no to hookups, no to smokers (tobacco or 420), no to dick pics. No to weirdos. Your picture and profile BETTER be accurate and up to date.


Basic Bitch: Jennifer Aniston is her hero, “Friends”-watching, pumpkin spice latte drinking, Pinterest-pinning fanatic.

The Tough Girl: Wears leather jackets, rides motorcycles, smokes, and you better not piss her off, Mister.

Indie Hipster Girl: Worships the indie music news site Pitchfork Media and music highly rated by its critics. Only likes music that “mainstream” people have never heard of. Wears vintage clothing and loves craft beers. Has become an expert at creating artsy Instagram selfies. May sport over-sized, black rimmed glasses which look cute on her, but would not flatter a less attractive woman.


Earthy Hippie: She’s 420 friendly, baby!

Goth Girl: Every day is Halloween.

Granola Girl: Likes yoga, paddle boards, organic restaurants, and the outdoors.

The Guys’ Girl: Likes feeling like she is different than other women...that she's one of the guys. May have several pictures of herself with male friends getting brewskies and/or supporting the home team.

The Party Girl: Reference Iliza Shlesinger. Her inner Party Goblin just awaits the perfect amount of alcohol to reveal itself, at which point, she will start table dancing, making out with random boys (maybe a few women if she’s a barsexual) asking everybody at the club for drugs, flashing everybody, suddenly thinks she’s a back-up dancer for J. Lo, vomits and misses the bathroom, drunk-texts ex-boyfriend, and finally orders massive amounts of take-out and falls asleep before it arrives. She will remember none of this the next day. Party Goblin often misplaces her cell phone and has lost about ten jackets.


The Husband Hunter: Primary objective: The Wedding. She already has the dress, the venue, the music, and the guest list picked out. She probably has a several Pinterest boards dedicated to cute wedding ideas.  You don't matter so much, as long you meet her criteria for husband material. She has controlling tendencies in common with the Stage 5 Clinger. Your own wedding is just the first of many events for which your presence will be required as an escort.

The Ticking Clock: Her biological clock is ticking. She mostly just wants your sperm. She may or may not expect financial support for the progeny, but hopes you have good genes. May ask you about your family medical history or your parents’ height. Unless you, also are hoping for paternity, this relationship will be over soon after you have done your duty and knocked her up.

Divorced with Kids: Probably better if you are divorced with kids too, otherwise, you just won’t be compatible as far schedules and expectations. 


Instagram Girl: Obsessed with selfies and collecting "likes.” She lives her entire life to document it on Instagram. If you are with this chick, you need to be comfortable with being her “Reality” TV sidekick. Excessively uses hash-tags and filters. Measures her self-worth in terms of the amount of followers she has, or fawning comments she gets. No surprise many of these women are narcissists, worse yet, the insecure kind. She is the queen of the “Stealthie,” a frequently used tactic in the social medial girl's repertoire, whereby she fishes for compliments. Example: posts glamour shot of herself taking her dog to the groomers. Pretends the focus is on what is happening in the picture, but it’s really about how hot she looks.

Indecisive Girl: She can’t pick a restaurant; there are just too many options. When you go out, she may refuse to commit to a plan, so you end up with no plans. She doesn’t really have a type. You don’t know if she likes or hates you. She takes a long time to get back to you. She may be stringing you along, wondering if the grass is greener with somebody else. This issue does not just impact her personal relationships, but every aspect of her life. Part of her problem is that she over-analyzes everything, thereby losing the ability to make the most simple decisions.

Dating for Dinner Girl: Going on a date to get a free dinner. May be disappointed when she runs into the more egalitarian “Dutch” approach to paying for the meal.

Still in Love With My Ex: “I just got out of a relationship. I’ve never been on this site before. Not really ready, but just dipping my toes to see what’s out there.” By the first date, she will introduce you to the ghost with whom you will be futilely competing.

Travel Woman: Obsessed with showing pictures of her travel adventures; always has a picture of Machu Picchu. Bonus: a picture of her doing yoga on a mountain.


The Perfectionist: Also known as Miss Checklist. You have to be this tall and fit to take a ride on her roller coaster. You must be good looking, but not vain; desired by other women, but loyal and faithful to her; make this much money; be funny; be strong, yet emotionally available; “be a good conversationalist, but also know when to listen;” intelligent, yet humble; successful, but not too busy to devote lots of time to her; creative, yet level-headed; and like the exact same things she likes. Mental stability and stamina come in handy when dealing with this type, often comprising younger women who don't know better.

Love Junkie: Falls in love with you after the third date. She may be looking to live out her favorite rom-com, as opposed to being realistic about relationships. If you pay attention to her and have sex with her, she will bond quickly. The good news is that this type of woman can often mature with experience, in which case she will transition from being guided by her own neediness, aka “being in love with how the other person (in reality, just a projection of her own desires) makes her feel,” to appreciating the other person, for who they actually are. The Recovering Love Junkie learns to see people for both their virtues and their flaws, and “take the best and leave the rest,” including herself and her own baggage.