It's beginning to be something of a habit with us. Anytime I do something that upsets her, like buying the wrong necklace (how am I supposed to know that shrunken heads are out this season?) or 'sleeping' with the cute newspaper stand girl (excuse me, Jennifer, but despite the numerous refractory periods there was certainly no SLEEPING going on, okay?) or coming to bed in full S.S. regalia (and I thought you were kinky) she kicks me to the curb.
Fifteen minutes later we've made up. It's starting to become a predictable fact of life, like shifting weather patterns or Republican dissembling.
And so I have been thinking about the nature of the break-up. The break-up is an interesting animal because it is both pessimistic and optimistic at the same time. The pessimism comes from the fact that this relationship, upon which hopes and dreams of long-lasting companionship and mind blowing sex were pinned and, can go no further. The dream has died and for a time life feels like a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.
The optimistic side of things is what fuels most breakups and can be expressed more simply. "Eh. I can do better." Indeed many of the times Jenny has dumped me, only to allow me to come crawling back mere minutes later, it has been for just that reason. One time we were out for a walk and she thought she saw Alfred Molina (who is, apparently, smoking hot). She quickly told me that we weren't right for one another because I was too controlling and at the same time not nearly controlling enough and broke off in hot pursuit, only to make a U-turn and return to me when she saw it was in fact an entirely different Molina. Possibly Bengie. Another time we were about to watch a movie and she just wanted to be able to fantasize about being free in case Ron Perlman called. I wept into the popcorn for about half an hour, causing her to complain that it was "a little too salty."
The truth is, even excluding Alfred and Ron she probably could do better. It's actually pretty hard to do worse than an obese unemployed hack writer with a receding hairline. I'm the kind of guy girls date so they can tell their daughters horror stories in the future and tell them to never date anyone even vaguely similar. "Stick to bankers or professional wrestlers. The former will always have money for dinner or a show and the latter will always pull out your chair for you, even if only to whack the waiter in the head with it."
Breakups come in all shapes sizes and durations, but they always hurt at some level. Unlike the optimistic breaker upper the broken up with person always feels like he was inadequate, and often he doesn't know why. One day you're praised for adding a few pinches of strong cheese to your breakfast of scrambled eggs, the next it's dumpsville when you do the same to the pancakes. And you're left with the same thought virtually every time. "I can't believe she left me. How can I get even?" And you can't. Because even if you become rich and famous and marry a supermodel she can still shrug her shoulders at the mention of your name and say "Oh that guy? Yeah, I dumped him."
Now some of you may be asking why I put up with this kind of treatment from my girlfriend. Why don't I get someone who really wants to be with me? Bypassing the easy answers ("I can't" and/or "The sex") I'll say it's because when someone dumps you and comes back it can sometimes strengthen the relationship. She's had a taste of freedom, sampled life without you, and found it lacking. As the old saying goes "If you love somebody set them free. If they come back to you they're yours to keep. If they don't, they never were." Bumps are part of any relationship, and sometimes boundaries need to be tested in order to be defined. I believe that overcoming these early difficulties and strains will only make us stronger and that some day she won't feel the need to run from me anymore. Then, after she knows I'm the one she wants and that our togetherness is the best thing not just for her but for both of us, I'll be able to get my revenge.
It will be sweet.