Find yourself suddenly unable to sing along to songs with her. Begin to notice that you’ve begun holding back smiles and laughter when you’re together. Realize that it isn’t as exciting to be around her as it once was, and that the idea of sex is now approached with something like dread.
Begin to notice other women’s bodies. Don’t stop yourself from watching the pretty girl that walks around naked in the apartment across the street. Become attracted to other women at random, but feel hopeless in each instance, knowing that you probably wouldn’t be satisfied with them, either. Hope, in any case, that one of them reaches out to you one day, asking only to have sex with you and assuring you that they don’t want anything else.
Believe that you couldn’t cheat, even if you wanted to (and you do). You’re too into the relationship – your days are too full of it. Every day, you wake up together, have breakfast together, and plan your day together. It would be too complicated.
Happen upon an internet relationship with a semi-attractive girl whose body looks better than her face. Tell your girlfriend you’re going on a four-day camping trip with a friend, kiss her goodbye, take the bus to the airport, and fly to the internet girl. After a night of awkward sex, realize that still, no girl has what your girl has. Understand the despair associated with this – that you’ll either die alone or unsatisfied. Fly home and tell your girlfriend what you’ve done. She’ll cry and be hurt but she’ll stay with you.
Act out the revival of your relationship, then watch it wane. Become more estranged than you’ve ever been. Explain that you’ve started sleeping on the couch every night because your back hurts and you need your own space – not because you don’t want to be close to her. Reduce your frequency of eye contact gradually. Begin to appear focused on your laptop when she enters the room. Address her only when her back is turned. Notice a tiny, sharp dread just before your mouth kisses hers. Start feeling averse to physical contact.
Feel resigned about the fact that sex sometimes doesn’t happen for weeks. Start to feel apathetic about lack of intimacy, orgasm and physical touch. Become overly silly. Hide the fact that you’re not addressing her problems with jokes, funny voices, inappropriately loud talking and tickling. Mask an emotionally empty night with a bottle of wine – after an hour you won’t be responsible for your relationship anymore. No one expects you to work through problems after you’ve been drinking. That’s been roped off as “relax time.” Turn on the TV and talk only about what’s on the TV.
Begin to manipulate her into thinking that her emotions are wrong. Subtly take shots at her for her recent inability to orgasm, never initiating sex, having problems she can’t explain, feeling “off,” being stressed out, feeling anxious, and being clumsy. Use logic and reason to implicate your girlfriend’s emotions in crimes against the relationship and your happiness. Begin to forget you’re manipulating her and start to believe your own convoluted lies.
Start to relish in the logical victories you have. The ones where you prove that her feelings are unreasonable. Follow such logic with statements like “it’s just that way,” “it’s just a fact, I’m sorry if facts hurt you,” and “I’m not going to be dishonest. Do you really want that? Do you want me to lie to you?” When she’s hurt by such “facts,” employ logic again – this time to show her how being hurt by “facts” is itself a crime against the relationship.
Encourage her to go out with her friends, on weekend trips, and on longer vacations with her family. Begin to anticipate with a kind of depressed excitement the times you know you’ll have the apartment to yourself. Masturbate to porn once she’s gone. When you’re finished, remember to put her lotion back where she keeps it. When you hear her keys opening up the front door, realize the dread you feel. When she steps through, hug her and hope she doesn’t smell the lotion you used to masturbate.
Begin to notice how distant you two really are. Realize in a moment of clarity that recently, the majority of your conversational interactions have been efforts to stop the interaction from continuing. Efforts to create situations where communication is not required or expected. When she catches on and grills you on this, sit in front of her paralyzed, never make eye contact, shake your head and repeat “I don’t know.” Feel ashamed that you’ve allowed this to happen. That you’re consciously and deliberately preferring mediocrity. Feel like this isn’t okay.
Spring a night out on her, one she doesn’t expect. Suggest it at 10 p.m. to color it with the excitement of spontaneity. Go to the bar, order fancy cocktails, and sit in the corner, oppressed by the feeling of other people around you. Have nothing to talk about. Feel nervous while she looks at you expectantly. Begin to feel embarrassed by the thought of other people looking at you two and thinking you’re on an extremely awkward date or just an extremely lame couple. When she mentions that it seems like you two have nothing to talk about, start hating yourself. Agree with her and feel retarded. Leave the bar in what seems like too short a time and feel like your relationship has had another failure of a night, another failure to solve its problems.