The relationship rut you can’t ignore

I’m not a relationshippy person. Like, at all. But this fact didn’t prevent me from trying really, really, really, really, really hard to be in one. I’ve always admired my friends’ willingness to take chances in their love lives, especially since I seem to be allergic. Yet somehow, this didn’t stop me from diving into my last relationship — and almost drowning.

It was one of those situations where I chose the wrong guy for the right reasons. We had all of the elements of a solid relationship — our own place, jobs, social lives that actually coexisted peacefully, sex, sex, sex — yet it wasn’t long before we were in a big fat rut. Or at least, I was. I couldn’t figure out why at the time, even though all the signs were there. You know, punching me in the face.

Sign #1: I come from a family of self-proclaimed spinsters who are also missing the lovey-dovey, mushy-gushy relationship gene. I didn’t grow up around a cynical view of relationships, but they never took priority either.

Sign #2: While everyone else squeals uncontrollably with glee when a friend has engagement or preggo news to share, my first thought is, “Welp, her life’s over.”

Sign #3: When my ex and I went to his cousin’s wedding and it came time to catch the bouquet, the emcee dragged my chair — with me still sitting on it — to the middle of the dance floor because I refused to participate.

Sign #4: I can’t go down the baby aisle of the grocery store without hyperventilating.

Sign #5: As much as I love my friends, there has always been a disconnect. I’m career-focused, and they’re family-focused, and very rarely do these paths intertwine.

The signs continued to pile, and our relationship started to erode. Here I was, in this committed relationship I thought I wanted and other women would kill for, yet found myself rebelling against the entire concept — and feeling horrible about it. I kept thinking, “What’s wrong with me?” and, “Why don’t I want this anymore?”

Five years into the relationship, my ex decided he wanted to go away to school as a way to combat his own personal rut.

My reaction went something like this: I pictured myself moving away with him. Then I pictured myself becoming so resentful of uprooting my entire life for a guy that I’d end up on the six o’clock news for running him over in our driveway. On purpose. Twice.

I realized that because the relationship thing is so unnatural to me, I put a ton of effort into making it work — so much so, I quietly tucked away any aspect of myself that might clash with our Cosby sweaters. I’d done it all to fit into a social construct that is completely against my nature, only I’d suppressed my nature for so long I barely knew what it looked like.

There was one important question I didn’t ask myself at the time: “Did I ever really want this at all?” No. I didn’t. I still don’t. And that doesn’t mean I’m any less of a woman. It also doesn’t mean I won’t want a relationship in the future. It just means I’m not going to purposely look for one and try to mold it into what I’m influenced to feel it “should” look like.

The relationship rut you can’t ignore? Wrong guy. Right reasons.

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