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Sunday, August 17, 2014 

Se Acabo

12 years is a long time. Just ask Solomon Northrup. Twelves years also just so happened to be the age difference between myself and my now ex-girlfriend. And honestly, the age gap was literally the least of our troubles. When you show love for the STAR WARS prequels, that's sort of a deal breaker. But I digress...

About a month ago, after nearly three years, the worst and least reciprocal relationship I have ever had the displeasure of being in came to an end. By both party's admission, it should have ended long before now but the difference is, I knew a lot sooner than I ever let on. One could say I'm exaggerating but the truth is, I knew from Day One that we were incompatible but I'm not a quitter and when I set my sights on something or someone, I tend to persist until I have it. In this situation, once it was mine, I crossed my fingers and just hoped for the best. Lesson learned: the last thing you should do in a relationship is wait for the other person to change.

Every story has two sides and I'm sure that if you spoke to the other side of this particular story, they would also have their laundry list of complaints. Fair enough. I never claimed to be perfect. But for a guy who can be a bit emotionally closed off at times and sometimes an irresponsible procrastinator, I'd say I wasn't a bad boyfriend. It wasn't uncommon for me to drive all over creation any time of day or night because she didn't have a car, bring my girlfriend breakfast in bed nearly every Saturday morning, surprise her with dinner or a gift and all the other normal, regular stuff that boyfriends do like going out dancing, to the movies or to nice restaurants for dinner. Anything she asked for, if it was within my means, I made it happen. Of course, her response to that would be "I didn't ask for any of that" which is about the most hated and immature response one can give in my book. Had I not done those things, how far would the relationship have gone, how long would it have lasted? Don't act like I could've gotten away with NOT doing those things and everything would've still be okay. But anyway...

The trouble began when I noticed she would act like a petulant teenager whenever I had any favor to ask. When she had relationship concerns, I was supposed to be all ears and I was, and eager to correct whatever it is that needed fixing. However, if I had a problem, my issues were met with immediate derisiveness and all-out scorn. "If you don't like me then go date someone else!" was the most common response. If I asked her to simply make the bed we slept in, she compared it to being in "boot camp." When she and I lived together, if something came up where I was going to be late or not come straight home from work, I often dropped her a text to let her know. When I suggested it might be nice to give me that same courtesy, I got labelled as "controlling." If I became frustrated with her lack of attention where it concerned my feelings, I was deemed "angry." Are you seeing where this is headed?

Listen: I don't want to make this a laundry list of petty complaints. I could talk about her complete lack of respect for anyone's time other than her own (she's literally late for EVERYTHING except her job because, of course, that would impact her directly. She hates to wait on others but everyone should expect to wait an extra hour for her because hey, that's just "how she is" and the world should accept it and be on her timetable. And it would be understandable if important work made her late or something urgent came up, but I was present to observe: ten times out of ten, it was because she wanted to lie on the couch and watch another episode of some reality television show). But that being said, my girlfriend was selfish in the absolute worst ways and saw zero room for improvement within herself and therefore was above any sort of criticism, constructive or otherwise. Anything I said that shattered that false perception was considered a "personal attack." Check it out: people don’t grow if they aren’t willing to challenge themselves about who they really are. And growth takes a certain degree of humility. You can’t see yourself as perfect all the time, or in all honesty, even nearly perfect. The same way you wouldn’t attempt to have a serious conversation with someone who was drunk or high, it was equally futile to attempt to have one with someone so full of themselves. She was literally incapable of believing that she was in any way to blame for anything ever.

In her mind, just by virtue of being someone's girlfriend, she expected and deserved to be pampered and spoiled non-stop for the duration of the relationship. However, if you so much as said, "Hey, I just worked 12 hours and my hands are full, do you mind taking the trash out?" (which was, at the time, a fifty yard walk down the hall) and you would think I slapped her. This is a girl who was so high maintenance she once complained my dinner plates were too heavy (too big and heavy for her to WASH, ended up being the real reason). Last I checked, plates sat ON a table. You're not holding it; you're eating off of it. What does it matter what it weighs? I should have expected this, actually, considering her two previous long term relationships were in high school and college, both with guys who had never had a girlfriend before. I'm certain she ran roughshod over both of these boys with her ways and now, looking back, I pity them. Her college boyfriend used to actually pick her up at the Metro station where I parked because she'd ride back to that station with me. I used to pick her up from there often, too, once we started dating. Now I wonder how many times she duped me into doing the same thing. Considering she used to lie to me about the true nature of her relationship with one of her exes so that they could continue to be "friends", I surely don't put it past her.

