Sex & Love

How Relationships End

From: Elizabeth Wurtzel To: Ben Karlin I agree with you the that Birkin bag situation amounts to madness. It's not like it brings you pleasure, like absinthe or cocaine, and yet it's being dealt with as such. Crazy! But women … Read More

By / May 12, 2008

From: Elizabeth Wurtzel To: Ben Karlin

I agree with you the that Birkin bag situation amounts to madness. It's not like it brings you pleasure, like absinthe or cocaine, and yet it's being dealt with as such. Crazy! But women are crazy. And bags are cult objects. See?

As for boyfriends, I gave your interrogatory considerable thought. I must explain that my relationships amount to these rather rambling affairs with no real beginning or end, and what goes on in the middle is pretty indefensible. Pretty much, the way it always goes is it starts by, I meet some guy, sparks fly like shooting stars and fireworks and every other pyromaniac's delight–until things cool off of their own accord. Then usually he realizes he just doesn't want to get involved, which I know is code for doesn't want to get involved with me. And logically, that should be the end.

But it never is. Somehow, I just don't or won't go away, and there's enough good energy to keep things going, sometimes in fact years will go by in this middling state of no relationship, but here we are. I am very good at the bad dynamic. And I've managed to derive a reasonable amount of pleasure and satisfaction from it, or I suppose I would have recovered from this sickness by now.

At any rate, the way these relationships usually end is that finally, one fine day, I can no longer bear the pain of what's not happening, or I meet someone else who I defy technology with, or my friends give me an ultimatum because they can no longer stand to listen to me complain, or we just drift apart. Someone moves to another city or another continent, somehow I am saved by the bell.

Not that I haven't had my share of cohesive relationships that have ended with screaming matches in the TWA terminal in the Saint Louis airport (all right, so that was many years ago) or by exchanging cross words across Barrow Street. And a couple of times, I've even told someone he's just not what I wanted, or I've had that said to me. But mostly, it's all just slipped away. For a Jewish girl, I am shockingly mellow, and have really failed to hold out for a ring or anything solid. What can I say? I'm a little mutant.

And then, with all of them, time goes by, and they turn up again, there's either a reason to be in touch or there's no reason not to. Sometimes it seems like no sooner am I out the door before the guy realizes, Oh fuck! Should have never let her go! And by then it's too late. Men don't get this: When women are done, they are DONE.

But I'm always happy to keep up. I'm really not a bitter person. Which is truly a character flaw: bitterness is a self-protective trait that alerts us to when enough is enough, and I just have no sense of that. I'm just too interested to see what will happen next, and bitterness doesn't figure into the plot twist. I don't really have much use of it in any part of my life, frankly. After all, everyone who has ever hired me has eventually fired me. But then they've usually found a way to get me to work for them again, later on. Time goes on, you're up, you're down, it just doesn't seem worthwhile to be bothered about what someone did to hurt you years–or even days–hence.

My old boyfriends are like my whacked-out family at this point. I loved every single one of them so completely and truly that I just can't see fit to lose them now. I never compromised on love, I never forced myself to love someone because he seemed like the right idea or to fit the bill, I really fell hard for every guy I ever loved. You know, it's like, je ne regrette rien. I guess this is all very corny, and the result is that I'm alone now, but it's never been dull.

Your love life has led you to a more natural outcome, so for you having exes hanging around is just a pain, it's ghosts of Christmas past. But for me it's still an ongoing story. I'm waiting to see how the plot thickens–or thins…