I know what you’re thinking. You don’t want to show your cards. If you’re vulnerable, then there’s room for you to get hurt. It’s easier to just keep things the way they are, at an arm’s distance. That way you never have to feel too much. Don’t worry. Honestly, I totally get it, because I’m the same way.
Can’t we just keep it short and sweet?
If we end it right in the throes of infatuation, remembering it only for the nights entangled in romance and lust, before there could be any complications or hurt pride,
then we’ll both be safe. We won’t have to suffer the sting of rejection and the blow of, ‘it’s not working.’
Let’s be honest, this is just a game. Who can get out first with the least amount of pain? Who can emerge victorious and feel like the one who made the executive decision? Speaking of, when do I make said decision? What if I’m too late or too early? Surely there must be a sweet spot, right? I have to play this card at the right time.
That’s right, we’ll both leave while the getting’s good. It’ll only be the comfortable feelings and pleasant memories made, with no serious dependence on the future. I’m only thinking of both of us here.
If it’s never official between us, then eventually, even when it hurts, we can wear a brave face and act like it never really mattered at all. Inside we’ll be on the floor, mere puddles of human, wondering why we were too scared to just give it a try.
Why wasn’t it like this before? Back when we were younger and more reckless with our hearts we didn’t play the same way. It was fast and addictive in the beginning because we had no idea what a broken heart felt like yet. We didn’t have experience with this danger that existed beyond the shattered first image of love. Then it hits, and the pain is unlike anything in this world. The come down from love is worse than any drug could ever be.
Once that pain is engrained, we do everything we can to avoid it again. Don’t get in too deep.
Don’t play with our whole hearts, keeping one foot firmly rooted to land just in case. We can’t fall and get hurt like that again. We have to be in control this time.
We have other options, too. Saying you want to take time to focus on your career when you’re 30 is completely understandable, but probably wasn’t on your mind at age 18 during that first love. The world gets bigger, and so do the possibilities, and the demon of desire rears its ugly head again.
Is he really the best I can get? Is this worth risking heartbreak for? What kind of gamble am I taking here?
By the time we’re Facebook friends, I’ll already know what your ex girlfriend looks like, what your best friends share with you, where you’ve been before, and what you wore to your best friend’s wedding. You’ll know all of the same things about me. It’s public information, after all. We both made it so.
It’s not that we want to go through photos from 2007. We know we’re better than that. We’re not the type to stalk someone’s past and judge but we can’t resist the chance to conduct the due diligence. We look for cracks in the veneer, getting to know this online personality rather than the actual person. I might know that you love Metallica thanks to Spotify but I may never know your Sunday morning routine. You won’t let me in that far.
I won’t send you two texts in a row and God forbid I even consider actually calling you.
I don’t want to appear to be more into this than you are.
Then you’ll lose interest or feel too much pressure. I’ll never tell you that I imagine loving even boring Wednesday nights with you and you’ll never admit to me that you think about me every day at least once.
We won’t delete Tinder because that would eliminate too many possibilities. Eventually we’ll talk less and less. Then it’ll all fall apart from a Whatsapp read receipt. I’ll think you took too long to respond. You’ll post something on your Facebook timeline that I find a way to misinterpret and my opinion of you will slowly change. I’ll notice that you liked some girl’s photo and convince myself that I’m just one of many in your harem. Maybe it’s true. I’ll never know for sure.
We’ll blame the other person subconsciously while simultaneously wishing against all better judgment that this one could have worked out. I’ll feel inconsolable for a few days.
But the ‘ding’ on my phone of another liked photo, another ‘awesome!’ comment, another thumbs up, will keep my opinion of myself afloat until I can find another one of you, and I guess you’ll do the same. As long as we continue this way, we’ll never have to feel too much.
How on earth did we ever get here?
For more from Kristin Addis, follow her on Instagram @BeMyTravelMuse or buy her book A Thousand New Beginnings.