This week, my friend Adam got an ultimatum from his girl: marry me or I’m out. I’m on Adam’s side on this one and not just because he’s my friend. Adam isn’t ready. After years of navigating the peaks and valleys of romance, I finally get what this means.
“I’m not ready.” One of the most mystifying sentences in the English language. If you’re about to jump out of an airplane with a busted parachute, or you’re a scallop that hasn’t been cooked all the way through, then by all means, you’re not ready. But not ready for love? Not ready for the comforting bonds of relationship? What kind of horse poo is that?
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For most women, love is not something which requires preparedness. Love pours down from the heavens out of the blue, nullifying anything else in life that holds meaning and merging the lovers in the highest state of existential bliss, of which a committed relationship is the ultimate expression. Who wouldn’t want this?
But guys have to be “ready.” I finally understood this last year, when Matt the Moody Chef hit me with an unexpected “I’m Not Ready” after a prolonged period of becoming intimately enmeshed.
“Relationships don’t work out for me,” he said the night of our romantic demise. “This is too intense. I can’t do it right now.”
Later, after chugging an entire bottle of Chianti, I got to thinking. Matt had signed his divorce papers less than six months before we met. His apartment was a barren crypt, stripped by his ex-wife of any furnishing that might make it seem like a home. Entering into another relationship then would’ve been like sticking his tongue back on an icy flag pole ten seconds after he’d yanked it off.
A few months after separating from my own ex, I dated a sexy lawyer who in every way was a super catch. But once he started asking how my day had been and stroking my cheek, I recoiled as if he were a slobbering bulldog licking my face. A relationship was not something I could handle. I needed to heal, needed space, needed my life to become mine again after giving it over to the entity that was my marriage.
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