In five years, no one I've dated has lasted longer than six weeks. They slide out of my life like water down a windshield, droplets that leave shadows of themselves behind long after the liquid has evaporated. I am romantic teflon. My brain looks for patterns, because that's what brains do.
I sleep with them too soon and they disappear. I show too much emotion and they disappear. I ask for something and they disappear. I try to deepen what we have and they disappear.
I am the x factor in all my relationships. Since I'm the only common denominator in my experience, I need to figure it out.
Solve for x.
But solving for x feels heavy, exhausting, full of self-recrimination. If not full-on existential despair than at least a solid dose of melodrama.
But when you want something enough, you will brave what you'd rather avoid. So I dig through the layers, sorting through my psyche and its tender bits like I sort through my books, hauling some to Goodwill but picking most of them up and then putting them back down again, not sure if I still need them. Maybe this book will help me some day. Maybe this book will be the answer to a problem. Maybe this was meant to be mine. So I continue to haul heavy boxes of books between apartments like I drag along the ghosts of past relationships.
Solve for x.
I'm scared of losing myself.
I'm afraid I can't have what I want.
I'm too much or not enough. Either way, I'm not right.
The specters of my past experiences continue to rise, lighter, gray like smoke instead of sticky black tar, but still rising: the idea that emotion will frighten people away, that communication will make everything go bad. The idea that I'm not enough. Or that I'm really just too much and who has time for that? Either way, I'm not right.
But then I begin to wonder if maybe I'm looking at the wrong piece of the equation. If I solve for x, I get a relationship with someone I adore. But maybe I need to be solving the equation that will lead me to myself, rather than to the idea of another.