Between trips to Toys 'R' Us and movie marathons, the force wasn't with us.
I knew early into the relationship that he was an addict. Although in his circle, they called themselves collectors — addict, collector, fanatic — call it what you will. But in my book, anyone who camps outside overnight to see a movie needs help. We met at a party. One of my first since returning to Los Angeles after a break up in Arizona.
I wasn't looking for love. I didn't even want to be at the party. But friends had dragged me, so there I was. Through the course of the night, I met his roommates, his friends, and then on my way out the door, I met him. And I just knew.
In the coming months, we'd get together for dinner regularly. His roommates and him, my roommate and me. We became a platonic dinner club, sharing a love of good food, movies, and laughter. And over time, I began to think I would have been lucky had he liked me. He was a good guy. Sweet, funny, sincere. So when he asked me to go out, just the two of us, six months into our friendship, I agreed. And thus, the beginning of the affair.
He was a good man. And, I needed someone nice. Which is why I looked past the wall of Star Wars action figures the first time I saw his bedroom. I reasoned with myself, we had a good time, didn't we? It didn't matter if he spent all his money on action figures instead of treating me to dinner, right? Maybe nice guys don't pay for dinner. I could live with that.
But it wasn't just action figures I was competing with. It was the memory of his ex-wife leaving him, the fact that his college glory days were behind him, his laziness towards his career (while mine was just taking off).
These were the strikes against us. In the three years we were together, we had many good times. But I knew it wouldn't last.
While friends in shorter relationships got engaged and then married, we told each other we didn't want to ruin what we had by walking down the aisle. The truth was, I didn't want to marry him. And he was too burned to want to marry again.
Two and a half years into our relationship, we decided to move in together. It was a great apartment. Big kitchen, second bedroom used as an office. Killer living space. And it was all decorated with Star Wars stuff. In his defense, I traveled light, and didn't have much to contribute to the household. Still, being surrounded by memorabilia was like living in a wacky museum. And it wasn't just the decor.
Instead of the two of us coming together to form one cohesive life, it was like two roommates cohabitating in the same space. I'd get home from work, he'd be playing video games. I'd go in the office to write, he'd eventually come in to check on his eBay bids. I'd go watch TV, he'd play computer games. I'd go to bed, he'd come hours later after I was fast asleep.
We squabbled over the chores. If he had to do laundry more than once in a row, he pouted. I was constantly feeding the cats, scooping the litter box, and going to the grocery store alone. The big excitement in our lives? Going to Toys "R' Us in search of new action figures. Seeing Episode One on opening night. And the following week. And then in digital. It was an OK life. There was nothing particularly wrong. But, nothing particularly right either. I began asking myself, when does today become forever? And if this is forever, can I live with that? More and more often, the answer was "no."
And then one day I was done. I can't explain it any better than that. We were coming up on our three year anniversary and I didn't feel like celebrating. We were fighting more and more, and the arguments were getting heated. I realized I wanted more than he could give. And whenever I tried to talk to him about it, he'd brush me off with, "We'll talk about it later."
But later wasn't cutting it. And so one day when I came home from work, I asked him to turn off the video game. We sat down and talked. Cried. And talked some more. I moved out the next day.
I felt bad leaving him, knowing he'd already been down that road with his ex-wife. But if he didn't change, he'd go down that road again. And that wasn't my problem. Those were his battles to face. Moving on was easier than I thought.
There were sad times, but I never looked back. I knew I'd done the right thing. Since then, I hear he's gotten way more into his collection. I guess unlike women, those action figures will never leave him. I hope for his sake they're insured.
As for me, I now live in a condo with a wall of dolls. OK, maybe he rubbed off on me. But in a good way. While they bring me joy, they'll never become my life. Or my love. I reserve those feelings for an individual with a life force of his own. And hopefully the force will be with us.
This article was originally published at Lisa Steadman . Reprinted with permission from the author.