If it wasn't for her or benefit her in some way, she didn't do it. When we first met, she was one of those girls who tried to get you to park as closely to wherever it is we were going so as not to have to walk an extra twenty steps. It only stopped when she began walking to lose weight. And this might be TMI, but she always liked to make a big deal about how long she held onto her virginity. Check this out: this girl was the LEAST sexual person I have ever been around. To her, at least in the beginning, sex was a chore that was for someone else's gratification, not hers, so she had little to no interest in engaging in it. As long as her man still took her out and didn't ever expect anything in return, their dealings could be absolutely sex-less as far as she was concerned. So bragging that you didn't do it until later in life failed to impress me. That would be like me harping on the fact that I’ve never tried cocaine: if you were never in a hurry or didn't have a "taste" for it, then why should you be lauded for resisting a temptation that didn't exist? In fact, of all the people she’s had sex with, I remain the first and only one that she was actually in a boyfriend/girlfriend relationship with at the time. Red flag numero THOUSAND.

I broke it down to one of my best friends thusly -- if you look at a relationship as a job of sorts, there are tasks. If we rank those tasks on a scale of one to ten, it might look like such: Vacations, shopping sprees, expensive dinners, these things would rank on the high end of the scale. Doing small favors, household chores, making meals; these things would be near the bottom. In my eyes, you can't constantly ask for and expect things that are consistently near the 10s when you aren't willing to do the stuff that's near the 1s. If you want me to take you on a vacation to another country, then maybe I shouldn't have to argue with you for a week or get sideways glances about washing dishes, is all I'm saying. You can't expect that I'm going to break out my wallet and say, "Hey, here's some money to get your hair and nails done this weekend" when if I even suggest that maybe we not eat out EVERY single night because you NEVER cook, I get a whole heap of attitude. Not to mention, it's not as if this girl was unemployed or an educator; she has a government job that pays her fairly well.

One of my close friends called her a "gimme girl" which made me chuckle. But in a sense, it's true. I'll wrap this up with a short story: about two weeks after we began dating, my girlfriend suddenly had an itch to get away. Other than studying abroad for a semester or so, she had never really traveled. So after a mere TWO WEEKS of dating, she was constantly on my back about taking her away on a cruise. In my mind, I knew I wasn't ready to make that kind of investment and I had just started a new job where I couldn't even take that kind of time off right away. I arranged a fairly nice weekend getaway for our "anniversary" to keep her quiet until I could determine if this was even someone I wanted to go away like that with (which she, in turn, despite enjoying herself and me spending, I guarantee, what a cruise might have cost, treated it like it was a poor substitution for what she had really been asking for). In the midst of this, my birthday rolls around. She takes me out to dinner and at the end of the dinner, she hands me an envelope. Inside is a birthday card and announcement for my gift, her crowning achievement and go-to story throughout this entire relationship. If I have to tell you what she got ME for MY birthday, what was in that envelope, then you just haven't been paying attention. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it was a cruise.

Towards the end, she once asked me why I always looked so unhappy with her. I no longer think that question requires an answer. She once had the audacity to tell me that she is a "relationship" person; that she prefers to be in a relationship instead of being single. Well, judging by her definition of a "relationship", I can see why that might be. Unfortunately, her idea of a relationship isn't really what one is supposed to be like. And trust me, she's much happier being in the streets and "dating"; looking for "love" in the club and between all the free drinks and dinners until she finds the guy that she finds worthy enough to do it on a regular basis. which likely won't take her long. She's still getting what she's really after either way. I told her once before and I still stand by it: a boyfriend to her was an accessory, like a new purse and the only reason she "loved" it or being around it was for what it could do for her.

Today, my friends notice the difference. I'm a happier guy. It’s amazing how much more laid back and less annoyed you can be without a heap of someone else’s selfish idiosyncrasies to deal with daily. I make it to events on time and when I go to the movies, I get great seats now. My stove top and oven are actually in use. A layer of dust no longer resides on my furniture and I don't have to stop my stories mid-conversation and give an explanatory history lesson because the person I'm talking to parents were so strict that the first eighteen years of their life was tantamount to living on another planet. I'm no longer around someone who thought their sole responsibility as a girlfriend was to simply be an ornament. It's a good feeling. I'm back.