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Here I was, sitting in a bougie Greenpoint pizza place across from — finally, after all these years — my high-school crush.
The only difference was that, now, I was a powerful, sexy writer on the brink of success — and, as I soon learned, he was now bald, and nothing like the fantasy I’d built up in my mind. * * * Psychologists believe that “emotional regression,” a term coined by Sigmund Freud, is either a conscious or subconscious defense mechanism against any one of life’s many stressors — work, school, fraught encounters with former cello prodigies.
In order to cope with this stress, an individual reverts to (typically negative) patterns of behavior from an earlier period in their lives, when the stressor didn’t exist or was easily assuaged by an authority figure, like a parent or teacher.
When a student storms out of class after receiving negative feedback on a project, for example, perhaps they are regressing to a time when they were young and more constantly praised for their intelligence.
When an adult woman chooses to date someone with whom she truly had nothing in common, solely to prove to herself that she really is lovable — well, you can probably guess.
Maybe I should have seen it as a sign of things to come when, after our first kiss, all I could sputter was, “Oh, wow.