When I think back on all the boys I dated and tried to love, I realize that none of them could make me laugh.
It’s strange. You’d think not having a sense of humor would be one of the first things you notice but for some reason I managed to block it out. I’d start dating someone and before I had a chance to really get to know their personality, I’d project all of my favorite qualities on to them. Suddenly this snoozefest of a dude was charismatic and funny because I said so, dammit!
Smash cut to a few months later: I’m dating a person I have nothing in common with. I mean, he likes blowjobs and I like blowjobs, but that’s about as far as it goes. Now I have to face the rude truth, which is that this guy is nice, this guy is sweet, this guy has his shit together, but he isn’t playful or challenging. He doesn’t get it. He doesn’t make jokes. He isn’t silly.
Why are we so quick to forget humor? We describe people as funny on instinct but then we take a step back and ask ourselves, “Wait, are they funny? Have they EVER made me LOL?”
I was talking to a friend of mine recently about his relationship. He told me, “I really like her. She’s smart, has a great job, and is really easygoing. But…”
“Let me guess,” I interjected. “She’s never made you laugh. Not once.”
He paused. It was clear he had never even considered this before. “Yeah,” he said slowly. “I guess you’re right. She’s more reserved.”
He then went on to give a litany of examples in which his girlfriend refused to be goofy with him and, instead, rolled her eyes as if to say, “I’m tolerating this.”
“I need to be with someone who isn’t afraid to look stupid,” he finally said. “Otherwise, I just feel stupid.”
Here’s the deal: Life is hard. Life is stupid. Life is devastating. The only way to get through it is to laugh. First by yourself and then with someone else. I promise you it is the only thing that will keep you sane. I’ve laughed my way through my car accident, a billion surgeries, a drug problem, anxiety attacks. You name it, I’ve LOLed at it. What’s the alternative? How else do you cope?
I know everybody is different and that the idea of humor is subjective. Some people are serious and that’s okay! But what I’m saying goes beyond being funny and making your partner laugh. I’m talking about being with someone who understands the world the same way you do. That doesn’t mean you have to agree on everything—in fact, it’s better if you don’t—but there needs to be a common ground. You need to look at them and know that you’re both seeing the same thing. Or want to see the same thing.
There are consequences to dating someone who doesn’t get you. They appear small at first but then grow with time. You will feel alone as you watch them make you eggs. You will hate them when they do something sweet, like pick an eyelash off your face, and then you will hate yourself for hating something that was so clearly done with love. Worst of all, you will feel broken. “Is something seriously wrong with me?” you’ll ask your friend over two, three, four, five glasses of wine. “I’m dating someone who’s so sweet and amazing but I feel nothing for him.”
Nothing’s wrong with you. The relationship is wrong. Kill it with kindness and move on. If you don’t, you will feel more insane with each passing day.
When I was younger, I was able to ignore my gut instincts. I figured, how could I know what’s right for me at 21 or 22 when I don’t know myself at all? But that was a mistake. Even if you don’t know the answers yet, your gut instinct is like the smart girl in Chemistry class who will let you copy her homework. It’s a cheat sheet for your life and you should never ignore it. It’s the only thing that will never fuck you over.
I know this now. I don’t have the luxury to ignore the truth anymore. Now if something feels off, I can’t spend the next four months in denial and say to myself, “Well, it’s better than being alone.” Because it’s not. It never was.