Having a One-Year Stand

You can be with someone for an entire year and have it feel like a one-night stand. For 365 days, you can watch the sun rise while lying in bed with someone and want to slip out the door every time. You’d write them a note saying, “Had fun!” or maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you’d just run like hell.

It’s hard to understand why our feelings can be so ephemeral and betray us so often. You’d like to think you could love a certain someone just because they’re nice and cook you spaghetti and play the right Miles Davis song when you’re ready to have sex, but it’s never that simple. You know this now, but you didn’t know it then.

You’ll meet this person at a party, on the street, through a friend when you’ll be starving for affection. It’s been awhile since you’ve been shown any love, since you’ve been fed, and this person will seem right for the job. Fine. You’re hired. Love me.

In the beginning, everything about them will excite you. Their opinions on Woody Allen (GIVE ME MORE!), their upbringing, their aspirations: it will all be riveting. Study them like an archaeologist would study bones. Look through their history, look for cracks, look to see if they have a problem you aren’t willing to inherit.

Spend the entire weekend together and experience 48 hours of important lovely moments. You’re in your sheets intertwined and losing track of time, going out for a late dinner and maybe getting drunk off beer. You feel alive for the entire weekend. Everything you were doing before this? You were dead.

You sleep together quickly because everyone rushes into bed these days. You like what you see, feel, hear, and you like the idea of their body belonging to yours indefinitely. Yes! You’ll take it. Give me that body, babe.

Two months go by. You go to work, you go to your lover, and you go to dinner with your friends to talk about your lover. “It just feels nice to have somebody, you know? Whatever we have, it’s normal. It’s refreshing.” Say these words over and over even if you don’t know what they exactly mean. Your friend will nod and be happy for you and then there’ll be a pregnant pause, and you’ll have to say, “Enough about me! How’s working at the eating disorder unit at Beth Israel?!” This will be the natural flow of things. This is your life now. These are your dinners, these are your friends. This is it.

After five months, your relationship hit its apex at a noodle bar on Carmine and Bleecker on a Saturday afternoon. Across from you and your significant other, there was a woman by herself reading a book and gingerly eating her soup. She looked sad and frumpy and it made you clutch your lover’s hand that much tighter. You never felt more safe being in a relationship and vowed to never go back to dining at noodle bars alone or going grocery shopping to buy two cups of yogurt, three bananas, noodles and tomato sauce. Actually, you’re not sure if you ever did those things. You always eat out with your friends and you use FreshDirect for your groceries. Whatever. The point is that you never felt more secure in being with someone than you did that day.

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505759069 Julian Tully Alexander

    Way to build me up to smash me down. Going to be depressed for the rest of the day. Article seems way to similar to me. I still liked it though.

  • http://www.theuglynewyorker.com Stephanie Georgopulos

    Wonderful.

  • http://nothingspaces.com Carina

    I loved this a lot.

  • JD

    Why do so many relationships have to be this way? Do we all just fool ourselves into thinking that all relationships DON'T have an expiration date? Is finding 'the one' and 'everlasting love' 100% a product of Hollywood? I feel like we need to readjust our concept of long term relationships and love in general. It's all about compromising and realizing that no one is perfect (if, in fact, we decide a long term relationship is what we want). Otherwise, you can look at relationships like seasons or separate experiences–they come and go and we can be happy for the time we have with a particular person, but eventually it will end and we move on to the next.

  • Molly

    all too true. any solutions to offer the one-year-stand addicts of the world?

  • cake.

    oh gosh, this was so right on that my brain/heart/stomach hurts.

  • http://fleshy.org.nz/ Jonathan

    The reason is in the title. One night stands are all about you. Same for a one or 2 or seven year stand. Lots of marriages are like that or become like that. A lasting relationship is about you and also about them, and also about both of you. That's why they're harder and less frequent.

    If all you want is something for yourself, that's perfectly fine (note that all of the examples here are how the partner relates to you and makes you feel, or how the partner inconveniences you). But don't expect anything more than that if all you enjoy is how it relates to you and not to your partner.

  • francelleisms

    Parts of it struck a chord, but not entirely. On a side note, single or taken, I don't mind buying instant food and random ingredients for recipes in the grocery (I enjoy it, actually. It's sort of a weird natural high). Reading alone in cafes is therapeutic too. They didn't have to be depicted in a bad light. Also, not all relationships have to be like this, people just need to stop jumping into relationships for the wrong reasons.

    • John

      They're not bad but from the perspective of the person in that one-year stand, it is.

  • Kim

    agreed. depressed now and my stomach hurts, especially empathizing with the person on the other end of this one-year (or one-and-a-half year) stand……… ouch.

  • shoehorn

    yes, good, i identify

  • http://twitter.com/JosephErnest Joseph Ernest Harper

    Shit Bro'Connell. Genuinely feel like i want you to be happy as all hell. The boy of yr dreams or something. Shit. Fingers crossed.

    • Ryan O'Connell

      THX BEB!

  • indiangiver

    Life affirming. Realizing it's okay to be alone. This made my day. Reminded me that that 3 year stand may have meant something to me, but it never was love. And it's too bad about that friend I lost because he married her. I don't need to be involved with someone I never loved in the first place. But, Rebecca, I'll always love you.

  • indiangiver

    p.s. You're a genius.

  • http://twitter.com/cutsyjules91 Julie

    one year stand… like a one night stand but 365 times.. why is this so true?

  • es

    damn..thanks for making me think i just started one of these.

    • es

      feel doomed now…

  • Louie

    WOW. THIS.

    You made me appreciate and regret being me in 09. Thank you and f*ck you (in a good way, I promise).

  • VV

    too close for comfort

  • Laurel

    This is too way too close for comfort. Why did you have to break it down this way? Makes it so saddening how unconsciously we could all be so selfish.

  • Willa Huang1

    No lessons are free. We always pay out in the end; time..love…both.

  • mick

    Your metaphors lose a lot of their poignancy when they don't make sense.

  • pbeez

    this was well-written, makes a lot of sense and feels like it was written trying to justify feelings from a recent breakup; an exercise in a 12-step program.

  • http://www.facebook.com/reeves.tash Natasha Reeves

    ” Your happiest moment together had nothing to do with them, it had to do with you no longer being alone.” Never thought of it that way. It is a little disturbing. Makes me question all the feelings of love I have ever had. Thank you for some soul searching. 

  • angela a

    So accurate!!! This is what I’ve been feeling, couldn’t have put it into words that well tho.

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