The Boring Boyfriend Trope

When it comes to men, I’ve always had a knack for one-sided relationships. Almost every relationship I’ve ever been in has been a product of an intense crush they’ve had on me that I’ve felt too guilty to reject. It’s a cyclical thing that’s always happened like this:

  1. Boy develops feeling for me.
  2. I, unsure of my feelings, flirt back to test the waters.
  3. We kiss.
  4. He asks me out.
  5. I, feeling as though I owe them for the kiss, accept.
  6. We date for 4 months – 2.5 years

Step 6 is where things branch off into different directions. Most of the time they start being manipulative and abusive in a way I’m all too familiar with until I resent them so much that I don’t even feel bad for breaking it off.

Right now I’m at step 6 with my boyfriend, Marlowe. Those of you who keep up with Eloise’s silly antics might remember Marlowe as my computer science TA whom I “wrongly” kissed in my last blog post. That snapshot of my life was taken during step 3 of the process, and as you can tell a lot has happened in those three months since. Marlowe asked me out, and since I’d already kissed him by then and I didn’t not have feelings for him, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to do the whole relationship thing again. Now, I’m reaping the consequences.

Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that this is my fault and that I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do, but at the time a relationship didn’t seem like the worst idea and I was fairly interested. The honeymoon phase was short and sweet and every story I told him had him awestruck. How could I not enjoy the attention? I’d tricked myself into thinking that I was crazy for him when I realize now that I was only crazy for how crazy he was for me. Classic, I know. I learned a lot about him, met his family, stayed over at his house for Easter, and did the normal couple stuff that I was used to doing, but the more I dove into it the more I realized how not ready I was for that commitment (or at least that commitment with him).

A lot of times, when I fall for how a boy loves me, I find that we don’t actually have very much in common. Especially in Marlowe’s case, I noticed that he didn’t have much of an opinion on anything (which is to say, anyone who knows me would tell you that I’m the exact opposite). His world revolved around computer science and astronomy, and I found that rather boring. It’s not that I found those two subjects uninteresting– I’m a CS major after all– but he didn’t read, watch TV, listen to music, enjoy traveling, play sports, or have friends. Not to mention that he also suffers from ADHD, high-functioning autism, OCD, auditory processing disorder, and so many food allergies that he is vegan but not by choice.

All that piled on became a little draining. Especially since I’m his first girlfriend (and kiss), I can tell how eager he is to figure the relationship thing out. He’s discovering what he likes and doesn’t, and how to deal with girls in different situations. There’s nothing wrong with that. I’ve been there too– obviously. But, that’s my problem. I’ve been there. The pointless fights, the co-dependency, and the clinginess were all traits of my first relationship that I got over with three years ago. I’m not in the mood to put up with that again. A lot of the times he starts an argument over something small, it reeks with the familiarity of a fight I’d have started with my boyfriend when I was 15. Which is to say, I get it, I empathize, but I just don’t want to go through it again.

Because of that, I’ve been pretty prickly. I don’t really kiss him very much, and I ask to hang out mostly out of courtesy than actual interest. It’s a chore, but playing the girlfriend role hasn’t been very demanding. I do my thing, he does his thing, and then we’ll meet up for a little bit everyday to just laze around for a while. His autism has made it easier, for sure. Because he’s so high-functioning, he can tell when my body language reads negatively, but if he asks me about it, he won’t read between the lines and will just take my word for it. What I mean is he might pick up on how I don’t want to hang out with him, but if I tell him it’s just because I’m stressed and busy with finals week he’ll shrug it off and keep about his day being content with his life. He doesn’t see the subtext.

With that said, he’s very content with our relationship and he believes I am too, so I’ve just been waiting for time to skip over this part of my life. By the time I’d discovered how little we had in common, he’d already bought tickets and a hotel room to visit me in New York this summer, and since I know how expensive New York is, I couldn’t exactly call it quits and let him waste his money.

My mother, on the other hand, thinks this boy is good for me. He listens to what I say, doesn’t get jealous, and let’s me be an independent person– every woman’s dream. She says being emotionally attached is the worst thing I can do in a relationship and it hasn’t worked out for me before, so my apathy towards Marlowe is good for my mental health. He’s incredibly sweet, a good listener, and not in the slightest bit abusive, after all. But honestly, if this is supposed to be a dream, I can’t wait to wake up.

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