As I rode the bus home that night, I thought about my life and where it stands, especially in regards to you. There were so many deficiencies I found, and it made me think maybe you were right in ending things. Who would want to date the man I’d become?
I’m neither a romantic nor a spontaneous person. I was at the beginning because that’s what you do with fresh love. But then I think I got comfortable. And unconsciously, I got lazy. I stopped trying. I got boring (maybe?), started to take the relationship and you for granted (maybe?).
I also wonder about my ambition. Was I driven enough for you? It’s no secret that I don’t love my job. I get along well in it, but I’m not passionate about it like you are with yours. I don’t see myself working in at my company or even in my industry for the rest of my life. I realize this, but I’m not making any moves to figure out what I am passionate about. You used to suggest I go to culinary school to become a chef. (A fine idea considering how much I love food and cooking. But in my mind, an impractical one. I don’t think I’d be any happier in a hot and sticky kitchen working until three each morning than I am in my current cubicle working a steady nine-to-five.)
Did you see my stagnancy as a weakness? Could you see yourself marrying a man content to plod away in his career, never making it higher than a management position? You have that drive that’s going to win you awards one day, that’s going to see you as an executive at a major firm. Could you stand being with someone less?
Then I also wonder if our sex was good enough for you. I will admit that I’m not the most sexual person. I enjoy sex, yes. But I don’t need sex. And I don’t thrive on it. There are nights when I’d rather curl up and go to bed because I’m exhausted and the thought of having sex that’s going to keep me awake for an extra hour seems like too much.
Conversely, there were also times when all I’d want to do is tear off your clothes and fuck you on the spot. The problem was, these urges usually came at inopportune moments. We were heading out the door in five minutes to make it to a dinner or movie. Your roommates were home and in the other room watching TV so we couldn’t have sex on your couch or your counter. You’d be on the phone with your mom or someone when all I wanted to do was give you a blowjob and see if you could keep up your conversation.
All of these impulses crossed my mind multiple times. But I never acted on any of them. I wanted to, but I was afraid or nervous you wouldn’t like it, that you’d reject me. And that’s something I couldn’t handle.
I’ve always been fearful of sex. It’s so invasively intimate and leaves you so vulnerable. It takes such intense trust between two people to have sex consistently. You’re completely exposed. And not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically. I always feel fragile when I have sex. Constantly worried that I’m not doing the right things or if you’re enjoying the sex enough or if I’m enjoying it to the right degree.
That’s something I liked about us. We were honest about our sex and whether it was good or bad. When we had great sex, we knew it and told each other. There was no question on those nights our sex was passionate and fulfilling. We were fucking because we loved each other and that made it so much better. And when we had bad sex, we told each other, too. I remember one time when we were both super hung over and the sex lasted maybe five minutes. My head was pounding and I could barely keep my dick up. You were thoroughly out of it with a migraine. We both knew it was terrible and said so. And we fixed it from there. We didn’t have hangover sex anymore.
But despite our honesty, I always worried about my performance. You never complained or anything, but I felt inadequate and nervous at times. I don’t think sex is something I’ll ever be one-hundred-percent confident in, not in my own performance of it at least.
Perhaps these were the things that you picked up on – my lack of romance, spontaneity, ambition, sex-drive. If that’s the case, I’m kicking myself because I should have gone out of my way to plan romantic dates and fun, new experiences for us to do together. I should have worked harder for what I want in life (because I do know what I want) and let go of my sexual inhibitions.
I realize that a good night for me was getting/making dinner at your place and then hanging out as we watched TV. Sometimes we’d even go see a movie together. All of that sounds pretty boring to me in hindsight. And that’s what makes our break-up so hard – the thought that I had something good with you and didn’t realize it, that I’m the one who messed things up.
I came to all these conclusions while the bus trundled up First Avenue. It was a long trip at ten o’ clock at night, especially on the local bus that stopped every three blocks. When I got back to my apartment, I threw my bag on my bed and looked around my room disgusted. Here was another failing of mine. I’d never moved back in after the damage from Hurricane Sandy. Yes, I had new furniture, but only what I absolutely needed. I hadn’t taken the steps to make my room a home; I hadn’t even unpacked all of my shit from when I moved it all out during the flood. All of my books still sat in plastic tubs and disorganized on my shelf.
I couldn’t take it anymore, this floating through life. In Crazy, Stupid, Love. Steve Carrell’s stuck in a midlife rut. Maybe I’ve been stuck in a quarter-century one. I can’t be a ghost in my own life anymore. I need to take action and go for what I want. I need to do it for me, and for you, if there’s any hope that we can get back together.
Last night when I got home I sat on my tile floor and arranged my books, sorting them by genre and then alphabetically as I stacked them on my shelf. I unpacked plastic tubs and dusted, I sat and made a plan for how to make my room better, homier. I’ve got some shopping to do, but I think that when it’s all done, you’ll really like what I’m planning. Hopefully you’ll see it.
Funny how this epiphany came from watching a Rom-Com. I guess I’m glad we chose that movie to watch at Scott and Amber’s. I hope that I get Steve Carrell’s optimistic ending. As the closing credits roll, he’s changed and become more involved in his life. He realizes how much he loves Julianne Moore and takes steps to show it and try to win her back. And Julianne Moore is receptive to it. The movie doesn’t end with them definitely getting back together, but it does leave an opening for it to happen.
If I change do we have a shot at getting back together? Because you know I’d change for you. I’d work on being more romantic, on surprising you more often and being more spontaneous. I’d work on hitting the gym more often and getting back into shape. I’d work on my career and my ambition. I’d work on my room and making it a more inviting place. I’d work on the sex and be freer with it, more open to trying new things with you.
Should I fight for you? I’m not sure. I still don’t know why exactly you broke up with me. Maybe it’s for all the reasons I came up with last night in my movie-inspired introspection. Those things I can work towards fixing. We can be a happy couple again. I can get anchored and stop floating through my life, start working for what I want again.
I realize that there are a lot of things I did wrong, but I know I can fix them all if you give me the chance.