*Note: I meant to post this in my Little Black Book. Technologically this whole blog thing is still way over my head. I’m letting it stay as a post though because… well… it just feels like the truest thing I can say right now. And I promised to tell the truth.*
I met Not The One one night when I was out with a friend. I actually remember watching him walk across the bar and thinking, “That guy is for sure about to come hit on me, and I’m already not feeling it. Crap.”
He came over and started chatting me and my friend up and charming us with drinks, and jokes, and intelligent conversation about art and and travel and religion, and lots of looking deeply into my eyes, and shamelessly complimenting me. I distinctly remember after we had been talking for about 30 minutes I made some sassy comment, per usual, and he looked me dead in the eyes, smiled, and said, “You make comments where you throw your dick on the table like that to cover up the fact that inside you’re total mush.”
It felt like I was being seen for the first time.
I don’t know how to make that last line not seem sarcastic. I thought about changing “throw your dick on the table” to “act tough,” but truthfully it was the complete brashness of what he said that made it feel so real. Anything less crass would have seemed like a recycled line he’d used on other girls, but this was like the words came out of his mouth before he could realize what he had just said to a girl who he was clearly trying to impress.
I agreed to give him a ride home and while I was driving, he reached across the seat to take my hand in his. I remember thinking how perfectly they fit, which was mainly noteworthy because I had never really enjoyed holding hands before that moment, and earlier that day I had watched the episode of How I Met Your Mother where Ted and Robin hold hands for the first time and he says that he just knew they were meant to be together because his hand felt like it was made to hold hers.
Pause–>In fact through our entire relationship, I compared us entirely too often to Ted and Robin, so as you can imagine the finale fucked with my mind in unprecedented ways. If anyone can find this quote or clip, please include it in the comments section. I just spent no less than 20 minutes looking for it to no avail. Worst case scenario, I watch the entire series again. Twist my arm… Play–>
Things moved fast. Too fast. Before he got out of the car that night he told me “You’re going to be my girlfriend, just so you know.” On our first date, he asked me to be his date to his company Christmas party that was two months away. On our second date, I asked him to be my date to my best friend’s wedding. In Cabo. The crazy part was I didn’t feel like it was too fast, and obviously he didn’t either because he said yes. Our third date was a birthday party planned by my best friends, full of only the people I had been friends with for a decade. And him. Also, the sex was really, really good. Like the kind of sex that makes you make bad life choices in attempts to keep it around. Things progressed down this path for 3 months until they slammed to a halt.
He wanted someone who could hang with his private school fraternity friends. I went to a state school and didn’t understand how he didn’t know how to shotgun a beer. He once referred to my students as “the future criminals of America.” I told him that his coworkers had no souls and would be responsible for the Apocalypse. He made fun of the homeless people outside his loft. I made fun of the yuppies at the boxed seats he took me to.
We were never meant to be. He saw it. I couldn’t.
At this point I was so relieved to be “in love;” all of my friends were moving in together, getting engaged, getting married, having babies, and I had never felt so alone before he came along. Falling in love to be rescued is just as heart wrenching as falling in love to rescue: it just doesn’t work.
I believe that sometimes the mind protects itself by refusing to feel pain, but pain demands to be felt, so it can manifest itself with physical symptoms. The morning after we broke up, I had to go to the emergency room because my left shoulder felt like it was being ripped out of my body. I went back two weeks later for the same pain. Between the denial and the codeine, I was not handling this breakup well at all.
There were so many roller coasters that followed that I couldn’t even begin to name them all, but they all followed the same pattern: One of us would “innocently” text the other. The conversation would be a Bermuda Triangle of banter, familiarity, and innuendo, and we would both pretend for a few months/weeks/days/hours that we could just remain good friends that occasionally slept together and that no one would get hurt. We would say that it was just a waste to not put all that good sexual chemistry to use if we were both not seeing anyone else.
Somewhere during all of this time though, he became one of my best friends. Taking the pressure of boyfriend and girlfriend off of us meant I didn’t have to care if he was looking to marry a Stepford Wife, and he didn’t have to care that I would be voting directly against his industry in every election; we were just two people having mind-blowing sex while being friends. It took me being okay with him not seeing me as he had that first night for him to actually see me for who I was. We were each others’ go to person for funny stories, or seeking advice, or needing a listening ear. We would spend hours in bed just joking and napping and cuddling. He would take me to lunch after hooking up, and I would act like it was a real date. I would invite him to bars at 1:30am and act like I hadn’t been waiting to text him since 7:00pm.
When you accidentally fall in love with the person you’re “casually” sleeping with, it becomes the dirtiest of dirty little secrets. You tell your friends that they couldn’t possibly understand. You tell him that of course you’re happy with things just the way they are. You tell yourself that in time he’ll come around to see what you see.
After 15 months of torturing each other (or was it just torturing me?) I finally told him that either we needed to try this for real or we would have to block each other entirely.The night we decided to meet and call it quits for good, we both laid in my bed and cried. He said it best when he said, “I can’t imagine you not in my life. I’m not ready to give you up, but I have to. It’s like you’re dying.” I told him to make sure to wear more blue to bring out his eyes and to eat more superfoods so that he would live for a long time. He told me to never let anyone make me feel like I wasn’t good enough. It was the hardest I’d ever cried in my entire life. I wasn’t just mourning the loss of a lover, but of someone who was my best friend, the first person who had ever fully seen me.
As he walked away, I told him that he was wrong, that being best friends who had amazing sex was really all anyone was looking for in a relationship anyway. I thought it was true; I didn’t know anything. I’m still not sure I know anything.
Thankfully he didn’t listen.