So this week, I had my last conversation with Mr. X. At least for a long time. This time, I’m really letting go, and so is he.
Mr. X and I have known each other for a year and a half now. I love him deeply. I’ve thought more than once I want to have his children, and I’ve thought more than once that he is my soul mate. He is adorable, charming, (tall), funny, and smart. I have a good time with him. I feel safe in his presence. I feel like more of a woman when I am with him. I feel loved and seen. I feel wanted. I’ve never, ever had such amazing, exciting sex.
The problem, you might ask?
He’s emotionally damaged. Half the time, he’s great, and the other half, he’s mean and hurtful.
We spoke this weekend. He had opened things up between us again around New Years, and a week later, he freaked out and said that the relationship was unhealthy and it needed to stop. Period. He said he would be open to letting me discuss this with him one more time, but that he was clear that it was over and there was nothing more to say about it.
He came over to my house, after much fanfare, about 5 hours later than the time he said he would arrive.
We walked into my apartment, and I started to shiver uncontrollably, like my bones were clacking together. Noteworthy because although it is often cold in San Francisco and in my apartment, the only other time I can remember shivering like this was several months ago when Mr. X came over.
He sat down across the room from me. “Go ahead, what’d you want to talk about?” he asked me callously. (Is it cold in here?)
I had wanted to tell him how much I wanted him, and how I wanted to try to just make it work, but what came out instead was:
“Why are you such a dick?”
He barely even blinked an eye, and with a stone face, said: “I dunno. It’s just my nature. I think I hide it well at the beginning, but I told you at the beginning so it’s not like I didn’t warn you.”
“Is it something you like about yourself or something you want to change?”
“It’s something I think I’d like to change but in this case it’s working in my favor because it’s helping me to end this with you, which is what I need to do.”
“Why do you think this is emotionally unhealthy?”
“Ugh, there you go again, you talk in this tone of voice like this is a game. “Why do you think this is unhealthy?”, he mimics. “When an alcoholic says, ‘I can’t drink anymore,’ would you say “why do you think alcohol is unhealthy for you?’ No, you’d just leave them alone.”
So that set the tone for our conversation. I have to say, I appreciate his honesty. I only wish it could be somehow connected to ability to feel emotion.
He continued to hammer home all the reasons he couldn’t be with me.
“Look, Chestnut. You’re hot. You’re a beautiful woman. It’s true. I could go on fucking you, like, forever. And you’d probably let me. Or maybe you’d stop at some point. But when the sex is gone, I don’t wanna be around you. I feel something like repulsion. It’s nothing you’re doing, but every bone in my body says to get away.”
Okay, honest. A little dick-sh, but only like a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10.
“And I think you like me because I’m a good listener. Because I listen to you. The part of me that’s not a dick listens and doesn’t tell you to “shut up” even though you talk, at length, about subjects that I just do not care at all about. You just go on and on and I just don’t care.”
Okay, we’re getting closer to a 10 now on the scale.
“And you tell me things just because you want to say them. You’re like [and he says this in a mimic of my voice] “I’m Chestnut and I want to hear myself talk.” You don’t care that I don’t want to listen.”
Okay. Full 10.
Feeling hurt, I say “I need a minute to gather myself because I don’t know how to respond to that.”
We sit in silence. I manage some kind of response. He says a few more things that my mind has healthily seemed to block from my memory and so it goes, till he says “I’m leaving.”
I follow him to the door to say one last thing about how I’d like to end this peacefully., but he continues. “And then” (referring to the long pauses I need to take throughout the conversation to gather my emotional responses “I can always generate something to say, but YOU, you just take forever with long silences to come up with what you’re going to say, and then you can’t even get a full sentence out. You just draw everything out forever.”
I did not bother to point out that this statement was slightly contradictory to his earlier observation.
It was hard to continue to hold him with the love that I feel for the man underneath his black shield of defenses and pain and desire to hurt me, and to bear the pain that I was feeling at his sharp criticism of me.
“You know what Mr. X? I can talk pretty easily about any subject as you’ve said, but it takes more time and is a different skill to express emotion. I’ve never seen you even try to do that so it’s not hard to understand why you wouldn’t know what it’s like to have trouble finding words.”
(It seems whenever he is at a loss and unable to express emotion, he just digs down deep into his piggy bank full of criticsms and jabs and pulls one out to throw at the lucky other participant).
“Ok, whatever. I don’t want to have this conversation.”
Good bye Mr. X.
After he left, I couldn’t help it. I teared up a bit. I did. I can’t help it. I have a thing for dickheads. I called my dear friend Thomas to talk. Halfway through a point I was making in the conversation, I got insecure and stopped myself. I heard Mr. X’s words: “you talk, at length, about things I don’t care about.” Suddenly I was worried about boring Thomas, and I couldn’t think. I realized that this was a subtle fear I’d always had, and that I often stopped myself from making a point or telling a story because of this. I realized that Mr. X was like the living, breathing, more articulate version (providing he’s not a vampire, which I am still not sure about), of that mean doubtful little critic in my head.
And I remembered this scene from Perks of Being a Wallflower: SCENE (click here)
“Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we’re nothing?”
“We accept the love we think we deserve.”
And I realized that what I need to do is to develop a new relationship with my own inner Mr. X, and maybe my Inner Mr. X will change. And as that changes, I can start to date people who affirm my kinder, more confident inner voice, people who I deserve and who deserve me.
A song and a recipe to recapture my self-love:
4 cups boiling water
2 lemons, juiced
1 lemon, sliced
- 2 Tbsp honey
3 tsp ginger root, grated
4 juniper berries*, crushed fine (juniper berries are not recommended during pregnancy nor for those with a history of kidney/liver ailments)
- 1/8 tsp dry red chili flakes, optional
- 4 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks