October 4th 2014
Story originally written and experienced: April 11th 2011
I had completely forgotten it was there.
The other day I was sifting
Through my belongings in my room when
I felt my hand glide across a smooth surface. So I looked
And saw this:
Thing is, I used to write for a magazine when I was in college.
And the second thing is:
I started that magazine.
And with each issue we’d relentlessly roll out, I’d get the discreet privilege to write about a topic. Any topic. Of my choosing.
And I remember flip ping through the pages on this very night…curious as to where my April 2011 curiosities had taken me. And when I did that I found this:
That I’ve conveniently transcribed for you like this:
Live Laugh Love
Don’t worry. I’m not bitter lover. Contrary to the title, I happen to think love is a pretty kick ass thing.
It can also be a confusing, awkward, dramatic and fucking scary thing too. That’s right amigo(a), you’re not the only one who thinks so.
You’re far from it.
It’s okay to admit you don’t have the smoothest relationship past – or if your current relationship could use some work.
Some things just don’t work out.
And the other thing is.
You know this.
And I know it too.
It sucks. It hurts…Whether we’re at the brink of it, fresh from it or months beyond it.
It still fucking sucks.
The end of one romance? Doesn’t mean the end of the all of them.
It means quite the opposite. It kicks off the better. The much better. And whether or not you circle back to an old flame or you really do rediscover that better euphoria.
The in>> <<between?
Not always sMoOth sailing.
And in my opinion, that’s exactly how it should be.
But don’t take it from me.
Take it from these stories I’ve collected. From people. Just like us who have felt the
Of this addicting, comforting and irresistible drug that we’ve labeled as Love.
And Imma break it down like this:
1. The Break Up You Didn’t See Coming
You signed yourself up for a commitment you hoped would be better than all rest – crossed your fingers it wouldn’t end in a heart break but
…all of a sudden…
Does it mean you made the wrong choice?
That you wasted your time?
That you ate one too many cheetos one day causing you to be temporarily jaded when deciding to date this once dated person?
Thing is, break ups fucking blow. Suddenly there’s a conversation. Drop of the stomach. Things are said. More things are said. Realizations are had. More realizations are had and
Your long-time confidant turns into a stranger with just a few emotionally driven words.
And it’s sad.
If it weren’t for these trial and error processes, we’d never really know what we truly did and did not want, right? Don’t believe me? Listen to this:
I was living in Ireland back in 2008, elated off of adventure and anchored with a bit of booze.
One night I was dancing at a bar. And I was dancing a lot. So much in fact I took a misstep into my friend –
s p i l l i n g
my cranberry vodka all over…
I’d be lying if I told you I didn’t slam him in the bar bathroom that night.
And I’d be lying again if I told you he didn’t end up moving to the U.S. for me just one year later.
We got an apartment in Chicago
A place to call our own. Followed by
1 year of bliss
And then another.
And then 2 more.
And then one day I remember we were sitting in a coffee shop near Millennium Park. He got black coffee like he always did. And I got the chai. And I’m not sure why I said it but.
“James…are you in love with your assistant?”
He didn’t say yes.
And he didn’t say no.
Not right away at least.
But eventually he said.
“No. I’m with you.”
2 months later he moved out of our apartment.
And 6 days after that.
He ran away with his assistant.
I was a bit of a wreck. The definition of a girl in the bathroom stall at work crying with toilet paper and wearing sunglasses to conceal my tear-drenched eyes. I was embarrassed I was humiliated. I felt like a joke. He moved here for me. Got a job for me. Gave up everything for me. We were everyone’s ideal fairytale.
So I started to do things. A lot of things. Things I had always loved. That I never really did anymore. Things I put on the back burner to support his career. That were now my prized form of occupation.
Art. Music. Art. Music. Art.
And then I started to meet people. Better people. People who loved my damn hobbies and the person that came with them.
And I strangely felt whole again. A better kind of whole. The whole I’d rather share with someone who wouldn’t want to split their whole…3 ways.
And I did find that person.
And it was fucking awesome.
And still is.
2. Stuck in a comfortable relationship
So you’re in a relationship and it’s gotten a bit bland. The love is there. The attraction is there. But the spark is diluted by comfort.
Who wants to walk away from something that’s been a part of their life for so long? Who wants to tear down the façade of “I can’t believe you guys have been together so long! You’re so perfect for each other!” Who wants to feel like they’ve wasted their damn time?
It’s not easy to walk away…but it is possible. Maybe you’re waiting for someone to sweep you off your feet so you have an excuse to leave, or maybe you’re waiting to rekindle the flames that once were. But. Either way, this dreaded “comfort drag” is way more common and way more curable than you might think.
Here’s what I mean:
High school sweethearts.
