My overwhelming thought when I saw Walk the Line, the story of Johnny Cash’s career, his self-destructive lifestyle, and how the love of a good woman saved him, was Women like me do not need to see stories like this. We already can–and have–and do– waste good years of our lives convinced that the sunshine of our love will air out the dusty corners of some man’s soul if we just try harder.
Just do one more thing. One more gesture, grand or small. The perfect witty e-card, a bonus blowjob, give him space, spoon him, buy new panties, plan a trip. Move all the pieces around until you find a way to make them fit, and when the last one falls into place he will look at you with tenderness and affection and together, you can start fantasizing about getting a house in a good school district…or at least making plans for things that occur more than five minutes in the future.
The truth is, some souls are so locked away that they are beyond your most determined reach.
The truth is, if he wants to ____ (see, kiss, comfort, support, love, fuck, commit to) you, he will.
The truth is, if you get the prize that you’re so desperately fighting for–commitment, a future–the man stays the same. People who don’t have the vocabulary to talk about their feelings don’t learn it overnight. People who can’t muster the empathy to realize that ignoring your birthday might be hurtful aren’t withholding; they just don’t have it to give. Make a thoughtless, distant commitmentphobe your boyfriend and guess what: you’re now in a relationship with a thoughtless, distant commitmentphobe. Good luck with that.
Of course, across the line from your relationship is, perhaps, you alone, watching Cupcake Wars and convincing yourself that a pint of ice cream is an acceptable dinner, forgetting to shave your legs for days at a time. Maybe you don’t want to cross that line, so you walk it instead, arms out for balance.
Neither patch of grass looks particularly green.
You decide that maybe it’s your expectations that are out of whack. Perhaps you’re an unreasonable harpy: who do you think you are to be wounded by days of radio silence, by never meeting his friends or family? Maybe, you reason, his arms are broken–then wouldn’t you feel bad about fuming over an unanswered email! Maybe he has no friends, maybe he is actually an orphan and therefore needs even more love and support! Why are you so selfish? This is why it hasn’t happened for you yet: you don’t deserve love.
Chip yourself away a little bit more. Perhaps you’ll get down to a size he can tolerate, or perhaps you’ll finally knap off the part of you that cares.