Hello, France Park

Wow. I’m here.

I didn’t know if I’d make it. I mean, eventually; but it’s nice that I set a goal to be out here by the end of the month and I’m here.

My parents came out for Memorial Day weekend and I took the rest of the week off work. France Park was Amanda and I’s place, Amanda, Lola, and I. Not that, objectively, I’ve been to France Park a whole lot per my Google Maps timeline:

I just have vivid memories of Amanda and I floating on the water, Lola with her diving mask on, Darla and us going for a short hike out here. I was pretty sad what was it, Tuesday night and was up virtually all night as I couldn’t sleep thinking about it. There was the older guy blowing bubbles over the water and we had these little tubes and took turns gently moving each other around and spinning on the water. The smell of sunscreen and the sun on my skin.

I’ve also come to terms that all of those happy feelings up front was just NRE, it wasn’t actually her or who she actually was as a person and at best, I was just a replacement, a temporary distraction for someone she never did the work to get over and could have never shown up.

I think about what in myself made me feel the things I did and the lie I was living; those intense feelings of NRE were the same with Aly, our first date at the art gallery and memories of gushing over her with my then friend Amy at Matchbox. I went all out in a short few months, bought her a clay wheel, redid my townhome and offered to set up an art studio for her, I bought her a fucking car, LOL. Man, I spent many, many hours rebuilding that Subaru Forester for her. She drove it once before the fuel pump went out, so I replaced it and by then; I just kept it as where things were at.

She was uh, a pretty horrendous fit for me as a person and had her own issues for sure, and yet, the feelings were so strong, as was with how things blew up.

I’ve been listening to Dopamine Nation while driving lately, a recommendation from my therapist. She introduced this topic, loss chasing.

Loss chasing is a term typically associated with gambling. It refers to the behavior of continuing to gamble in an attempt to recover previous losses, often leading to even greater losses. This is often driven by a distorted belief that luck is about to turn or a big win is just around the corner.

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is central to how we experience reward and pleasure. Gambling stimulates the dopamine reward system in the brain, which can be especially addictive for some people. When gambling, each win can cause a dopamine surge, creating a pleasurable experience. However, even when losing, the anticipation and hope for the next win can also stimulate the dopamine system, creating a cycle that can lead to loss chasing.

The same principle can be applied to relationships in what is sometimes called “drama addiction.” Some people may find that they are drawn to unstable, volatile relationships because they offer a kind of “high” that stable relationships do not. These individuals might get a dopamine rush from the intense emotions, passionate reconciliations, and constant uncertainty that characterize these relationships.

This pattern can lead to a form of loss chasing similar to that observed in gambling. In the context of a relationship, loss chasing might manifest as continually trying to fix a problematic relationship or get back to the “high” of the early days of the relationship, despite evidence that the relationship is unhealthy or causing harm. Just as with gambling, the anticipation and hope for better times in the relationship can stimulate the dopamine system and create a cycle of addiction.

It’s important to note that while this comparison provides a useful framework for understanding why some people might be drawn to unstable relationships, it’s also a simplification. Human emotions and relationships are incredibly complex, and this comparison doesn’t capture all the nuances. There are many other factors that can contribute to why someone might stay in or seek out unstable relationships, including attachment styles, past trauma, self-esteem issues, and more.


Oh wait.

Anxious-preoccupied individuals often seek high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from their partners, sometimes to the point of being overly dependent. They can become overly concerned or anxious about the relationship, often fearing that their partner doesn’t share their feelings.

This pairing can be quite tumultuous, as the anxious-preoccupied individual’s desire for closeness and reassurance can exacerbate the anxious-avoidant individual’s fear of intimacy, leading to a cycle of push-and-pull dynamics in the relationship.

ChatGPT with another banger

So what do we get when we mash these together?

Individuals with an anxious-preoccupied attachment style tend to crave intimacy and validation from their partners. They may frequently seek reassurance about their partners’ feelings for them, and they may worry excessively about their partners leaving them. They’re often sensitive to any signs of rejection or indifference from their partners and may interpret such signs as evidence that their fears are coming true.

On the other hand, those with an anxious-avoidant attachment style tend to be uncomfortable with close emotional relationships and often strive to maintain emotional distance. They may see themselves as unworthy of love and fear rejection, leading them to avoid becoming too close to others.

When these two attachment styles come together in a relationship, it can lead to a cycle of high highs and low lows. The anxious-preoccupied individual may constantly seek closeness and reassurance, which triggers the anxious-avoidant individual’s fear of intimacy, leading them to withdraw. This withdrawal, in turn, heightens the anxious-preoccupied individual’s fears and makes them seek even more reassurance, and so on.

