We were standing on the street by her apartment building. It was Christmas night and we’d just come from a friend’s party. We’d been dating for a month or so, and I thought everything was going well.
“Hey,” I said. “I’m not into labels, or whatever, and the whole ‘boyfriend,’ ‘girlfriend,’ thing we can figure out later, but I really like you and look forward to hanging out with you. I think you’re great.”
“Yeah. . . I’m not really in the mood,” she said.
Not in the mood? Huh?? The sentence hung in the air. What the hell did it mean? I interpreted it as, basically, “This isn’t working.” But I had really no IDEA what it meant. We parted that night, she into her apartment, me to drive home, confused.
What do you do when the person you’re into says something like that? Essentially calling you a disgusting unworthy slug. For me, it means the relationship is over; there is no salvaging it. It’s time to do some self-inquiry and look for someone new.
Nine out of ten times, that’s the move. That one other time, though, is trickier. How do you know you should try and salvage the relationship? There is no simple answer. I didn’t give up that night because of what I thought we had: fun conversation, frequent laughter, physical attraction. She was too good to let go without a fight, without putting in work.
Usually relationships end because there is a lack of communication. Communication comes both verbally and physically–really, everything is a conversation. So in the next few days I began to talk with her. I asked her what she’d meant, why she’d said it.
She gave me some much-needed answers. I found out from her the couple times we’d had sex prior hadn’t been fulfilling. (Note: in my last article, I’d said we’d had sex on the third date. That wasn’t true, we’d waited a month at least. My mistake.) She told me that on a few dates I actually kinda smelled bad, as if I didn’t bathe. This was true, I hadn’t been bathing as often as I used to. Why? Because I had the inane idea that if I washed my hair often I would lose it faster. Turns out I’m not going bald either. Also turns out humans can bathe without washing their hair! Who knew??
We also talked about sex. She told me certain aspects of how her body worked and I told her I would work to make it better for her. I also told her about my silly fear of hair loss and she laughed (with me, mostly)–and I promised I’d bathe more! And cut my toenails more often!
Our openness created a connection. This is the key. And if it’s not possible, move on, it’s okay to.
There is never an easy answer. But now, we’re in the mood. I’m sure of it.