You don’t ask questions about the people I talk about. You aren’t curious to know who fills up my days, what they’re like, or how I relate to them. I want to know all about your people. I want to understand your social constructs and the things that make you tick. I want to know who makes you smile. I want to know who loves you and why you love them too. Why wouldn’t you want to know that about me?
You don’t compliment me enough. Sure, I may require a bit more validation than the average person, but are words of affirmation so difficult? Should I have to lead you down paths to try to convince you I have value?
You don’t come to mind. When I think of a funny joke or read a thought-provoking quote or hear an interesting story, you’re never the one I think to tell first.
You think you’re better than I am. You didn’t think I noticed? I did. It screams out your pores. You think you’re more talented or more logical or more deserving of admiration, and I think you’re full of shit. Well, that’s not fair. I think you’re great, actually. Wonderful. I think you deserve all the nice and good things in the world. And I want someone who thinks the same about me.
You’re not adventurous. Whether it’s dining or travel or odd Sunday activities, you’re wary of anything outside your comfort zone. You’re looking for a life of Netflix and burritos and making out after playing board games, and I’ve no interest in watching my life slip into unremarkable oblivion.
You say unkind things to me. You call me names or lash out in anger. I don’t need to say anything more about that.
You don’t make an effort with your appearance. I put in a lot of time and energy to look good for you, to smell nice for you, to be pleasing to you. I expect some reciprocation. When you revert to T-shirts and grunge after only four or five dates, I can see how little I’m worth in your eyes.
You’re negative. As a person with a wide emotional range and depressive tendencies, I understand the occasional misanthropic moment. I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and hateful, to despair, but those thoughts need to pass. They need to be fleeting moments that punctuate an otherwise pleasant existence. If you’re here to rot, I won’t do it with you. I won’t let you poison my calm, and I won’t waste my time trying to lift you up.
You don’t feel safe. If I wanted to surprise you, maybe, or make an odd statement, I’d have to think too hard about it first, to wonder if you’d judge me, to look before I leap. I find myself saying “sorry” more than I say “you make me happy,” and of course, you wouldn’t know that’s one of my favorite things to say because you don’t make me feel secure enough to say it. You put me ill at ease, whether through condescension or dismissiveness or your own chaotic fears about what it means to be in a relationship—fears you will, of course, attribute to a failing of character on my part.
You make me feel bad about something fundamental, like I’m distractible or neurotic or emotional about my past. It’s something I can’t change or that I’ve been trying to change, slowly, over years and years. Maybe I’m not proud of these traits, but they’re a part of who I am, and I can’t just wake up one day and be different. Even if I could, would you want someone who’d be willing to change so readily for you?
You don’t seem to like me. Maybe we got this far because you were bored or thought I was hot or wanted an easy lay. I don’t know. All I know is that you seem, with every fiber of your being, to disdain the person in bed next to you, and I’ve done this — been this pathetic hanger-on — too many times before.
I won’t do it anymore. I can’t. I can’t. I won’t.