Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Oct 1, 2020    Trey McGuire
I spent a while trying to figure out what to say in this post. The idea hit me a few weeks back on a sleepless night as a conversation unfolded over text message with a Warrior bro of mine. When I went back and reread our conversation, I knew exactly what was to be said here. So, with his permission, and just enough editing to protect his privacy, allow me to present to you our very real and raw conversation about the pursuit of love, joy, and happiness. -Trey

ME: Are you okay?

MY BRO: Yeah I’m alright. I’m just mentally not happy and it’s been hitting me hard tonight for some reason. It’s been a real long time since I’ve been “happy”. Maybe it’s just a weird night and I’ll sleep it off I don’t know. I don’t deserve the amount of love and care that you have for me. You mean the world to me bro.

ME: You know what gives me the joy that you are looking for?

MY BRO: What?

ME: Knowing that I have men like you in my life. For as long as I can remember, I've never felt good enough. So I would do whatever I could to buy or attain people’s “love”...all because I felt as if nobody loved me for me, mess ups and all. And every time the person whom I was trying to get my approval from would prove that they didn’t actually care about me, it would drive me deeper and deeper into depression. At the same time I pushed away the people who loved me for me....the people I didn’t have to impress or do anything for. I didn’t have to buy them anything, serve them, or anything else. These few people just wanted me, but I wouldn’t let them get close to me cause I couldn’t impress them. The money I used to have impressed people. And it got me a lot of fake friendships. And I’d toss it around just like you toss around sex. You see, you’re just like me. You have no idea how to let someone just love you without having to give them something in return. Then every time you give yourself to someone sexually, that is you subconsciously begging for approval, and they end up turning their back cause they got what they wanted out of you...easy access to a good time. Which is the same thing they got out of me. Easy access to making their life easier cause I would give and give and give every time they asked. Then my money became my thing I offered...cause it got me quick results in the “happiness” bucket. Just like sex does for you. But then it just fades cause it’s all fleeting and those people aren’t truly the relationships God has for you. But when you learn to let people see all of you, the good bad and ugly, without having to give them a damn thing, you have zero idea how to function. Those relationships are uncomfortable, but deep down they offer the intimacy you are striving for. They offer you unmerited approval, unending love, unquestionable trust, and unexpected security. Bottom line, you're having sex with people trying to fill a void that can only be filled by people who don’t just want to have sex with you.

It makes you feel good (gets you high) when you give of yourself the way you do. When you jump in bed and go to town, it fills that void temporarily. Just like when I would swipe that debit card or give that gift or sacrifice my time. The look on the face of the person with me just made me happy, but i also did it wanting them to like me and approve of me. Which they seemed to do for a little bit, then boom, gone, EVERY SINGLE TIME.

So then, I started thinking that people only liked me for what I could give, and the people who didn’t want what I had to give were people I didn’t know what to do with. Yet, those people are the ones who are still in my life today and know me intimately. So basically I was allowing myself to get taken advantage of by folks who didn’t care. All the while those that did want to truly give me the intimacy I was really looking for, I just pushed away when it got uncomfortable. But when the crap hit the fan in my life, those people were the ones with me at 2am when I wanted to kill myself. Not the ones I had been using to fill my approval tank. And deserving their love was never even a thing. Cause there love was just there...and no matter how ugly I was, it was just there, not going anywhere, actually just getting stronger and deeper. You see, I craved love, and I thought love was approval, but love really was just simply always just being there no matter what. And that, that right there, is what gives me the joy you are looking for. Tiff, friends like you, my family...y’all don’t want ANYTHING out of me. You don’t want me to buy you anything or serve you or anything, you just want me. All of me. That’s awkward for me cause it seems too good to be true. But, I’ve never once had to do anything to buy your approval, you’ve just given it. Again, all that I was looking for in life was right under my nose THE WHOLE TIME, it just didn’t look like what I thought it would. It didn’t look like work or some exchange...in your case, sex.

Yet, I’m more intimately acquainted with you guys than anyone I ever tried to buy. You guys know me, all of me, and I feel I can be vulnerable in our relationship. I feel I can be seen. There wasn’t vulnerability in my other relationships I tried to buy. And although you’re using sex to fill the void, it’s lacking the vulnerability that comes with being truly known and seen by people. It’s a temporary drop in the bucket that can only be filled with lasting intimacy.

I’m not attacking you for having sex. Sex isn’t the root issue. The root issue is the fact that you’re giving yourself to folks who will never fill your void because it’s easy to feel approval when you’re having sex with someone. And it’s easy to try to fill that void with things that give you a temporary high. Yet every time the highs fade, you find yourself in a darker and darker, deeper and deeper, extremely dangerous hole.

Bottom line, you’re standing in a crowded room screaming “someone please love me” and no one hears you...so you’re forcing it.

MY BRO: You literally just explained my whole life through yours.. you really just hit all my problems on the head. I really don’t know what to say, I’m speechless.

ME: I know I did.