Anders and I broke up.
It was a semi-mutual agreement and quite literally, the nicest break-up I’d ever experienced. It ended on a friendly note and ultimately, it was for the best.
I saw it coming. Though he remained attentive to me, there was a change in behavior on his end — a distance — and there were numerous doubts about the durability of our relationship in the long-term on my end on a daily basis and I’d been thinking about breaking up with him anyway. But that isn’t news. I’d written previously about the doubts I had.
The biggest factor was that, despite liking each other very much, it was also clear that neither of us would ever grow to love each other. We had a great time, we enjoyed each other’s company, we experienced new things together, but we had diametrically opposing opinions on how life and love should be — despite being on the same page with regards to wanting to settle down and start a family at some point in the future — greatly highlighting our fundamental differences.
He felt that love is the sort of thing that should happen immediately — “you just know” — whereas I had acquired a more cautious approach given my poor history of sloppy and passionate relationships where I thought I loved the person right off the bat. That made it all the more clear why he was still single at 38 — he’d never even lived with a woman.
I think it was our fifth date when I came over for dinner and he was talking about his lack of “things” in his apartment (the reality is that it was a very normal, nice apartment) and he said, “I’ve never lived with a woman. I’ve never had a relationship long enough that it ever got to that point, but I’ll probably get more things for the apartment if one ever moves in with me.”
He wanted to retire and/or raise a family in the woods of Sweden, which is fine, except he once made a remark about not wanting his wife to give birth in a hospital and blah blah blah natural childbirth blah blah blah.
I kept picturing a scenario where I am in the middle of nowhere, in labor, with me screaming, “Get me an epidural right now or I will rip your fucking face off.”
Then there was his immense dislike of traveling and only wanting to stay in Sweden which, okay, Sweden is a great country — but it’s also okay to get out once in a while.
We were sitting on the sofa watching TV when my mother sent me a message to check up on me. I explained who it was.
“She’s worried. If it were my daughter or my son who moved halfway across the world, I would not be happy about it,” he remarked.
“What? Why? I would be thrilled. I want my kids to explore the world. There’s so much out there!”
“Nope. I want my kids close to home, close to papa.”
Then his conservatism. I knew what I was signing up for when he told me where he was from and how he was raised. Him being conservative was not necessarily a bad thing, but a lot of the principles he carried with him now were principles I’d dropped as I have become older. A big example is that I never felt I could safely come out to him with my bisexuality and I struggle to think I could spend my life hiding my dual attraction to women for the remainder of our natural lives.
He was also a neat freak — nothing out of place, nothing out of order, everything clean, not a speck of dust anywhere which is fine, but I am on the sloppy side and don’t get bent out of shape if something is a little dirty — but the state of his apartment spoke volumes about his personality and who he was as a whole.
He liked order and structure. He had daily routines. He liked knowing everything and what was going to happen for the day. He took the lead when it came to planning activities and never actually asked me questions about what I might want to do or what have you. It all screamed “control freak” to me and one day when we were talking about smartphones, he said, “I don’t use mine much because I don’t want to be dependent and I like to have control.”
Then there was his knowingness. He didn’t have to experience something for himself in order to know it wasn’t for him. He hated trying new things and leaving his comfort zone and it was clear from the way he spoke that he isn’t often in the company of new people or women. Whenever he suggested I try something he liked, it wasn’t for my benefit. He just assumed that if he liked it, I would like it.
“Magic the Gathering. You might like it.”
“Okay,” I said. “Can we also play Chess?”
For a while, I began to suspect that he was probably Asperger’s and every so often, I’d consult my Aspie best friend in Germany, OuterSpaceBoy.
The routines, the monotone way of speaking, his inability to think outside of his bubble, only watching the same 100 movies and musicians over and over, his inability to consider that other people might be feeling differently.
IT ALL DROVE ME NUTS.
Of course, we were both very physically attracted to each other, but there was the lack of spark/chemistry and I merely chalked it up to him being reserved or “normal” or different from most guys I’ve dated. Then I realized at some point that his coldness, his stubbornness, his reservedness — it all reminded me of my father.
Freud would have a field day with me, would he not?
I knew at that point I would never actually love this guy and it was a daily battle for me because there were days where I would “feel” something and most days, I didn’t and came to the conclusion that I was only dating him for practical reasons — he’s attractive, stable, and we both want to start a family someday.
“Anders, we should probably talk when we get a moment” — a text I sent him the day after spending four days in a row together.
And that was the end of it.
None of this is to say he is a bad guy — he is not a bad guy and in fact, he treated me like royalty — he is amazing. He’s just not the guy for me and I’m not the girl for him.
And so I go back to the ho life. Thank you for everything, Anders! It was but a brief moment of normalcy in my life, but you were wonderful.