The quantity of tears I have shed over emotionally unavailable men could fill a swimming pool. Ask my friends. If you have known me long enough, you have probably seen me no less than seven hundred times, sloppy drunk and crying gross tears over some dumb asshole who lacked even the most basic emotional tools of general humanity. The one I married, of course, was the ultimate prize. Someone to fuck with my head and make me cry for a lifetime.
In high school, I used to fool around with this dude who told me he literally couldn’t hang out with me anymore because he started seeing another girl who HAD A LOT OF COCAINE. I got dumped for a pile of coke.
In college, I fell madly in love with this very dumb asshole who I followed around like a lovesick puppy for TWO YEARS. He knew how much I was into him because literally my entire college knew this. There were very few people at my tiny liberal arts school who had not walked me home from a party while I sobbed over this dude. After seriously two years of fucking with my brain, we finally got together and the whole world was like Jesus fucking Christ, finally this lame ass girl can stop crying all over everyone at the end of every party. We stayed together, off and on, for a couple of years. He cheated on me with other girls, of course. When he left me for good, he literally flew to Minnesota, went to bed with me, and then SNUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT AND WHEN I WOKE UP IN THE MORNING HE WAS GONE. Like, gone gone. He never spoke to me again. He flew to Minnesota to break it off with me, and that’s how it went.
Did I mention something about emotionally unavailable? (And yes, he’s still unmarried – shocker).
Are we sensing a pattern yet?
After college, in the couple of years before I nailed down the catch that was my husband, I cried over so many men who were just actually garbage humans. I remember in my early 20s I worked with this guy who all the straight women had a huge crush on. He was nice. He was kind. He was funny. Every single lady in the office wanted to date this guy. Me? I was like, you’re going straight to the friend zone, my man. It wasn’t that I couldn’t understand what was attractive about him. It was just that I took one look at him and knew, this guy would never walk all over my heart.
I told my friends, he just doesn’t do it for me, and shrugged my shoulders.
There’s some very basic psychology going on here that has had me, over the years, addicted to the highs and lows of pining over emotionally unavailable men. I don’t need to open up my whole childhood, and you don’t need to be a psychiatrist, to see how ridiculously obvious it is to me now how I have been acting out the same cycles without ever learning my damn lesson.
I know this woman who has a really hard time staying away from married men. That’s never been my thing, but they might be two sides of the same coin. My thing has been more about throwing myself and my entire heart, headlong, at a guy who’s like “hey baby, would it be cool with you if I just slept with your roommate one time? I swear it won’t mean anything.” For a long time I thought this woman I know was kind of gross for only wanting that which wasn’t hers. But now I think I see that is not so different from what I have been doing. Two sides to the same coin.
Anyway, if you want to try to picture how a marriage festers, picture this. It’s late at night. A woman is in her pajamas, sitting on the bed. She’s maybe had a couple of drinks. Her hair is a mess. She’s crying, and there’s mascara under her eyes. She’s yelling, why can’t you just say you’re sorry? That’s all you have to do. Just say you’re sorry. You don’t even have to mean it, she sobs. If he says he’s sorry, if he runs to her, she’ll be the happiest she’s ever been. If he tells her to go fuck herself and slams the door, she’ll never recover. Now picture that a hundred times over for fifteen years straight. Ninety-nine times the door slams. One time he says he’s sorry. The one time is enough to keep going.
That’s how a marriage festers.
I can see that now.
p.s. When your rooster crows at the break of dawn, look out your window and I’ll be gone.