One time at a restaurant, my dad started eating ice cream with his butter knife because he was too impatient to wait for a spoon. I said, "Dad, you could hurt your tongue, just wait," to which he replied, "It's no big deal; last week I ate my yogurt with a screwdriver." My dad is a retired electrical contractor, in case you might be wondering why he has screwdrivers, just, around. Anyway, that isn't what this blog is about.
Those of you who know me, or at least virtual me, know that my past is checkered with all sorts of relationships ranging from longterm to brief - with the length of the relationship having absolutely no bearing on its significance to my life. My twenties were just a cluster of endings - some bad, some very bad, and some actually alright. I used to refer to myself as a commitment-phobic serial dater. A term of endearment, most definitely. On looking back at it all, I find great irony in the whole progression of relationships... and their endings, for that matter.
You spend early days together lying around in an obsession filled love haze, absolutely certain how life with this person is somehow going to escape the pitfalls and mistakes of past loves. Despite all of your previous failed experiments with key-giving, you give them a key because you just have a feeling it’s going to be different this time. Every stupid text makes you smile - in the same way you notice a friend smiling when they are seeing someone new, and it makes you want to vomit. You start to slowly ignore everyone, repeating the same behavior that you previously labeled as disgusting when others did it.
Fast forward two years and those endless, open roads have taken you to places you never thought you’d be. Texts have gone from compliments to grocery reminders, and you start having those fights about nothing - you know, the ones you thought you were exempt from.
Then one morning you wake up and think, “Am I one of those people?” One of the fake, happy people? You remember what you've always been told about how passion and excitement wear off and love takes a new meaning over time. It’s children and obligation and commitment. It’s comfort and stability. And it either gets better with time, or it doesn’t.
So what determines whether you make it? Is it just old fashioned dedication? Is it because you can’t possibly live without that person? Is it realizing that sometimes no matter how hard you fight, you just don’t have the strength to make it? Is it finally throwing caution to the wind and everyone’s expectations and doing what makes you happy? Is it having confidence in yourself and your intuition? Is it learning how to accept imperfections and appreciating the grass on your side?
I really hope you're not expecting an answer to any of those questions because damned if I know.
But here’s what I do know. You invest years of time and energy into every person you enter a relationship with. And when you think about it, in the end, time is all any of us have. So that's a pretty big deal. You learn all their favorite things. You have dinner parties with their family and friends. They rearrange their apartment so it suits you both better. They buy you a toothbrush. You blow off your important things so you can show up to their important things. Lives merge. And maybe you don't even get that far - perhaps, you only share a short, but significant time together. Either way, they have some of your heart, your thoughts, and memories. And if you're one of those people who throws around the "L" word a lot, you probably loved them too.
Until that one day when it all stopped for whatever reason.
And the next thing you know, you’re fighting over books and trying to sort out rights to the Netflix account. You’re saying things you don’t mean just because you want them to feel bad, the way that you feel bad. Maybe you wanted it to end. Maybe you were devastated. Maybe you felt relieved. Maybe you couldn’t sleep for days.
Or perhaps there wasn’t any fighting. Maybe you just left because you didn’t know what else to do.
Either way, it’s a loss. A void. And it’s sad that a person who used to be on your Verizon 5 Faves is now just another person on the list of people you have to hide behind a shelf to avoid when you spot them in the chip aisle.
So, maybe, we just shouldn’t do all that.
Maybe, we should all be adults. And realize people are human. And we let each other down. And that we’re not all meant for each other, but that doesn’t mean we have to hate that person or pretend like we don’t see them.
Because at one point and time, they were the only person you cared about seeing.
And, hey, they even bought you that toothbrush.
(Some exceptions exist to the above suggestions, such as: if you dated a heroin addict, a clinical psychopath, or a felon. Just let them go, like, forever.)
Wondering who's the mysterious wordy genius behind these posts? Follow this little rabbit trail to read moreAbout Me! The use of the term genius is open to interpretation. Like just about everything else on this site.