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Sex + Relationships

If You’re Attracted to and Maintain Friendships with Men, You Need a Boy Book

When I lived in Nashville, my father would take me to the library once a week. At the age of 10, he allowed me to start reading from the young adult section. As the only man who only disappointed me less than 10 times, I thank him for this as I discovered a book called The Boyfriend List written by E. Lockhart. It follows the story of 15-year-old Ruby Oliver as she suffers from panic attacks caused by her love life. 

Pretty fitting if you ask me.

From then, I was obsessed with the concept, and when I was around 15, I started my own Boy Book. Quite embarrassingly, in addition to being attracted to women, I’m tempted by people who identify as men, the worst of it being cishet men. I’ve tried to document my feelings on every romantic interest and relationship from beginning to end throughout my endeavours. I’ve found it beneficial to touch on the little things like hookups and crushes to actual relationships. It allows me to question my tastes and why I pursue what I pursue.

Unfortunately, I’ve learned that I have an impulsive trait when entering relationships, diving headfirst into chaos. However, I know when to pull myself out of danger.

It’s been a fantastic journey the past six years, and I love that I’ve chosen to reflect on them. Having a Boy Book can help pinpoint the good things you take from relationships while also analyzing the bad. 

The Boy Book helped me define what I desired in a relationship, specifically men. In the chapter titled Jax Teller, I discuss the desire to love publicly and not be treated as a secret. It’s not enough to be showered in worldly things as it will never compare to being appreciated. 

Relationships should not be shameful, or you should not be in them. My relationship with him made me feel many things, but the main one was shame. Mainly because he was involved in, let’s say, street pharmaceuticals, but also how he treated me. At first, he would talk to me nicely, but he would speak to me quite rudely as time passed. Then he would make excuses blaming his past on how he treated me. Finally, the breaking point was when I found out from a mutual friend that he would not take our relationship that seriously, and that’s when I knew I had to get out. Luckily, the prison industrial complex aided me as I did not have to break up in total fear. 

While writing my Boy Book, I realized that you should never lose your voice in relationships. So I have a section titled, Flynn Rider #1, my favourite “Flynn Rider.” With him, it was easy to talk about anything. He was a great listener, and even when I was unsure about myself, he always helped me regain my confidence. There was no shame because there was no guessing or judgment. I never felt that I needed to hide because he knew me. He knew me better than anyone for a long time, and I knew him. 

I don’t condone Scorpio + Scorpio mashups (too much manipulation going on), but this one worked when it did. It just worked better when we were friends rather than romantically involved. I believe those are the best when you can draw the boundaries and recognize how to define the relationship best.

The Boy Book taught me how cruel I could be. Yes, “Treat Him How He Look; Stupid” (shout to Thee Stallion)! However, sometimes, my unintentional cruelty can cost me good things. In Lightskin Kanye, I explored my commitmentphobia and how I unintentionally ruined my second best romantic relationship. I concluded that he was moving too fast while I was not ready to be tied down. However, I could not admit that to him for a bit, nor could I realize that our relationship was born out of spite to hurt one of my former friends. I recognize and have grown from committing such bird-like behavior, but this one time, it gave me someone who cared for me. Like Flynn Rider, there was little shame in offering opinions except at the end.

When I lied while telling him that I did not think I deserved him, he called me “uncharastically immature” for thinking that. He said, “If you want to keep lying to yourself about what you’re good for, then I can’t keep waiting around for you to realize that.”

That was not the breakup moment. 

The breakup moment was when he moved, and I ghosted him. Though we ended up talking about my alleged ghosting, and we mutually agreed that we’re different at points in what we wanted. I needed to heal, and he needed someone who wasn’t their worst enemy. 

The Boy Book helped me work through abuse and trauma. This will not be descriptive because I don’t want to trigger people, but the chapters I wrote about those topics were like a mental cleanse. Rather than spending time blaming myself for “putting myself in those situations,” I learned to love beyond the person who claimed to care about me.

In Kingpin, I discuss the harmful trope that adults tell little girls, “He’s only mean to you/hits you because he likes you,” and how this had a profound effect on how I viewed my first crush and later the worst relationship I’ve had to date. I talked about how society forces women to accept abuse, especially from men, as simply a flaw in personality rather than a major red flag and a felony.

This is not a “surviving abuse is female empowerment” argument; I don’t like that trope. But it was a good feeling to know that I’m more than a victim, and that is not my life story. Knowing that I can recognize the signs and know when to call on my support systems is a great feeling. The best part now is that I can extend help to those afraid of leaving due to safety or security without being unsure of the proper steps. 

If you need to question why you’re making the choices you’re making in your relationships with men (and cannot do professional therapy), I encourage you to try making a Boy Book. It doesn’t have to be forever or your magnum opus of writing, but it can be a place of healing and discovery of self-worth.

Writer and Lover of all Media
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