Sex in the City

30 03 2012

I was anxiously awaiting inspiration for my next big story. Writing about my job isn’t particularly enlightening, nor at all the subject I usual revel in, which typically involves some sort of self-induced catastrophe. So where would I find inspiration? Where does one look? As life would have it, inspiration doesn’t wait to appear in neatly wrapped packages. No! It runs you down the sidewalk in four-inch heels. I’m going to have a very Carrie Bradshaw moment here. Sure, I don’t live in the big apple or wear Prada shoes, but I do smoke a cigarette from time-to-time, and I can often be seen staring out a window contemplating bad weather. Like a storm, inspiration may come with sudden force, and with the deliberate intention of bitch-slapping you across the face like a Telemundo star.

So, without further adieu

whitney butler

Relationships! What are those all about?

See! I told you I was going Bradshaw.

Good. Now that I’ve got the cliché out-of-the-way, we can move on.

That’s actually what I want to talk about: moving on…or the lack thereof when we insist on regressing in relationships. Why do woman go back? Why do men? Why does everyone believe their exceptionally illogical motivation is the exception and not the rule?

Why?

Through the various stages of a relationship: the awkward courtship, the crazy can’t-sleep-alone-because-I-love-the-way-you-breath beginnings, the comfort in establishing pet names, the messy break-up, the sexy make-up, the I-fucking-mean-it-this-time break-up, and so on, there often comes a time when someone witnesses a door opening, an opportunity that challenges loyalty, integrity, and above all, our ability to make a decision quickly and with conviction.

Him: I didn’t know how much I wanted to be with you until I slept with her.

Her: Oh, Dillon! I love you!

Me: (Smoking in a room with no windows) How white do you have to be to name your son Dillon?

But instead of being impulsive and making a quick, think Malcom Gladwell’s Blink, type of decision, we dance up to these opportunities and finger the edges, seductively stick a leg out to test the weather. It’s cowardice that keeps us from making the difficult choices, for better or worse, like not walking away when clearly there’s nothing left to pick up; not your self-esteem after he cheated on you, or your bank account when she spent all your money.

So why is it that once through the threshold, there on the other side, most of us look back at the door and wonder: can I go back in?

It was for my own pleasure that I contacted my ex several months ago. I wanted closure – whatever that means, something we never got because we moved a part so things fell a part, as they often do in those circumstances. But I had questions! I even thought his new girlfriend would understand where I was coming from, understand that my intentions were pure…if she were to ever find out, that is. Disillusioned would be an understatement. Because I should have known all along there was nothing pure about my intentions, nor could anything pure ever come from walking backwards into his arms.

Here’s the thing about regressing in relationships: you’ve already been there, it’s not new, there’s history, so we’re capable of manipulating and constructing assumptions that serve our self-interest instead of reason.  The motivation comes from a place of deprivation, regret, shame, embarrassment, and a list of other slimy feelings that inevitably reveal the second time around a calculated version of what once was. This week, I was accosted by his girlfriend who threatened to hurt me physically should I ever show up in her life again.

Besides feeling awful, I am embarrassed. I reached out to him, and he reached back. I wanted closure, but maybe a small part of me also wanted something else. Perhaps the satisfaction of knowing I could get him away from her. So, because I wasn’t brave enough to walk away, even after he had made me hurt, she’s hurting, and I’m half the reason. I opened the door and he stood there looking out at me, testing the wind with his finger; then she slammed the door in his face. At least she’s smart.

Going back to find answers, going back to fill a void, just going back facilitates only two possible outcomes, differentiated merely by the amount of time it takes to get you to the same conclusion: It’s not going to work. So when you  break up with someone, you shouldn’t go back. Period. I thought I needed closure. He thought he could get laid. I was wrong and so was he. Now, I’m just pissed off, looking out the window contemplating bad weather again. This time a little wiser.

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2 responses

31 03 2012
Joe

Your best yet. I love the progression of the tone and the final insight, this is an example of what you can do when you combine your intelligence and wit and your vision and perceptiveness. I love it.

29 08 2012
Lisa Hall Bates

Awesome conclusion. Glad you realized this early in life. Now, don’t forget next time! (You will be tested, life is like that!) This is not the post I laughed at the hardest, made me cry the most, but it is very well written and brought me along for the ride while you grew a little more mature. a little more wise, and made me love this post, I agree with Joe on all counts!!

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