When I think about all the time I’ve wasted trying to “figure you out” and rationalize your awful behavior, I can’t help but feel a cold desperate chill come over me. All the times I’ve apologized on your behalf to my friends and made pitiful excuses, my face flushes in embarrassment. You see, I was convinced that whatever shortcomings you had were merely codes for me to decipher. Deep down, I thought there was someone I could love, someone that actually had thoughts and feelings and wasn’t a total sociopath. But the moment I stopped looking for it was the moment I realized that there was no grand surprise, no method to your madness.
You, sir, were just an asshole.
It’s okay, it’s okay. The second I stopped lying to myself, I was liberated by the truth. I actually don’t know why we always assume that there is a giant teddy bear lurking behind the facade of an asshole. I think we give human beings too much credit. Let’s face it, sometimes an asshole is just an asshole and that’s all he or she ever wants to be. There is no lightbulb epiphany. Any tender moments exhibited by the asshole are just clever exercises in manipulation, a sneaky way to throw us off their true scent.
When I realized that I could never turn you into this amazing boyfriend, I wasn’t upset. In fact, I was elated! Finally the veil was lifted and I could move on. I sat with you on your bed and you said something typically offensive and then it just dawned on me.
Me: Oh my god.
The Asshole: What?
Me: (smiling) You’re an asshole.
The Asshole: No, I’m not. Why are you smiling?
Me: Yes. Yes you are. You are a total and complete asshole. (pause) Thank you. Thank you. This is just what I needed. I can finally go now.
You were probably left wondering why I thought you were an asshole, which is actually frightening because it’s just so damn obvious. You are an asshole because you tear me down in little ways that make it deliberately hard for me to pinpoint and address. You are an asshole because you say “hi” to me on Gchat and then when I respond, you sign off. You are an asshole because your affection for me can be turned on and off like a light switch. I never know if today is going to be the day you wake up and decide you’re done with me for good. You like to see me squirm, knowing full well that you have all the power.
That’s the issue here. You have all the power and I have zero, which is something that was implicitly established between us in the beginning. And when it finally resonated with me that I could never get what I wanted from you and that there wasn’t some amazing back story that would explain your dickish behavior, I was able to get all of my power back. That’s why I was smiling on the bed that day. Because I was finally done searching for something that didn’t exist and I could get myself back.