I’ve read plenty of “inspirational” quotes telling me things like, “If it’s not okay it’s not the end” and “There’s no such thing as a true ending” and “Everything must come to an end sometime.” A lot of these sayings contradict each other but that doesn’t stop girlie girls from putting the words on pretty a background and posting them to their Instagrams.
Here’s my problem: I hate endings. I don’t know how to handle them. I very rarely even say goodbye to anyone. I always end the dinner or the drinks or the party by saying something like, “See you next week.” I never simply say, “Goodbye.”
I can’t handle the permanence of The End.
A fear of endings makes dating very difficult for me because things are constantly coming to a close. Permanently.
There’s no “See you next week” when a boy dumps you on your voicemail. I know this because it happened to me last month.
Even when I go on just one or two dates with a guy and discover I have zero interest, I still don’t know how to end things. Do I just ignore that he ever existed? Tell him I’m not interested? Become best friends with him? What’s the right move, the endgame?
Recently a boy reached out to me. I hadn’t spoken to him in many months but prior to our increasing emotional distance, we spoke often and grew closer. I became attached to the idea of him. He was not physically where I was, but I saw him as a future relationship that I’d hop into once he moved to LA in the coming year. It seemed easy. I’d keep him in the trenches until he popped up in my city and dated me.
He clearly didn’t feel the same, considering he found a girlfriend during our time apart. I knew I wasn’t allowed to be upset by this as he wasn’t mine, nor I his. But when I got that text from him in the middle of my work day, I almost burst into tears at my desk. It was like a break-up text from the future. Of course, he didn’t know that. He was just checking in to let me know he’d be in LA this summer and to say hello. When the girlfriend came up, however, I knew it was over. I saw it as a way of saying The End to our weird little flirtation that lasted for the better part of two years. He belonged to someone else now and I could no longer keep him in my pocket for later, when our worlds would finally collide and let us try things out in the same city.
When I look back, if I’m being a normal person, I guess he was just a glorified texting buddy. Obviously, I made things very melodramatic. Bitches be crazy.
The point is, I couldn’t handle seeing something end. I didn’t want our relationship to stop, even though we hadn’t seen each other in person for a long time. I didn’t want to give up the idea of him because that meant any potential we had would be through.
There are many times in my life when I ask myself, Is This It? It has something to do with believing in things happening for a reason. I’m not religious by any means. I never have been and never will be. But I need this crutch to hold onto sometimes when the going gets tough. When something upsetting or unfortunate occurs in my life, I always ask the little question. In this case, the answer to “Is this it?” is always “No.” It’s not “it” because the world keeps spinning and things will continue to happen, good and bad. And luckily the bad usually segues into good. So, no, this isn’t it. It never is. Not in this type of situation.
But with this boy? And the others that came before him? Any relationship I’ve ever had?
This was it.
Endings are something I have to learn to accept when the situation calls for it. In relationships, dates, hook-ups, and the like, there is almost always an end. Until you find the one that you want to keep forever, there’s gonna be a split. You’re gonna find that moment when This Is It.
That completely terrifies me. I hate that almost every relationship must come to an end.
The tearful break-up over Skype. The break-up in my backyard in college. The lengthy break-up voicemail. My recent text exchange. They’re all means to an end and I’ve been through them all. I survived, so why the fear?
Perhaps I avoid relationships because I want to save myself from seeing an end. Online dating makes this very easy, as I never grow emotionally attached to any of my random online suitors. Sending a reply or choosing to ignore a message is easy. Because I’m not invested, I’m not afraid to venture out in that realm and say goodbye. But when it comes to meeting in person? And having to either end things right away due to lack of interest or see if things carry out and become a lasting relationship? And then possibly break up if I don’t see the relationship going anywhere? God, please, no, don’t make me.
My newest ambition is this: Stop avoiding men or potential relationships just because I’m afraid of seeing it end. After all, I’m too young to throw in the towel this soon. A co-worker explicitly told me that last week.
If I can handle a break-up voicemail and a potential lover finding love with someone else, I can certainly handle other endings. Real endings, not temporary “See you next weeks”.
So here I go, out into the world, trying to act like a normal person.
This Is It.