PERSONAL NOTE: Exciting news! Some new projects have come my way (in part, thanks to this blog) so I’ll have great news to share with everyone over the next few months. The bad news, I’ll be super busy so am going to have stop writing this blog for now. But don’t worry, TONS of funny, insightful stuff coming your way– be sure to keep track of me via facebook, twitter or my mailing list. All those links are on the home page of http://www.michaelsomerville.com!
Last year, I’d been working such crazy hours that I decided to avoid relationships because I didn’t have the time. Then I met Kim and that logic went right out the window. After just a few dates I was behaving in ways I never had— I even cancelled a business trip because she was in my bed and I didn’t want to leave. The people expecting me were mad and I didn’t care. I was in love.
We spent every free moment together having what felt like years’ worth of experiences in four months— dinner with parents, weekends away– like a microwave relationship.
And then it ended. Just like that. One night we rented The Hangover and ordered Thai food, and by the time Mr. Chow got out of the trunk, we were both single again.
It happened so quickly, I have trouble recounting how it went down. There was a disagreement about attending a party and, in a flash, we were both running down our list of grievances. Turns out that these nine dealbreakers were standing in the way of our happily ever after:
I wanted a little appreciation
The first time we went out we had a great time— I took her to dinner at a cozy gastropub, then bought cupcakes which we munched while aimlessly roaming the streets. After I dropped her off, I realized she hadn’t thanked me for the evening. I never would have thought something like that mattered to me but, when it didn’t happen, I noticed. During our time together, I’d come to discover she had far more enjoyable ways of showing gratitude (her special “wake up kiss” will never be forgotten), but something always struck me about the fact that she didn’t say thanks.
She wanted a little attention
I have a habit of being a crowd pleaser, which reared its head at her dad’s retirement party. In going to great lengths to cement everyone’s approval and make a good first impression, I apparently “completely ignored” her. I don’t like that Kim felt neglected, but she got all of me when we were alone. Was it wrong to spread the wealth?
I felt underdressed…in bed
After we’d have sex, she almost immediately put on a tank top and underwear, sometimes even shorts. I didn’t pick up on the trend initially because she’d also go to the bathroom or get water, so putting on clothes didn’t seem that crazy (although I never did doing those same tasks). By the third time it happened I realized how awkward it was– me completely naked and her dressed for the gym. Was she uncomfortable with her body? Uncomfortable with mine? Could this be an extension of her goal-oriented personality. “Sex? Check. Next…” Whatever it was, it killed the intimacy and any plans for round two.
She locker-talked about me
One night we were watching a Sex & the City rerun and there was a scene where the ladies were describing a guy’s “manhood”. “How embarrassing,” I said, “I can’t imagine if a woman did that to me.” She said nothing but had a guilty face. My stomach sank. “You haven’t…” Turns out she had told her roommate, in some detail, what I look like “down there.” I felt mortified— how was I supposed to look that woman in the eye again? The only thing that made it forgivable was hearing I’d received a positive review.
One word: “Woobie”
We were snuggling on the couch on a lazy Friday night, basking in the glow of that early relationship buzz (“You’re perfect!” “No, you are!”) when she called me “woobie.” I beg your pardon?
Baby talk is a dangerous animal. For one, you sound ridiculous so you need to make sure your partner is on the same page. It’s like dirty talk in the bedroom without feeling the other person out first. My new pet name rolled off of Kim’s tongue so easily I suspected it was a recycled one from a past relationship– I recognized this move because I’d been guilty of it before, calling a current flame “schnoockums,” a term of endearment I’d used with an ex. Schnukums II let it go without comment, which is how I chose to play this one. Still, I kept wondering, does she “woobie” everyone? Was I not worthy of the effort to conjure a new (and, perhaps manlier) name?
I kid because I love
I grew up with all brothers, went to an all guys high school and for college attended the beer ‘n sports capital University of Notre Dame. Coming out of these testosterone dominated environments, typical male teasing became a large part of my character. It’s not intended to be hurtful– in fact I consider it a sign of affection— but I playfully gave Kim a hard time on a few occasions and she didn’t like it. This was the first time a woman brought this up and, when I thought back to past relationships, I realized I’d always poked fun. Yikes, do I have rounds of apologetic phone calls to make?
“At the sound of the tone, please leave a boring message.”
If I’m going to force someone to listen to my voice for 30 seconds, why not be entertaining? As such, I try to leave funny voicemails. Kim’s response to some of my masterpieces: “You don’t have to perform for me. Just be yourself.” I resented her wish but concurred and began leaving boring “Hey, it’s me. Call me back” messages. And that didn’t feel like “me” at all.
She text-slapped me
Everyone enjoys the cheesy smiley face or sideways heart, but Kim had a habit of using text messages to convey her feelings of annoyance. One night, I said I would call after my shows but didn’t get a chance until well past midnight. I turned on my cell phone to find a sarcastic “thanks for calling. goodnite.” She had a right to be annoyed, but sending unfriendly texts to someone you care about is bad politics. I’d have preferred she make sure I’m even OK and let us talk through a problem live. Which brings me to the biggest dealbreaker…
I didn’t address this list (or anything else)
While I really disliked Kim’s text complaints, at least she was speaking up. I was so intent on things going well that I chose to ignore our issues. Now here we were, picking each other apart.
For a relationship that had so many highlights, it’s incredible to me that it lacked open communication. I took such a leap in letting myself fall in love and then played a vital role in wrecking it. I can’t help but wonder if things could have worked out differently if I’d acknowledged the cracks before we were at the breaking point. Perhaps I’m just missing her, but I still believe there was more good than bad and I wonder if it really is over forever. If I figure out that it’s not, this time I’ll be sure I tell her.