Monday, April 19, 2010

Fool for Love: The Inertia Edition

When I was younger, I was terrible at leaving relationships. There could be blaring air sirens and a light flashing "Run! Run!" above a guy's head, and maybe a year later could I pull together the emotional resources to say,"Bob, I don't think this is working out.  I've lost hope that I could ever mean as much to you as your My Little Pony collection."  This is no exaggeration.  In high school, I spent more than a year trying to please a guy who physically fought with me.  As I've previously admitted, I stuck to a man who demeaned me over a Subway sandwich.

Obviously, I had a problem with low self-esteem.*  But I also had a problem with simple inertia.  To break up with a guy, you have to commit to hours of raw cross-examination.  "What went wrong?"  "Why can't we fix this?"  "Can't we try harder?"  You spend days wracked with doubt, wondering, "Did I do the right thing? What if this is the only guy who'll ever love me?" And, the worst part, you feel bathed in acid for hurting a man you deeply care about, despite his flaws.  So, I would put off and put off and put off the inevitable.  Consequently, I gave away years of my life like dinner mints.

Yesterday, I was looking over a diary that I hadn't opened for several years, and I came across two back-to-back entries that made me both laugh and cry at my younger self.
June 16, 2001.  ....Which reminds me of Vronsky**.  We're still dating.  We have been monogamously together now for 2 1/2 years.  It's hard to believe considering that the progress of our relationship seems to have been stalled at the early stages of development.  The state of our relationship -- it's slow development -- was fine with me until recently....Suffice it to say that I finally came to the point where I feel I need to look at the relationship with Vronsky not only in terms of the fun and immediate comfort we take from one another, but also in the terms of a real future prospect....I feel as though I should start working now at finding [the right] man.
 March 21, 2004.  ....I told Vronsky today that I need a "break" from the relationship....Vronsky, though he loves me deeply, is not convinced of the belief that we will marry one day.  While I have many doubts of Vronsky and doubts of the whole institution of marriage, I found his position startling and disappointing.  I felt as though I have been pouring gallons of love in a paper sailboat.  And whose fault is that?  Only a fool would think a paper sailboat was seaworthy, that this relationship had the fortitude to sail into eternity....
Let me sum up all the moron tax captured in those passages:  My relationship with this man stopped developing after the first few months, and yet I continued to date him.  It's not until about two and a half years later that I realize this relationship isn't going anywhere.  I then wait an additional 34 months before I can bring myself to break up.  Oh!  Doesn't it make you want to bang your head against something?

*For those of you who might feel concerned, rest assured that the pendulum has since swung the other way.  These days, my self-esteem has evolved into something like a wombat -- plump, cute, and a little surly -- and life has been better this way.  Good men like wombats.

**In case it wasn't obvious, "Vronsky" is not his real name.


  1. Let's just say it's a good thing you didn't end up like Anna K. Beautifully written, poignant entry.

  2. Thank you, HML! I'm lucky there weren't any train tracks handy. :)

  3. Wow, a very courageous post. I don't think I could even stomach opening up my old diaries and experience my immaturity. My writing was also quite poor, no good metaphors to be found in there. Glad to hear you've found your inner wombat, they are charming forces of nature.

  4. Thanks, Irvin! I still can't stop cringing long enough to read about 80% of my old diaries, but I'll get there one day. Maybe if I can get through them all, I'll stop raking myself over the coals for some of those past mistakes.

    You know, Irvin, you get credit for being one of the very few voices in my life at that time telling me to run, run away far from that dude. So if I never said it before, THANK YOU and I apologize for not listening sooner :)

  5. Thanks, but I'm not so sure I deserve much credit. I don't remember ever using the words "run from that dude." If I do recall, and it has been a long time since then, I remember saying something to the effect that it didn't seem you guys had a great connection based on what you had told me about the dude.

    Definitely no need to apologize about my unheeded advice. What you should apologize for is letting me get together with that girl with the strange name (see Boat, Love, Summer 1996) and not bashing me over the head with your bamboo staff to knock some sense in to me. But that's another story...

  6. I've recently started reading some of my old diaries from junior high and high school. They're pretty hilarious, and prove that I was just as obsessive and clueless then as I am now :P

  7. Angela, you are a brave one. I cannot face up to my junior diary entries. I think I literally wrote the word "like" for every other word.