Brief Interviews With Indecisive People

I consider doing a project called Brief Interviews With Indecisive Men. In it, I’d cull together all the conversations I’ve had lately with men who can’t make up their minds about relationships. Though honestly, that wouldn’t be fair and perhaps, my own fascination with this subject comes from my propensity for bailing on partners just as things get serious. So it isn’t men. It’s people. It’s people who fear commitment or fear acknowledging that their lives need to jump to the “Next Step” whatever that means for them personally. Oh, “The Next Step.” The fabled “Next Step.”

“We got married because we’d been together five years and it was just the next step.”

Where is this next step? How do people get there?

On a normal staircase, I’d look up and be able to see where my feet are going to land. But in life? How do people know? I mean, really know, for sure what the “Next Step” is. Why do people who say that always seem so certain?

The language we use is so dismissive. “She just doesn’t know what she wants.”

Of course. Does anyone?


“It’s like a mountain right? And I’m almost to the top and I could round the top of the mountain and settle up there and be happy or I could backtrack all the way to the bottom and start trekking up other mountains, you know? What’s on this mountain? What’s on this one?”

“So it’s about…”

“Conquest, yeah. Or I guess, being afraid of moving forward.”

“That’s bleak.”

“Sure is.”


So fine. I bail. I get half-way through the marathon or whatever metaphor you want to use, and then, I take off. I deviate from the path. I don’t so much not reach the finish line as I’m completely unaware of what the finish line is or when you get there. I see my friends getting married or living in Brooklyn with their boyfriend or girlfriend and six cats and it’s like watching some weird documentary about what people are like before I, an alien from space, am sent down to mingle with them. I get it, but I don’t get it.

How do you do that every day? How do you just stay with that person and never question and never feel trapped and never want out?

I never know what I want. I’m usually deep in the danger zone before I realize it’s time to go. Something like:

“Abort mission!”

“But Captain, you’re about to land the lunar module on the moon. You’re so close.”

“Yeah, …no. We should probably just pack up and go home. Or you know, see other planets.”

“But you’re about to land!”

“….Hmmm. Nah. Let’s forget the whole thing. Abort.”


Here’s what I’m worried will happen.

I fall in love. I really fall in love. I decide this is it. I am doing this. I am making it work this time. I move forward. I go through all the motions and I am happy because I love this person. We move in together. All the noise in my head becomes a dull throbbing. I close. I shut off the carousel ride of doubt and anxiety clouding my brain. I turn off. I power down.

I get married or make some similar commitment. I try not to think twice. This is what people do. This is what everyone does.

But like clockwork, my body knows what time it is. My body wants to run. “No,” I tell it. “You’re staying. We’ve decided to stay.”

My body runs. My heart runs. I run.

Let’s skip that part. Let’s have a career and friends and a full life without whatever society is telling me I have to do and yeah, let’s just…skip that part.


“Why can’t I just tell him, hey, I’m going through a thing. Sorry if I’m being a crazy butthead right now?”

“You can’t just tell a guy that,” she says.

“Why not? Why am I supposed to just play this game where I act normal when I don’t feel normal? Why can’t I just be honest with him? Why don’t people do that? I feel like we’d all understand each other better if we did that.”

“You can’t just tell a guy you’re crazy.”

“….Fine. I won’t.”


“It’s so doomed,” I tell him about us (the new “us”) over dinner. “But it’s happening anyway.”

“Well.” He laughs. “You kind of just described life,” he says.


I cry a little bit to myself while standing on the subway platform waiting for the L to take me from Brooklyn to Manhattan. My phone doesn’t have service so I type in a bunch of text messages to you that I’ll never hit “send” on.

On the phone with you, I also cry. You don’t know I’m crying. I tell you about another time when I cried and you didn’t know, when we’d ended an email correspondence — an innocuous one — and I’d cried myself to sleep for no reason I can figure out.

Even when I’m happy with you, I want to cry.


My little sister asks how I’ve been doing since being single and I tell her I drunkenly asked a guy if I could touch his hair in a cab the other night.

“Hm,” she replies via text. “Have u tried maybe…not being creepy?”


I’ll think I’m over it and then something will hit me and I won’t be over it. How can I not be over it?

I hadn’t thought about you in weeks. Not like that. And then suddenly, I’m remembering my bare feet on your tile and a staircase in a parents’ home and a baseball cap and the lighting in a bathroom and a bed.

Are you waiting for me? Is that what this is?

Or are we both just waiting for something else because — really, what else are we supposed to do? TC Mark

image – Todd Klassy

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  • Guest

    You have described my sentiments so perfectly. I always thought that when you love someone the second thoughts would vanish but they just always nag at me.

  • Wayne Z.


  • Only L<3Ve @

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  • Liz

    Too relatable. Besides your personal memories, of course, but I can substitute my own.

  • BekahN.

    “It’s so doomed,” I tell him about us (the new “us”) over dinner. “But it’s happening anyway.”

    “Well.” He laughs. “You kind of just described life,” he says.

    I love this.

  • panmnPan

    Totally relatable, one piece that actually hit a nerve for a while on here.

  • yes


  • Claire

    Ugh. This is so true. But here’s one thought – the fear that usually comes along with anything that is eventually gratifying (like big scary commitments) is a GOOD thing – it means you’re pushing yourself into something new that is rewarding in the end. But wow this piece is so me.

  • Veronica


  • Madison

    Dead on. I don’t know what to do. Sometimes I love the idea of us and sometimes I pray that our friendship can make it through the craziness I’m putting you through right now because you being my friend is something that I love. I’m sorry but I’m not sorry because this indecisiveness is how I feel. Yet, you keep waiting around for me to make up my mind. Does that mean you are worth all the confusion and I should just date you already !? Help. I’m sick of thinking about this all the time and I’m sick of myself feeling this feeling. Thanks for the article

  • Lav

    “Even when I’m happy with you, I want to cry”

    thats so true.

    but sometimes you do know. its not about not having second thoughts, its not about not having fears. you get scared that they’ll hurt you and that you’ll both end up in a lull and you feel like ^ the above, but you still KNOW this is right. and THIS PERSON is the one, and noone else would make you happier. and if you don’t know, or if you think, maybe something out there could make me happier. then it’s not it.

    it’s possible to love someone and know that he isn’t it. (maybe you love an idea, his kindness, the possibility or maybe you’re just so wrapped up in your own fears)

    and you can love someone and know this is it.

    im not saying how you think or feel is wrong or that people who are truly in love don’t go through that. i’m just saying, it’s possible to KNOW. it really is.

  • iamchp

    Reblogged this on .

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