My cynicism can be self-destructive when it comes to relationships. The fantasy about how a relationship will progress is rarely met or exceeded. So, why do we do it? Why must we enter every relationship disregarding the likelihood that it won’t last? You think I’m jaded. So did she.
It’s my least favorite interview question: “Where do you see yourself five years from now?” How about in a place I could never predict? Sure, it’s smart to plan and prepare, but how often do you end up where you expected? Not very. That’s why I don’t stress over the future. Odds are it will work out the way it usually has.
Which brings me to relationships.
Most of the romantic relationships I have ever been involved in have ended. So have yours. They’re unique and terminal. That’s life. Hence, when I enter a relationship I’m realistic about where it’s heading.
“I really like you.”
“That’s the oxytocin talking.”
“No, I do.”
“OK. I like you too.”
Smiling at me.
Wishing she wasn’t smiling quite so intensely. Feeling pressured.
“So, tell me something.”
“What do you think will happen?”
“We’ll probably date awhile and then go our separate ways.”
“Isn’t that what usually happens?”
“Oh my god, that’s so sad.”
Fuck. She’s welling up.
“Yep. Reality bites.”
“No, I mean it’s sad that you’ve already made up your mind that our relationship won’t last.”
“Untrue. I’m simply stating the most likely outcome.”
Oh no, tears are falling.
“Stop. Come on, be real. Odds are this won’t end with neighboring cemetery plots, right?”
“What if we fall in love?”
“Then we’ll be in love.”
“But, you’re already convinced our relationship will fail.”
“That’s where the disconnect is, my sweet. I didn’t say it would fail. I said it probably won’t last.”
“Which means it will fail.”
“I guess that depends on how you define a successful relationship.”
“Look at how many horrible relationships go on and on. This guy has shitty parents. She works for an abusive dickhead. He’s constantly bailing out his brother. Her neighbor is both nosy and noisy.”
“So, how do you define a successful relationship.”
“One that brings mutual happiness while it lasts and ends peacefully once it stops.”
“Where’s the romance in that?”
“Placed shorter-term, as it should be.”
“I don’t like you so much now.”
“Because I have realistic expectations?”
“No, because you have low expectations.”
“It doesn’t imply that I’m not ambitious or not hoping for something long-lasting. Dating is tedious. I’m only acknowledging the fact that most romantic relationships end.”
“Hand me my bra.”
“Don’t be like that. Would you rather I say what you want to hear and prance around with you in fantasyland?”
“Fine, hand me my cape.”
“You’re such an ass.”