I refuse to be with you unless you realize that sometimes I’m going to wake up and I will hate myself and I will hate the world and I will maybe hate you too, for no reason whatsoever. On these days I will be pouty and unreasonable and incapable of smiling and the last thing I will want is for you to try and cheer me up, so your well intentioned overtures will only piss me off. What I will want is to be loved and accepted in spite of not being my most smiley self.
Because I don’t want to have to fake it around you—ever.
I refuse to be with you unless you agree that not having to pretend is the greatest gift we can give each other. In exchange for understanding that I’m a person with many dimensions—some wonderfully charming, some horribly tedious, and some laughably hypocritical—I will happily accept you in all of your shapes, sizes, and moods, too.
For the most part. I can’t say “always” because I know I’ll fuck up.
I refuse to be with you unless you respect and appreciate the reality that we will both fuck up on occasion. Neither of us will be the most loving partner possible every moment of our lives because the world is unpredictable and because shit happens and because no one is perfect enough NOT to mess up sometimes. I am incapable of being compassionate and understanding and helpful in every situation. And you are, too.
I refuse to be with you unless you hurt me sometimes. Because even if you’re the most decent person on the planet given to excessive kindness and good behavior, it’s impossible not to hurt the person you love sometimes. It’s impossible unless you’re not a real person. And I want to be with someone who’s human—someone who’s fallible and broken and vulnerable, like I am.
I refuse to be with you unless you’re open to forgiveness. Because when I do fuck up and hurt you, I plan to say “sorry”—eventually, once I muster the courage to—and I’d like some degree of reassurance that my apology will go over well. In exchange, I promise to forgive you promptly too.
Most of the time. To the best of my ability, as an inherently flawed human.
I refuse to be with you unless you expect that there will be times when forgiveness doesn’t come easily—because we’re driving each other crazy just by being our regular selves or we can’t find common ground on a quasi-important subject, like whether or not your friend’s sister looks likes she had a nose job, or one of us is picking a fight for no reason other than because they’re hungover, or bored. Or, because one of us has done something seemingly unforgivable, like cheat.
I refuse to be with you unless you acknowledge that monogamy isn’t the most challenging part of long-term love. Because commitment is. Sex is wonderful and sex matters and we are both living, breathing, sexual beings, but there are so many other things to worry about in a relationship—like taxes, broken glasses, and illness. Being faithful goes way beyond the vagina-meets-penis thing.
I refuse to be with you unless you recognize that staying together is going to be hard no matter what. That it will take a lot of work and it won’t always be pleasant and we aren’t necessarily stronger or more resilient than any other couple, in spite of what our friends and family say while toasting our union at our hypothetical wedding.
I refuse to be with you unless you’re stubborn as fuck—stubborn enough to do the work and to stick it out. To keep trying, even when staying together seems like the worst idea ever and breaking up seems like the only path back to happiness for both of us.
I refuse to be with you unless you refuse to accept that we’re not totally worth it.