This is how the story goes.
We have dinner and drinks at the same restaurant you take all the girls, but I pretend to feel special, I know how to follow the rules of your game. You compliment my dress and I laugh at all your jokes to make the date proceed smoothly. You ask about my childhood and I tell you it was uneventful, it was fine. I don’t tell you my parents were never home and I still struggle to make dinner conversation because I never had the practice. By the time dessert arrives, we’ve slowly gotten to know each other, but not accurately. You kept your dirty little secrets to yourself and I did my best to hide my crazy. We both spend the night pretending to be normal, and I smile when you kiss me good night. I think I might like you. This is the beginning of the honeymoon phase.
In the next three months I become the centre of your world. We watch all the movies we saved up when we lacked the right company, and annoy all our friends with excessive PDA. We go for walks on the beach, we watch the sunset together, I get used to holding your hand. A few months later we give in to our cravings for intimacy and I get used to falling asleep with your arm around my waist, I learn what it is like to feel safe. We incorporate our mutual quirks into a flawless morning routine and you start to drink coffee even though you prefer tea. This is how I fall in love with you.
Sooner rather than later you start to learn things about me that you don’t like. You think you might be bored with me but you’re not entirely sure, so you don’t say anything. I start to get tired of your childish antics when I discover that charisma alone isn’t enough to sustain a healthy relationship, but I don’t say anything either. We’re not quitters. We tolerate each other, we fight over menial things and sometimes we don’t even know what we’re yelling about but damn we get good at making each other angry. This is when I learn to resent you.
We continue to celebrate the same anniversaries but without the same enthusiasm. We kiss out of habit not affection. We fuck, but you think about other people. I don’t think at all. My depression creeps back and I become even more distant, not that it really matters, because these days you don’t want to talk to me anyway. Kitchen knives disappear and you find them in the bathroom drawer but you don’t want to know. We’re both exhausted. You argue with me about the validity of depression as a mental illness, I double the dosage of my pills. You loathe weakness, you start to hate me for being miserable. You start to hate yourself for not knowing how to make me happy. This is when we know it’s over.
We try to sit down like mature, rational adults and have the awkward conversation. We should have said things like “it’s not you, it’s me”, or “I love you, I’m just not in love with you” etc. We could have lied and said “let’s stay friends” even though we both know we were never really friends. But we didn’t fall out of love at the same time, and so there was bloodshed. We leave out the important lies that would have sounded better, and scream the truth at each other till we run out. Just to be safe, we yell some terrible things we don’t really mean and never take them back. We think about each other in the years to come and wonder ‘how the fuck did I let that happen’. This is the closest you’ll get to an apology.