I was also guilty of eating up the attention of guys who were interested in me, but who I had zero interest in. It’s not that I found them repulsive, they just weren’t my type. I badly broke the hearts of at least three boys in high school, one of whom I actually did try to date for a couple of months.
I did not WANT to hurt them, and was genuinely sorry that I did; but in my excitement of knowing they liked me, let alone noticed me at all, I innocently gave off the wrong signals, making them think they had a chance. And by “signals,” I mean smiling while talking to them, accepting a rose on Valentine’s Day, or going for a moonlit stroll to talk about deep, philosophical stuff.
Again, I had no intention of misleading anyone. Unfortunately, two of those three incidents created some nasty enemies. I received anonymous threats online over Instant Messenger, I was tipped off that someone almost slashed my tires while I was at work, and several mutual friends completely stopped talking to me and started gossiping behind my back – all after I had tried to be as gentle and humble as possible when informing them I simply was not interested in being more than friends.
Looking back, I realize I had an issue with boundaries. I let myself get closer to or was friendlier with the opposite gender than perhaps I should have been. I was not physically intimate with any of them; then again, that was not what I lacked. I craved attention. Affection. Approval. Validation. I had no idea that I was actually hurting people in the process of so desperately seeking what I did not even realize I needed.
***To read the rest of my story, including childhood memories, my personal journal entries from our experience on the show "Hoarders," notes from my therapy sessions, my research, and photos of my childhood home, check out my self-published memoir, Validate Me! (How my mom's hoarding kind of messed me up), available in paperback and e-book on Amazon.com.