Today we saw what was supposed to be the tale of a lovelorn 30-something "boss" in a dead marriage with two kids who fell in love with a 21-year-old intern. But it read more like a 30-something needy man-child who fell for a young woman and tried to trap her in another dead relationship. It was clear from the opening sentences, wherein the author describes their relationships as not like Mad Men, that we, the readers, were in for quite the ride.
The story appeared, of course, on Thought Catalog, the personal diary of the fractious millennial in all of us, and was enticingly titled, "To The Millennial I Left My Wife For (And 8 Parting Words of Advice)."
The doomed affair started when the two hooked up at a music festival, a place where probably far too many liaisons begin. While the boss-man filed for divorce from his wife within a week of hooking up with his intern, it seems the budding romance was not long for this earth:
Yet soon the realities of our situation set in. The early puppy love turned serious and differences emerged from the shadows. You were finishing college, looking for jobs, and beginning to become an adult. I was going through a major life transition and adjusting to dating, and dating someone much younger.
:-| If someone's transition into adulthood is grounds for turbulence in a relationship, maybe said relationship was not meant to be? But it gets worse:
Despite all my progress, I made many mistakes. I threatened to expose how we got started when you threatened to leave.
I have no doubt that these two found something really special and were in love for a period of time. But this isn't a story about star-crossed lovers. It's a story about a manipulative and needy person who took advantage of a subordinate. The age gap in their romance doesn't matter—holding her decision to become involved with her boss over her in order to keep her in the relationship does. It's not romantic—it's an emotional hostage situation.
When you lashed out at me for no reason, called me bipolar and hurt me with your biting words, repeating over and over, "This is why I don't want a boyfriend!" I stayed. Even though you often acted years beyond your age, I kept lying to myself, refusing to believe you were young and naive.
Once again, the same attachment that allowed for our protagonist here to basically blackmail his lover allows him to project some idea of his lover onto the actual young woman whose life and feelings are disavowed. And yet, he continues the odd delusion in which he's some kind of languishing victim in an idealized romance.
Although she left him, he takes it upon herself to offer her advice ranging from "Don't give up on your dreams" to "Be comfortable with your body." You know, the deep stuff. Well here's a quick word of advice to this self-important hopeless romantic: Fuck the fuck off. You may have had a profound effect on this woman's life and vice versa, but confusing romance and domineering behavior is not okay. Leave the devastating love to Scandal, and grow the fuck up.
One can only hope that the former paramour is in a better place. The author in question seems to have made out with a unrequited love story of truly epic proportions, which is apparently why it was published on the 21st century take on Chicken Soup for the Soul.