The Lara Jeffery Show: Tainted Love

I’m in the most intense relationship I’ve ever been in, and I don’t know what to do.

I know, I know, it’s not your problem, but you know him. Please listen. I never talk about my feelings, and it’s hard to get out of your poorly-made bed.

It’s starts innocently enough. We met, we made friends, we made a decision to become part of each other’s lives. Badda bing, badda boom.

This was about four years ago, when I’d just started working in a café. He was a regular, almost an institution. You know the type – he was always around, the whole staff knew him and his blend, the other customers loved him.

Most of you met him before I did, and you know I trust your judgement, but when we first met I found him really hard to take. He seemed subtly bitter about something, as though he secretly felt ground down, and it didn’t sit quite rightly with me.

After I spent a little time getting to know him, it became fairly obvious why he was, and is, so popular. He’s warm, he’s exciting, and his sense of humour is so robust. He’s beautiful; his hair is soft and fluffy, his skin is perfectly tanned, and being around him.. well, his enthusiasm is infectious. He’s supportive and empowering, and it can be addictive.

There’s something you need to keep in mind about this guy, though – but I guess you already know this – he’s smooth. He’s a charmer. He’s not to be trusted.

He doesn’t sleep much and – honestly, I’m sure this isn’t normal – he always keeps me awake, whether I want to be or not. It doesn’t matter what I say. He won’t stop. Sure, when I need to stay awake he’s my biggest supporter, so exams and nights out always resolve some of our tension, but the more he gives the more he binds you to him. He wants you to think you are diminished without him: that you can only be as capable, as smart, as determined, or as alive as you can be with his support.

I’ve heard him called dangerous, and even cancerous. Some people really can’t stand him, but his flaws and his strengths are equally real. That’s where it gets confusing. What I know is that he offered me vibrancy, and demanded a constant presence in my life in exchange. I gave him that, and now I feel I can’t live without him.

Yet if he goes away, or if I send him away, it’s draining, and I’m left anxious and frustrated and unfit for human company. It’s as though I don’t know how to be on my own anymore

I’m sure that’s not love: not now, if it ever was. Infatuation, maybe, or dependence. That makes me feel weak, but he makes me feel strong and I don’t want to get out of bed and face the day without him.

I’m making a mistake here, aren’t I? Or should I just have another cup, and think about ditching the coffee tomorrow?

Lara Jeffery
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