Beware! Many of us are lying about the reasons behind our breakups
Besides, who died and proclaimed that one needs a reason to end a relationship?
Depending on who you listen to, only between 5% and 10% of people with gym membership ever lose weight or reach any of their other physical goals. Before the gym rats descend upon me like mayor Herman Mashaba on a poor cow-head peddler, allow me to add some context. After all, if we've learnt anything in the past 24 years, it is that context justifies any bull dung.
My point has nothing to do with the thousands of folks who flood Instagram and Twitter with pictures of their workout sessions. Rather, I shared that "statistic" to point out that humans have this incredible capacity to participate in activities that yield extremely poor results in the hope that they are the exception.
To quote Scott Adams in his bestseller The Dilbert Principle, "Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating and religion."
When it comes to the "dating" part of that quote, I could not agree with the cartoonist more. I'd venture that romantic relationships fail about 90% of the time. Consider the fact that by the time anyone is on their third relationship, two-thirds of their relationships have not worked out. And way too many of us lie through our teeth when pressed for reasons why we broke it off with our romantic interests.
I once dated a flawless woman. She never got angry, complained, frowned or got disappointed with me. Every time we went to the movies we ended up watching what I wanted to watch. One time, I chose a Jean-Claude van Damme movie to see if she'd protest. About 15 minutes into the movie I could feel my IQ shrink at a rate of two points a minute and staged a walkout. All she did was offer me her sympathy about the cinematographic torture I'd endured.
It was like playing emotional wall tennis. All I ever got in return were echoes of whatever mood I was in. In the end, I decided that she was possibly psychopathic and would likely one day stab me in the chest 23 times while chanting the Apostles' Creed. No one should be able to spend more than an hour with me without wanting to strangle me at some point.
I think we can all agree that, as a reason for breaking up with someone, this errs on the flimsy side. We've all broken up with people and then had friends ask the moronic question, "Why? What happened?" For starters, who died and proclaimed that one needs a reason to end a relationship? Everything on this universe has a beginning, a middle and an end. Why not love? We put a lot of unnecessary pressure on each other and end up lying through our teeth, trying to find intelligent, mature reasons why we break up with loved ones.
When I hear, "I realised we were drifting apart intellectually, spiritually and emotionally", my BD detector goes ballistic. This is because we're reluctant to admit that it was something as stupid as the fact that she was an unrepentant cuddler.
Your eyes are not deceiving you. I performed a cursory scan among a few people I know before writing this column. After the customary cerebral BS, a friend finally admitted, "This is a bit embarrassing but it's mostly because she was a serial cuddler." Upon further probing he shared how they'd gone for a vacation to a game reserve in Bela Bela.
Apparently, every night she'd cling onto him after their nocturnal liaisons. In a defeated voice he said: "Dude, this was in the middle of Limpopo. In January. I'd wake up feeling like we were two molten Cadbury's éclairs stuck together at the bottom of a handbag. It occurred to me that I could never take this woman on a vacation to Durban, Mauritius, Mombasa or the Caribbean without finally snapping and suffocating her in her sleep."
When I was an inexperienced young man who religiously watched Seinfeld I was perplexed by the running theme in which Jerry was forever breaking up with love interests for petty reasons such as hand/ feet size or because she was a "low talker". Since then I've experienced and witnessed breakups on the basis of the chewing sounds people make when eating, or because she always took food from his plate.
I think my personal low moment came when I called it quits with someone because she was obsessed with us wearing matching outfits. You know, those "cute" his-and-hers outfits. I remember the last straw like it was yesterday.
She kept insisting that I change into my red Converse sneakers for some reason I didn't get. Then the penny dropped. We were both wearing white T-shirts, blue jeans and red caps, and all I needed to complete the perfect match were my red sneakers.
But also, in the words of Robert Frost in the poem Reluctance,
Ah, when to the heart of man
Was it ever less than a treason
To go with the drift of things,
To yield with a grace to reason,
And bow and accept the end
Of a love or a season?