What He’s Thinking When He Says “We Need To Talk”

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You read the text after your Saturday morning run through Prospect Park.

“We need to talk.”

No context, no explanation. Just those four words. It could mean only one thing…

Understandably, you freak the hell out.

You immediately call him, asking for some clarification. He refuses to say anything unless it’s in person. You drop your brunch plans with your roommate and demand to see him as soon as possible. He agrees to meet at Union Square in one hour.

After a quick shower, you hop onto to the G train. You run through a dozen possible scenarios in your head as you are sandwiched between a tall teenage boy playing Angry Birds Star Wars on his iPad and a thick Dominican man shouting in Spanish to the woman sitting right next to him.

Will he break it to you nicely? Will he say it straight up? How will he even bring it up?

You don’t understand. Everything was going so well.  But, then it hits you.

Was he that upset that you left the dirty dishes in the sink again? The straw that broke the camel’s back.

And, you were late to his birthday party because of that stupid meeting at work. He seemed pretty disappointed that night.

(You wish the boy playing on his iPad would just use headphones. The sound of canaries swinging lightsabers at pigs gets old after a while. It makes it hard to think.)

What about that time you had to cancel dinner plans because a high school friend showed up in town?  Or all those times you wanted to have a lazy movie night when he really wanted to go out? Or when you ate the last slice of pizza without asking if he wanted it?

You suddenly feel like the worst lover in the world. He’s right to dump you, you reason. Now, you brace yourself, deciding how to react. You know it’s coming but you can still pretend to be shocked. Maybe that’ll gain you some points for sympathy and he’ll change his mind. You learned to cry on demand in that one Drama class you took in college. Time to put those acting skills to work.

Hey, he wasn’t perfect, either. You could make yourself feel better by berating him about his own mistakes in the relationship.  But what would that get you?

You decide it’s best to handle the situation with dignity, like the Queen of England. Or Lady GaGa. Either one will work.

You get off the train and straighten your back. “I can do this,” you say to yourself. Take a deep breath. You stride towards Union Square like Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Confident. Stylish. You’ve got this, Wonder Woman!

It’s not the end of the world. There are other fish in the sea. You’re gorgeous, smart, and funny. You’ll find another chap before you know it.

But this one was special. You start to reminisce about all those good times as you wait for the streetlight to change.

Now who will watch Game of Thrones with you and comfort you when your favorite characters are killed off?

And who will play intense rounds of chess in the park with you for hours at a time?

Who else will try your cooking and pretend it’s edible?

What’s that you feel? Are those real tears running down your cheek? They immediately harden to ice in the bitter New York winter. You decide to leave them there.

Maybe your tears will illustrate what a terrible mistake he’s making.

You see him, standing next to the George Washington statue. As you walk towards him, you are approached by some random stranger who wants to give you a free hug. This happens every time you come here but, for the first time, you accept the free gift. You could use a hug right now. It feels good.

You walk over to him. He hugs you tightly and pecks you on the lips. He smiles as he looks into your eyes. You conclude he is either a psycho or a real jerk. How could he smile at a time like this?! (This situation merits an interrobang!)

He notices the frozen tears on your cheeks and asks you about them. You say it’s just your allergies acting up. Is he really that clueless? You begin to question your relationship and wonder if he was ever all that great.

Without missing a beat, he pulls your arm and drags you to the Best Buy across the street. What kind of cruel, tech-geek joke is this? You two walk into the store and stop right in front of a giant TV.

He admits that he’s been planning to buy you a big screen for ages but didn’t know which one you’d like. He wanted to bring you in person so you could decide together. Now, you two can watch everyone die on Game of Thrones in pristine 1080p.  You gawk at him and ask if this is what he wanted to talk about. He nods ignorantly.

You punch him hard in the arm and storm off.

Moral of the story: Please use the phrase “We need to talk” selectively and responsibly. TC Mark

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