“IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.”—Alain de Botton, “Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person,” New York Times, May 28, 2016.
But it’s OK, says de Botton: “We mustn’t abandon him or her, only the founding Romantic idea upon which the Western understanding of marriage has been based the last 250 years: that a perfect being exists who can meet all our needs and satisfy our every yearning.”
I know I can’t meet all my needs and satisfy my every yearning. That’s asking too much of myself. But a kind word and an unexpected squeeze of the shoulder would be nice now and then. I’ve lived with myself long enough to know when I simply need to hear, “I’ve got this, babe,” but instead I get angry and resentful at my silence, muttering, “What am I mad about this time?”
I secretly want to be surprised with breakfast in bed. Am I so out of sync with myself that I have to ask for it?
I always remember my birthday, but do I remember my birthday? Never. All I ever get from myself is a few crisp $20 bills, a day late, to spend on “anything I want.” I spend it on toilet paper and other household goods just to spite myself.
The sex is boring. I suggest spicing things up by bringing another person into the mix, but in the end I’m always up against cold feet. Is it jealousy, insecurity? Perhaps. I’m no great prize, but there have been plenty of prospects who have headed for the door when they finally meet myself.
I don’t want to give up yet. Perhaps a trip with myself is the answer, if I can think of a vacation itinerary that isn’t just about what I want. My chief concern is the cost: When things go south, I always end up in a separate room from myself. That kind of relationship just isn’t sustainable on a single income.