After I broke up with my last boyfriend of three years, I set a bunch of relatively high standards that my future partner would have to meet. Truth be told, after a string of mediocre Tinder ‘dates’ and flings that barely even made a home run, I’d completely forgotten about my list of non-negotiables. I saw myself falling back into the pattern of turning to someone who showered me with attention, even if it was to get me half naked after a messy night of shots and smooth talking on their behalf.
Enough was enough.
Fast forward eight months; I’d inhabited a beautiful, architecturally designed four storey house in one of Brisbane’s premiere suburbs. Within this sanctuary, I was free to do whatever I liked; whether that be sleep in ‘til mid-morning, relax in the plunge pool on the balcony that overlooks the entirety of the city, or help myself to the contents of the fridge when I was feeling peckish. However, the best, and most important part, of living in this dreamland wasn’t the industrial-chic dwelling or the proximity to the best cafes and bars in the inner city suburbs. It was the ridiculously attractive, intelligent and caring man I got to share it with.
Sounds perfect right? Wrong.
From the outset, anyone would view that situation as a bona-fide relationship; one for the ages, perhaps. Sometimes I caught myself slowly seeping into the dreamland that was this faux bond and jolt back to reality, only to be disappointed with the harsh reality of what was and what would never be. Only my closest friends knew the ins and outs of my situation, something I’m still too ashamed to admit to anyone else, including my parents or siblings. You see, at first he had ticked all the boxes I had laid out in my mind, but as time went on, there was one major deciding factor that stood out among the rest; commitment.
Once again, I hadn’t stayed true to myself and what I knew I ultimately deserved. I had settled for what he was comfortable dishing out, instead of what I ordered. I had settled for his desire for companionship over my want to be with someone who only had eyes for me. I had settled for second best and that, I knew, was ultimately letting myself down.
Could I forgo the fact that we would never actually be together, nothing more than glorified friends who ‘hung out’, and instead focus on the dozens of positives that this situation brought to the table? Could I sacrifice my want to call him my ‘boyfriend’ just to shine light on the blatantly obvious fact that we got on like a house on fire. Could I discard our inside jokes, our ability to make each other laugh no matter what the situation, our extraordinary connection that I hadn’t yet felt with anyone else prior, just for the exclusivity that I craved?
I was sick of walking on egg shells around him, scared that if I didn’t act a certain way or relied on him too much, he’d cut me loose like a thread on his pants that had unravelled to a point of frustration; quick, painless (for him) and certainly never thought about again. After the numerous talks we’d (note: he’d) had in regards to his need to pursue his career over commitment, I still felt myself craving the kryptonite that was his touch, his smile, his company.
You’d think after all of that I would have woken up to myself, packed my bags and moved back to the family home. You see, there’s something about solely focusing on positives that makes you completely disregard the one deciding factor that may make or break a situation. I’m still here, in that beautiful, four storey house, and I don’t know if I’ll ever have the courage to leave, knowing that things could be different if I stayed long enough. One thing I do know, is that the longer I’m here, the further I get from being the person I should truly be committed to.
Words by Kate Riordan.