They say you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone. They’re wrong. Most of the time you don’t realise how bad something is until you’re waving at it from a distance. Or maybe you’re shooting at it because you aren’t a basic bitch.
Are you thinking about your ex? Because like Carrie Bradshaw in the majority of Sex and the City, I am. We all have that one ex that sort of stuck with us, that we are not quite over yet. Maybe things turned sour a bit too abruptly, maybe you are not clear on what went down during that breakup talk, maybe you are just still in love with them. Or maybe they are still dragging you around like Bono does with his disturbingly large collection of sunglasses.
I was a victim of these ‘epic’ teenage loves. The sex was great and the drama was even better. We were, of course, madly in love. We made sure we told each other about 10 times per fight. Some might say, it turned into a competition of who can guilt-trip the other person with their love faster and better. My mum thought so. What I didn’t see and everyone else seemed to was that the sweet, sweet torture of love, was in fact just torture.
When two people, for example Romeo and Juliet, fail to come to a fundamental understanding and agreement about their relationship, it’s not because the love is too much or whatever Taylor Swift lyric comes to mind. It’s because they don’t work together. Relationships don’t merely require effort and time. What we have forgotten is that our personalities need to fit.
Everyone is telling us that we need to work on our relationship, show our partner our love more often, hire a brass band for their birthday. In truth sometimes it’s the relationship that doesn’t work. We get together and fall in love quite randomly. No one really thinks about it. One day it’s a casual chat and the next you’re dining at Rustique. Before you know it you’re seeing him every day and have to suffer through the objective nuisance of holding hands. You stop questioning the pairing, you start questioning yourself. And let’s be honest, no one really wants to breakup. It’s awkward, it’s painful and it sends you back to the apocalyptic landscape we call the ‘dating life’.
At the innocent age of 16, I had yet to acquire this profound wisdom. So, I kept ignoring the little voices that told me to let go. And then he moved to France. He never quite broke the news, I only found out from a friend on the day of his departure. I almost got into a long distance relationship without even consenting. Of course, as soon as I found out I called him and showed him my utter disgust at his disregard for my opinion on my life. How? Through incessant and incoherent yelling. But he got the point, it turns out high-pitched screeches convey feelings effectively.
What ensued was two years of relationship salsa; swinging from broken up to being together. He was insisting our love was enough, and we were both hooked on the sex and the emotional baggage. Until this Christmas.
I was invited to a friend’s house, where I knew he might show. But I am a strong independent woman so I wouldn’t deprive myself of seeing the gang from home for his sake. He came an hour late with three bottles of vodka that he announced were to be drank in shots within half an hour. The gang being a black hole for alcohol, we obeyed. We decided to drive to the beach, and by some clever moves on his part I was forced to sit on him.
Ten minutes into the drive, he whispered in my ear “How’s the boyfriend?”, I turned around and looked at him with all the condescension and hatred I could muster. And suddenly the air got too heavy and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t think, and two seconds later he was kissing me. It was so familiar, so comfortable. It felt right. The way he tangled my hair and pulled me towards him made sense. We didn’t have to think about it because we had done it so many times.
The car stopped and everyone got out. I barely noticed. All my brain could entertain was the warmth of the skin on his neck and the sound of his voice muttering my name in the milliseconds we came up for air. He grabbed my waist, his fingers pushing into by ribs and laid me down on the back seat. I wrapped my legs around him and tied them behind his back. We were desperately trying to merge into one. I could feel his hands on the small of my back triggering the heat that consumed my body. He was taking my top off. And that is when I remembered. All the reasons why this was wrong and would only take me back to the downwards spiral that we were to each other. Fifteen minutes later I was in a taxi home.
It was about 2am and I was cozying underneath the covers, ready for a peaceful night’s sleep when the bell rang. I drowsily limped to the door only to hear him shouting. He was drunk and he was angry and he was sad. He mumbled about how much he loves me and what I mean to him and that we belong together. I was not in the mood to have a convoluted fight so I convinced him to go to sleep in my brother’s spare bed.
In the morning, I woke him up with breakfast and braced myself for the very first real breakup talk. We’d had a lot of them, but this was the only one where we both saw the problem. We weren’t good for each other. We were dysfunctional and abusive, and we told ourselves it was worth it because we were in love. He said we couldn’t bear the middle ground. I said we couldn’t bear any ground. As fun as it was, we were an explosive mix.
On that crisp Christmas-y morning, I broke the cycle of abuse.
For some reason, we find ourselves inexplicably drawn to other people. Maybe it’s the way they look, the way they laugh, the way they walk, or something deep inside you that when you look at them you find this roaring inferno of lust rising inside of you.
Beginnings are always the best. That time when you’re getting to know another person, understanding their personality, seeing where you are alike, and avoiding the points where you are incompatible. You trawl bars, go to restaurants, find each other in nightclubs, and seek the other person out in the day just to see what they are doing. Not to mention the
sex! The uncontrollable passion you feel for that person, you’re horny all the time and there is never an excuse as to why you can’t just go and fuck. The quiet place, in the library after hours, and behind the trees by James college sports centre are a few of my personal favourites.
For me, as a guy, that’s at least the case. Then the inevitable happens, it may be after a month, 2 months, 6 months or even a year that this passion dies down and you begin to assess them as a person. It turns out you didn’t share as much in common as you thought you did, there are parts about them that you don’t like and some of the things they do are so annoying!
It’s now that you develop the niggling feeling that perhaps you’ve made a mistake, and this isn’t right for you. I can tell you right now that we guys are incredibly good at suppressing this, hoping for a return to those passion fuelled days where nobody really cared if they left clothes on the floor of your room for days at a time or didn’t put the milk back in the fridge straight away. I was in a relationship for a year and a half before it finally dawned on me that I was miserable as hell!
My advice to you is this: sometimes it is just not worth keeping it going. Get out while you can so you can avoid those weeks of icy tension, dropped calls, and essays exchanged over Facebook message. My approach to any relationship-esque situation now is this: at the point when I start to spend more time worrying over the situation than enjoying it, then it’s done; time to leave.
When I say leave I don’t mean ignoring and avoiding the other person until they ‘get the message’, I mean having a face-to-face conversation where you say it’s been fun, but it’s not working for you. Quick, firm and gentle is always best. Don’t be a dick.
The overriding theme is this, don’t ‘power-through’ if the feelings aren’t there, don’t hope for a return to the passion of earlier days, and don’t lead another person on. If it’s not working then give it up, it’s not the end of the world. Don’t turn something that started out good into a demon of your past to be avoided at all costs.