“It’s not you, it’s me.” Five little bitty words feel like the weight of a million. Five words creating a passive blow off, the generic way to let someone down with ease. It’s worse than “can we still be friends?” because at least this is honest.
The few times I’ve suggested it was me
rather than him
, I stated this in efforts to avoid bruised feelings. It felt more appropriate rather than saying, “Hey, I really don’t know what it is, but I know you’re not the one.” It’s hard to argue with this age old excuse. Being the receiver of this message inserts doubt in myself. Am I not thin enough? Pretty enough? Smart, kind, funny, fun enough? It plants the seed of insecurity because it is vague and well, a lie. Insecurity could be avoided if “you’re not the one” replaced the “it’s not you, it’s me.” Please, shoot me straight. I prefer brutal honesty over a sugar-coated copout. The truth may sting, but eventual truth always hurts more. Vagueness creates insanity. It forces smart women to make allowances rather than owning up to the cold hard truth of “he’s just not that into you.” We (I am guilty of it) think of reasons why the feeling isn’t mutual: he’s scared, he’s been hurt, he’s busy, whatever. When it’s real, you jump in despite the fear, the hurt, the agenda, the whatever.
The frequent times I’ve relayed the ever popular “can we still be friends?,” I meant it. So often, people invest their time, mind, and heart with another person only to later continue down life’s path as strangers. I think people change and that’s okay. Still, people continue to hold on to a relationship longer than healthy because of the fear of losing the friendship. I’ve been in this place many times. I knew in my heart it was time to disconnect as lovers, but the idea of losing the friendship sparked such sadness, I hung in there. Fortunately, I’ve been lucky enough to remain friends with most men I’ve dated. Truly friends. Of course, there are exceptions. I certainly wouldn’t continue a friendship with a man unconcerned with my heart. Cheating and lying is unacceptable but then again, I expect truth and support from friends as well. And okay, I’ll admit it, sometimes a friendship is not practical or possible in the beginning, but to quote my friend Jeff, “Time takes time.” I am among the minority in continuing a friendship post breakup, but then again, I tend to be more sentimental than most.
Isn’t odd the things we take with us despite whether or not we select the friend route? For instance, I dated a man who never rinsed his mouth out with water after brushing his teeth, but instead, ran his toothbrush under the water and then ridded the residual toothpaste with his toothbrush. This boyfriend, now deceased, is thought of nearly every time I brush my teeth. Or, I know a man who is insistent on emptying my ice trays into a big bowl in my freezer, so naturally, I think of him every time I make a drink with ice. We take on others’ habits and it doesn’t even have to be a person we date(d.) For example, I had a roommate who would flip out if I forgot to close the shower curtain as it would cause mildew. Yeah, so guess who flips out now when a roommate neglects to shut the shower curtain? It leads me to wonder what others have taken from me. Probably “phrases.”
Speaking of, it’s interesting how we adopt the catch phrases of those we spend the most time. I’ve recycled many a phrase originally said by a friend or lover, but it’s especially delightful to hear those you love adopt your catch phrases and most warming when you forget who coined the phrase first. The point is, we linger even after the “it’s not you, it’s me.” Despite our best efforts, we linger. And ya know what? Someone else lingers too.
The last time I heard “it’s not you…,” I turned on the ignition to my car while making a deal with the radio gods. I thought to myself, “the next song that comes on will hold all the answers.” Silly huh? The song? “Burning Down the House,” by the Talking Heads. Significant because this was the song (CD) playing the first time I rode with the man that uttered that damn phrase I’m not gonna type again.
“It’s not me, it’s you.” I like that better.