Affection: Not Even Once

I think we’re addicted to affection. Like heroine addicts.

Sometimes, in the depths of my loneliness, I find it difficult to distinguish between an objective, unbiased thought and a rationalization that I’ve conjured to help me cope with my lifestyle. To be fair, I doubt many people face the mirror with their emotions as much as I do. Maybe that’s why they’re out there getting shit done.

Am I better or worse for acknowledging that my thoughts are often filtered through a mercurial layer of emotion? Am I recognizing something that not many people do? I wonder how many proclamations and opinions are, at their core, desperate self-affirmations fueled by an unknown yet prominent emotion, shouted in the hopes that that emotion will be affirmed (and justified, recognized) in the eyes of others.

This is getting too deep. I only have so much brain in my head considering the rest of the nooks and crannies are filled with mucus. Summer colds are just the best.

Let me get back to my original thought before I psychoanalyze it out of existence.

Affection is addicting. And we’re all addicts.

I’m saying this as someone in recovery. And by that, I mean without any reliable source of affection. And like someone in recovery, I have cravings. As of late, this has been bubbling up in my subconscious in the form of dreams of my exes. It’s sort of like my brain is saying, “Hey remember this? Bet you forgot how good this felt. Here’s a reminder.” What a jerk.

And they were all little things too, these dreams. Inconsequential moments. Nothing as huge as the dream where Daniel Stern was trying to kill me or I had to rescue hostages from a swarm of human-sized bugs. (My dreams are weird.)

Just small moments. Like, how nice it is to have someone hold your hand and gently kiss your knuckles.

Or have someone rub your back if you can’t sleep at night.

The feeling of knees and ankles adjusting under the covers.

Their hand on yours, stroking you with their thumb.

Sleep soaked murmurs.


Then yesterday, while I was miserably waiting in line at the pharmacy to buy NyQuil and ramen, I realized I was literally sandwiched in line by two couples, each indulging in their own affection addictions. Wrapping an arm around her waist and kissing her forehead. Leaning a head on his shoulder. Blah blah blah.


I see people deal drugs outside of my apartment all the time. No big deal

I guess this is my weekly meeting. This blog post is me standing up to a room of strangers and saying, “Hi. My name is Kristen and I’m affection addict.”

“Hi Kristen.”

And here comes my emotionally fueled, desperate self-affirmation (or unbiased truth, depending on how you look at it):

Isn’t affection why people stay with the wrong partners for so long? It’s the junky in us. A nice feeling, both physical and emotional, that we so vividly remember from the past, we cling to it, desperate for its repetition. We’re capable of overlooking a lot, even (and most often) the boredom and monotony of a partnered life just to get that feeling again. The singular, physical feeling of affection. The affirmation that another human wants to make you feel special and comfortable in the simplest, laziest of ways. And I get it. Going cold turkey is hard. It’s not easy to get off that drug. And even “clean”, there are relapses. Cravings. Dreams.

I don’t think humans are exclusively self-indulgent in this regard. Lots of creatures crave affection. Cats, in the right light. Dogs almost always. Sometimes they cuddle each other and our hearts explode.

Maybe that’s why we call these creature comforts.

I’m not really sure what the point of this post is. I think half of me is desperate to convince the other half that I’m better off not hooked on anyone; off the drug of dependency. I’m better off without someone to pluck loose eyelashes from my cheek.  I’m better off without a shoulder to lean on or a neck to nuzzle. I’m not hooked on flirty, lingering texts before I fall asleep. I answer to no one. Not a soul.

It’s taking a lot of convincing though.


One thought on “Affection: Not Even Once

  1. It’s a struggle to which I can relate! I have had to essentially force myself to think only of me and what makes me happy, for a year and a half now. Relationships seem to fall into that same pattern, like a frickin default setting:

    You feel lonely, you meet someone, you have an inferno of passion, which gives way to complacency, then dependency, and then stagnation. The good, sweet, and comfortable moments are always there (probably), but Something gets lost in that maze or purple haze of muddy, sticky… Obligation. It’s so hard to hold on to yourself when you become dependent and complacent with another person.
    Maybe it goes without saying. It’s certainly not a new concept, that you have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. It’s a humanitarian concept to me, but it applies also to any egalitarian relationship. Each person has to retain their own identity while still remaining sensitive to the needs of the partner.

    Hoo. Whiskey tangent. Anyway, divulge in yourself, until you’re comfortable with loneliness, and start thinking of it as just “aloneness”, not a bad thing or a good thing, but just a state of being.

    Jesus I need to stop because I’m getting preachy. This has been a buzzed slinging of unsolicited “advice”, and I sort of apologize. Please carry on!


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