A good basis for any good romance story. Justin and I had been together for…years. We were crazy about each other. At least for a while but…slowly our relationship went from spontaneous to routine. From “I want to take your clothes off” to “I barely noticed you were walking around naked”. To “Let’s cook dinner together!” to “Did you get everything on the grocery list?”
I found myself getting…bored. Even unhappy. I was desperate. And I wanted an easy way out.
So I cheated.
Just so he could say “You’re a bitch, Jenny and I deserve better.” Because for some reason that seemed better than telling him “You feel too familiar and monotonous. I’m restless and I’m not sure I can do this anymore.” I thought I finally had what I wanted:
But immediately after I confessed everything to him…
I had never regretted something so much in my life.
The look on his face. The lack of emotion in mine. I fucked over my best friend. And myself too. I didn’t even try. I think that was the worst part actually. That I
Didn’t. Even. Try.
We broke up, Justin and I. And about a year or so later I remember sitting at a bar with a friend. And she started saying the same things to me “Chris and I are starting to get boring. It doesn’t even feel exciting anymore.”
And I remember telling her “Maybe there really is something better out there for her. Something she wants more. Someone she wants more. But before you go off gallivanting in that direction, think about the person you’re with – and why you even liked them in the first place. And if those things? You liked? Are still there? Then you’ve got a hell of a lot to work with. The best things to work with, actually. And if they’re not. Well, there’s everything right with wanting the best for yourself.”
She went home that night and sat Chris down. Told her their relationship felt more like a mindless chore than a companionship. And he listened. And she listened too. And it went well. It went very well.
And just this week I got their wedding invitation in the mail.
The Love Triangle
The more the merrier, right? Not exactly. Believe it or not, third parties have an extreme tendency to show the fuck up and complicate every goddamn thing! But at what point do you make the decision to fight or flight? At what point do we realize that being an alternate sounds a whole lot less appealing than being second to someone else’s prize:
I probably wouldn’t have even noticed her if she didn’t stare at me every day from across the office
Think of an excuse to come over to my desk. “Do you want some candy?” “Do you have any paper clips?” “Hey, free fruit in the break room!”
She was gorgeous. Fit. Driven. Resume. Perfect.
I remember one day she moseyed over to my desk. She didn’t ask about candy, paper clips, or fruit. She asked me out to lunch. And I said yes. And we hit it off. We hit it off well. And from that day we’d spend a lot of time together, joke around, flirt for weeks. And one day we were in the car. On our way to a client meeting. And I remember asking her what the longest relationship she had ever been in was.
And she looked straight ahead at the road and said “Probably the one I’m in now…we’re going on 4 years…he lives in Tennessee.”
And we didn’t say anything after that.
Two short weeks later we were at another work party and she asked me to meet her in the upstairs of the hotel because “We needed to talk.”
Champagne induced, we met 30 minutes later inside room 203.
She didn’t want to talk.
She threw me against a wall and began kissing me – telling me that she had felt more for me in these past six weeks than he had ever felt for her boyfriend of four years.
They broke up the next day.
Because of me.
We didn’t go anywhere fast. But we were going somewhere. Somewhere great. But. After months of calling me, texting me and visiting me…she called me one last time and said
“Hey Dave, I’m going to go back to him. I’m not sure I know how to be without him. I hope you can understand that. 4 years is a long time…you know?”
And it was a crazy feeling. To once feel like someone else’s prize, just to realize you were the runner up – standing in when the real “prize winner” just couldn’t make it. And at the time it felt like what I wanted.
Felt like what I wanted.
But then I began to realize that being gambled between #1 and second best suddenly didn’t feel so romantic.
So I walked away.
Moved away actually.
And ran into a business career. That I became in charge of. And I sat there with a glass of whiskey after a hard day’s work. I thought about that girl in my office. I heard she’d broken up with her boyfriend. And I only knew that because she sent me an e-mail to let me know.
And I didn’t respond.
Only because I was already running late for my own engagement party.
The moral of the story is, you’re not the only one who thinks love sucks sometimes. But think about where you are now. Where you’ve been and who you’ve been with. How hard you fell the first time and how much you understood the gravity of it when it came around the second. Thing is – love strikes this emotional chord that some guard but everyone has. And most times. That chord rejuvenates you. And sometimes, it hits your soul the way that nothing else can. Those fights. Those break ups. Those flings. Those regrets. Those decisions. Those non-decisions.
The fact that we as humans are searching for such an emotionally fatal necessity at all.
They makes you set your standards.
Swallow your pride.
And put yourself first.
They make the good times incredible.
And the incredible times well-deserved.
And whether or not you’re charging at life solo or hand in hand with the person of your dreams, think about what it took to get there. And how you’d never quite be there. If you weren’t such an emotional champion first.