She’s formed the opinion somewhere in her head that I’m the good-for-nothing that’s been holding her back. That she is always bailing me out and forgiving me, that she pays for everything, that I need to apologize and kiss up and kiss ass to even deserve her stooping low enough to be willing to be on the phone with me.
I love her, but I think I’m living in a fantasy world. I think the more appropriate phrase is “I love someone I used to know, who doesn’t exist any more.” I’ve tried. God knows I’ve tried and keep trying.
But for more than a month, calls are like audiences with the queen. She says nothing, snaps and snips, and waits for me to make all of the conversation. There’s no intimacy. There’s no generosity. There’s no openness. She’s like a closed bomb shelter or a steel trap waiting to spring. But I keep trying. I keep talking. Then, at some point, I slip up and she sees some opportunity to stick me with a barb about what I’ve cost her, what I’ve done to her, or how irresponsible I am.
Then I get upset and try to remind her that the failures are mutual, as they are in any relationship, and in response begin her diatribes, where she shows me how rotten I’ve been to her for ten minutes, sentence after sentence, half of the details simply factually wrong, not stopping, not taking a breath much less giving me the opportunity to say anything. If I try to inject a bit of self-defense before my ego falls over and dies, I get “Excuse me?! See, you always cut me off, you never let me talk, you never listen, and what’s more you’re wrong. And plus, you accuse me of all the things YOU do!” Well I haven’t been rotten to her. I’ve included her on every major decision I’ve made since the day I met her (more than I can say for her), have spent every last dime to try and be with her (more than I can say for her), have never cheated on her, have never laid any sort of hand on her, and have always loved her. But love needs support in order to survive.
And in the meantime, if I don’t try to interrupt her diatribes to defend myself and instead wait until she’s done, it takes minutes and minutes, dozens of accusations, while I sit there and listen and wait and listen and wait and listen and wait. Then, I say one thing in return, maybe not even an entire sentence, and she launches back into it, before I almost get a chance to say anything at all. See, I cut her off. See, I don’t listen to a word she says. See, I always have to talk. ONE WORD of my own defense is too much for her to countenance. This isn’t love, this is someone who’s out to get me and make me feel small before she dumps me.
If I call her on it, she does the bizarre projection again: “See, this is what I’m talking about. You don’t listen to me. You don’t let me say anything. And then you accuse me of the things that you do!” Even though she’s been yelling at me for the last five minutes straight. She’s just mean. She’s trying her best to hurt me, to make me feel small, to rain on my parade and make sure I understand just how much she’s done for me.
She’s fighting me like a rabid hyena, and it’s stupid. FIGHTING IS STUPID and I don’t have the time for it. And contrary to what she thinks, a fight begins not with the first retort, but with the FIRST ACCUSATION. Let me say it again: IF YOU MAKE THE FIRST ACCUSATION, IF YOU PUSH THE FIRST BUTTON, YOU HAVE STARTED THE FIGHT. There’s nothing I can offer her but she doesn’t get that. If I killed myself it wouldn’t be enough to satisfy her. She thinks she wants a pound of flesh but what she really wants is to take back the last two years. Well, I can’t give her that, and I’m sorry that she feels so much regret.
It’s stupid and I’m done and she’s going to blame it on me. I just called her crazy. I’m sure she’s going to be telling everyone what a rotten person I am for the rest of time. I hate that. But talking to her is impossible. Within the first four minutes of any conversation, the accusations and reminders of my horribleness begin. I refuse to be a nagged, hated, weak man. I am not a weak man. Sorry, ladies, I’m not. I’m a MAN and I have accomplished much in my life and I will continue to accomplish much in my life and if you can’t be along for that, then that’s too bad, don’t ever say I didn’t offer you a seat on the train. But of course that’s exactly what you’ll say, isn’t it? Freud was right. Despite the beating he has taken over the years, he remains the most right behavioral scientist of all time. «FATHERS».
Listen, women: I’m no doormat. I want to be in a relationship, and I’m loyal, and I’m faithful. But I don’t feel guilty for being a man, and I’m not responsible for your choices, this isn’t the 1950’s. And if you hate me, you can take that hate somewhere else and choke on it, because I’m not gonna sit around and take it. It beats me why you think I even would. Je– said I was verbally abusive, then six months later she was sad when she was crying at me to take her back and now seven years later she’s sending me messages, all “It would be cool, you know, if you wanted to… keep in touch going forward?” Get lost. Why would she want me if I was so abusive? And if I was really abusive, why wouldn’t I want her back so that I could heap more of it on her? Li– thought she could tell me what a rotten, classless person I was for the things that I put on my website. She insulted me and demeaned me, then cried bitterly when I dumped her. Am– used to make fun of or complain about just about everything I did, then she acted hurt and shocked when I told her I was done. Girlfriend after girlfriend, it’s always been the same. Oh yeah, I’m a big, fat, rotten asshole. Wait, why doesn’t the asshole want to talk to me anymore?!?!?! He always did before?!? What an asshole! Waaaaaaaa! And in the meantime, they complain about unfaithful men, uneducated men, stupid men, mean men, all men are rotten. Well, I’m none of these. I’m faithful and educated and smart and generous and nice, so long as you don’t keep pushing my buttons until I crack. Goes so show what women really want, as opposed to what they say they want. But wait, maybe we just wanted him to do what we wanted, we didn’t know he would bolt. Well fuck you all. You want men to respect your personhood? How about you respect mine, too? It’s hard isn’t it? Duh.
All I’ve ever wanted to do, with every girlfriend I’ve ever had, was love them and have them love me, take care of each other, and promise to be understanding of each other and take each others’ side. I am SO ON YOUR SIDE, so long as you’re on mine. But women can’t do that. They just can’t. I’ll give you the shirt off my back, if I have it, but in return I expect to not be blamed when I don’t have it. I’ll work myself to the bone to make your life better, but I won’t do it if you won’t sign on to the “us” project. The motivation is in the commitment and the trust. First woman that’s willing to deal with a man like that wins my heart and my labor to make her life better until the day I die. All she has to do is give me 1) her fidelity and 2) the eternal benefit of the doubt. I always think I’ve found it, but then I always haven’t. But I will still trust, and I will still be faithful, because that is who I am. And if that’s not enough, then that’s too bad. I hope y’all are happy with whomever else you find.
There’s no justice in the world, much less happiness.