“We are not in love. Not the way I’ve been told being in love feels like. But we have been sleeping beside each other for so many nights and I am the most beautiful doormat you have ever walked over.”
— Clementine von Radics
Remember that ridiculous song from Frozen that claims love is an open door? Well, if that is true, then I was the doormat. While desperately in love with my roommate, I was trying to be her perfect sister-in-Christ.
In our relationship, Rudolph led and I followed. I was a hardcore introvert and he drained me. He was an extrovert who wanted to spend the whole day together doing everything. We had dates that lasted all day even though I needed a break. When I got back to my dorm, I would collapse on my bed and lay there, exhausted.
He thrived on physical touch, while I shrank from it. He asked if we could hold hands. My entire body stiffened, and my mind screamed no. I said yes. He spoke of warm tingly feelings when we held hands, when all I could think was that I was uncomfortable. He stroked my hand and played with my hair and I fought down the urge to run. When we were watching a show and sitting beside each other, he took his hand and moved my head so that it was resting on his shoulder.
He would go on rants about politics for more than an hour while I sat there, silent. Trump was his personal hero. According to him, it was stupid that so many transgender individuals committed suicide over being misgendered and deadnamed. He said that liberals were pure evil and intended to do only harm. I had opinions that differed from his, even though I was relatively conservative when I was a Catholic. I nodded placidly.
Rudolph would also talk obsessively about himself, but in the most deprecating way possible. He didn’t have much self-esteem. He took any teasing as barbed criticism, so I adjusted to drop my usual sense of humor. He constantly second-guessed himself, and was extremely paranoid that I was playing with him. Was I? I was playing a game, but I wasn’t really enjoying it. A game that would end in a marriage to a man I didn’t love.
After a few dates, he started talking marriage plans. I felt far away as I nodded, thinking, oh my god am I really going to marry this man? He said we should have the wedding after he finished college, since that would be the same year I finished my master’s degree. He said he wanted lots of children. I felt like sinking through the floor, but I smiled faintly.
All the time I told myself, this is the epitome of what a good Catholic girl should want. And that’s what I’ve always been and always will be. I just need to make sacrifices, because that is what relationships are about. Endless sacrifice.
My mother approved of him, said that he always treated me right. I guess he did.
Six months into dating, Rudolph decided that we needed to have our first kiss. This was the first time I expressed any reluctance, but when he insisted, I caved. We kissed early in the morning, before classes. Well, it was more like he kissed me, forcing my lips more open than they were to begin with. He wanted to kiss again. Ok. He kissed me again. I was miserable. He spoke with such joy about how he felt about it that I forced a smile.
I think I realized after the kiss that I could not be the perfect Catholic girlfriend who matured into the perfect Catholic wife. I mustered up the courage and broke up with him a few days later. At first, I cited our numerous relationship issues, none of which he saw as issues because I had been so passive. He begged for a second chance, saying that he could change. Then I said it. I didn’t love him. I didn’t even like him romantically. He said, “Oh.” But he said maybe we could fix that, what did he need to do? I said please just let me go, and then I got up and walked away. Fast. He didn’t follow.
Post 52 in Socially Unacceptable: The Daily Life of a Queer Schizophrenic Wreck (2022)
This is an autobiographical series about my life, something I have wanted to do for a long time. I intend to add new content daily.
For the whole series, follow this link.