This dynamic can set the stage for loss-chasing behaviors. The highs—times of connection and reassurance—can be intensely gratifying, especially for the anxious-preoccupied individual, leading to a kind of “high.” Meanwhile, the lows—times of withdrawal and disconnection—can be deeply distressing, yet they also come with the hope and anticipation of another high. This hope can lead to loss chasing behavior, with the anxious-preoccupied individual constantly trying to get back to the highs of the relationship despite the pain of the lows.

Meanwhile, the anxious-avoidant individual, who may also experience a “high” during times of connection but fears intimacy, may also engage in loss chasing behavior, continually returning to the relationship despite their fear and discomfort.

In essence, the relationship can become a kind of emotional gamble, with both individuals continually chasing the highs and trying to avoid the lows, much like a gambler chasing wins and trying to recover losses.

You guessed it, ChatGPT

Throw in some abandonment and whatever else and you have a recipe for some unhealthy shit.

No, if I learned anything when engaging in polyamory for those few years, it’s what NRE is and that unhealthy, shallow cycle entails. I’ve learned how to be upfront and vulnerable (barf), but really, and I’ve managed to mostly be aware of, and opt out of NRE. It’s how I built this, fuck, two year relationship with Kasey and how I transitioned my relationship with Lo into a good friendship.

I’m not saying that NRE and all of those feelings are bad, or a negative thing outright. More of, it’s that shallow cycle most seem to find themselves in, at least when they are younger. Get into a relationship, have things be good for a few years, get bored and leave, move on to chase that next high, or cheat to get that high.

I’m also not going to sit here and write off all of Amanda and I’s relationship as just NRE, either. I thought she had some good qualities, even if I failed to see her narcissism, self centeredness, and emotional addiction. I did think of her as someone that could have been a good mother figure to the kid that used to be in my life and someone who (as insufferable and self important as she is about it) “responsible” and “good with money”.

Even though we were sexually incompatible; you know I think that’s something that fueled a lot of resentment as things were falling out. There was quite a bit of my sexuality and ways I engage in a relationship that I chose to suppress and kinda stomp out of myself for their comfort and it was so frustrating to be forced into an open relationship, then ridiculed, judged over how I wanted to do polyamory.

Not saying that with how hard I was going at things was from a good place, but damn.

But of course, that feeds into the loss chasing. Some of the most intense, emotionally, sexual experiences I’ve had, ever, was when things were shit between Amanda and I. NOT that it was healthy, at all. It was some sort of fucked up, deeply hurt and broken, borderline abusive shit. Fuck, she hated me, lol. But it was loss chasing. I imagine that’s what being high on heroin feels like and it’s completely unmaintainable.

That curvy ginger though, damn. Total shallowness and the fuck up’ed ness of the whole shitty situation, but that emotional high.

Anyway, enough wasting time putting energy into that.

Polyamory is still interesting, though, and there’s many ways that one could go about it. I think that there’s an unhealthy way to go about it for sure, dopamine addiction and trying to live off of NRE. I used it as a distraction and way to try and fill the gaping hole left in me as I felt that if left with the sadness and pain that I couldn’t handle it, that I wouldn’t survive the weight of it all. I nearly didn’t.

No, actually my sexual life is kinda boring and regular, about once or twice a week or so and where it usually ends up in my relationships. We consider ourselves sexually open and queer. Our grand total, drumroll please, has been one couple and then one person we saw for several months (and who we really like, hayyyy); just that moving put a stop to that for now, although, there’s word that they may be visiting at some point soon.

Kasey was trying to work out seeing someone for a session as she has an ongoing interest in rope play, but nothing has come of it so far. Heck, she tried last year and the person was unavailable. Oh wait, we had one more experience around New Year’s, so three in two years.

I’m happy with this and it’s the missing piece that I needed in relationships. I don’t need multiple relationships, as in multiple serious partners. We are open to going deeper with our friend and things were growing; but nothing like having to work out spending half of the week sleeping next to this person, half with the other or any of that nonsense. I don’t think I’d ever want that.

The point is, wrapping up and getting back on track; being at France Park forces me to work though some things and memories. I’m cursed to be sentimental enough that coming back here is kinda like a time capsule and it’s been opened being here. But now I get to form new memories and overwrite some of the bullshit, eventually move onto being able to view the older memories here with a warmer, fuzzy glow of nostalgia and add to the good.

Just believe me when I say that I felt like I was going to vomit out of anxiety for an hour trying to initially drive coming out here and it took me all day.

But I made it, and although I could have slept better, I’m doing much better than I could have hoped for.

Maybe if I can go cry by the water for a bit while I’m here I’ll feel a bit better