"But I Am, Incurably, Shallow."

Poor Alex. She meets Ryan on a trip, they flirt, email, talk; he visits. They talk for hours, have great sex, develop that emotional-intellectual connection, everything. Then, well, we all know what comes next. Crap.

The next thing she knows, Ryan's telling her that it's the distance, he's on the rebound, he's not ready for something serious. And then it's, whoops, he met someone new and can't she just be his friend? And so, trying to be an adult, Alex takes a breath, steps back and says, you know what? No, I can't, I'm sorry.

Some details have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent. But unlike previous occasions, one important one is behind a little white curtain at the end.

My dear Alex,

It makes me extremely sad to hear you say that we cannot be friends, because I miss you a lot and you're an incredible person to have as part of one's life. That your pain is still acute saddens me further. If only there was something I can do. But perhaps all I can do is be honest.

I have a pattern in relationships. A connection forms, either through a prior platonic friendship or an intellectual/emotional infatuation (typically long distance). The initial conversion of this connection to a romantic relationship goes swimmingly, with tons of sex. But eventually (three months or so is the typical expiration date for limerence) the rush of the new dies down and it becomes apparent that I am not physically attracted to my girlfriend. My reaction to this ranges from silent, secret disappointment to total cutoff of physical intimacy. I try to tell myself it doesn't matter and that I'm being shallow. But I am, incurably, shallow.

I cut things off between us because history was going to repeat itself. Your weight bothered me. That you are a very cute, winning woman with amazing and improbably compatible bedroom skills would have, in the end, made no difference. Our intellectual and emotional connection would have only made it harder for me to eventually leave. In an ideal world, our partners would click with us on every level. But when you don't click with respect to one of the only factors and it is socially unacceptable to satisfy outside your romantic relationship, it's bound to be a disaster.

Also, I met someone else who I am attracted to. We have different sensibilities. But she's close to me, and she cares about me, and I care about her. Maybe you'll just feel bitterly vindicated by this. You called it, after all. I didn't intend for this to happen, but it did anyway.

There is nothing I wish for more fervently than for us to be able to talk again. Half a dozen times a day I have to stifle the urge to write, to comment on some darkly hilarious thing you've said or share something with you. Please, do what you need to do to stop the pain. But don't just walk away from me forever.

Yours,
Ryan

Wondering what I edited? Highlight the paragraph below.
A woman sent this to a man. I changed the genders. Once upon a time, a woman I never liked referred to my best friend as "a moped — fun to ride, but you don't want your friends to see you." She sucks. So does "Ryan." Physical attraction is when you want to bone someone, which she did. Caring how someone looks to your friends is crap.

Image captured from Shallow Hal
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