A few weeks ago, my great friend Veronica forwarded me an announcement that New York Times was looking for younger voices to contribute to their newsletter ‘The Edit’ and I was enticed to apply. After reading the writing prompts I immediately knew what I wanted to write about. Although it feels like a lot of pressure to put the word out there that I considered applying, I have to admit that I thoroughly enjoyed formulating my submission. It was a much-needed, candid opinion on what I’ve gravitated towards writing and talking about for the last couple of years. Read below for the submission. Press play for an audio-visual version!
WHAT’S SOMETHING YOU CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT?
For the last two years, I’ve been passively exploiting my ex-boyfriend on my blog, with no plans to stop anytime soon. It just so happens to be that my last relationship is the epitome of how people describe millennial romance: like a TV series that runs on for too long with long-winding episodes of they love me, and then they love me not.
We met online (MySpace to be exact). Went on a couple of innocent dates. I’ll fondly remember that it always felt right every time he kissed me. But everything else about us was wrong. He only reached out when he had nothing else to do and no one else to see. This pattern of noncommittal, casual dating went on for eight years from high school to post-college. He kept me on a ledge because he knew I’d stick around and I held on to that ledge because I believed that something more would develop between us.
Eventually it became serious, but only after he made it clear that we’d be able to see each other because he’d be closer. Because he’d be living in an area where he knew no one, but me. A few months into normalizing our time together, he revealed not-so-good information about his financial situation: that he was stuck in a pattern of living paycheck to paycheck while also supporting his family who he blamed for his struggles. He was borrowing money left and right and even conned me into shelling out a little over a thousand dollars to help him get by in the course of our relationship.
And by then, our patterns evolved into something unhealthier: he kept me on a ledge because he knew I loved him enough to help and I held on to that ledge because I believed that his situation would get better. It never did. At the height of it all, I discovered he was cheating on me in the same way he met me: through an online platform (PlentyOfFish, specifically).
And maybe this is where the millennial aspect of us ends: I cut him out of my life for good and not once have I turned back. Well, perhaps I have, but only in retrospect to write about it over and over again spinning the topics, revealing more plot twists and identifying every good and bad turn we made.
That’s the thing about our “millennial romance.” It didn’t happen because it was right, it happened because it was convenient and familiar. Like the touch screens in our hands and the speedy, cheap accessibility of our purchased products. I repeatedly share the 10-year history of my just friends then more than just friends relationship because the truth is, I want to be in love, but don’t know how to find it amongst people who find that emojis describe their feelings better than words or actions. Until then, I won’t stop talking about it: life, liberty and the pursuit of love.