Nupur Saraswat | January 25, 2016
Don’t date an entrepreneur.
You will never come first. No pun intended (or, perhaps some intended).
Don’t spend your time trying to bargain for theirs. Making plans that can fit into their schedules while overflowing into yours. Haggling for love that you know you deserve, but don’t know how to ask for.
Don’t spend your Sundays trying to explain to them why it’s such a “big deal” that you have brunch together. You won’t be able to explain to them that it’s not the Mimosas that you want, but their careless company at 11 am. It’s not the bagels that you want, but the uninterrupted stream of small talk. The kind of pointless small talk that is enjoyable with only this one person in the whole world. That you want to know about their aunt’s neighbour’s three legged cat, and you want to tell them about your mother’s trip to South Africa.
How do you explain to this person – whose attention span is shorter than this sentence, and that “important call” is always longer than what they say it would be – that they can never bore you? How do you advocate the complacency of sitting in an armchair together on a Wednesday night and the privilege of taking them for granted? The pretence of this relationship lasting forever is what you are asking for; and there are no words that can make this request understandable to an entrepreneur.
Don’t be the person who ends up looking all over the house for their keys, self confidence, wallet, motivation, cell phone, or the will to go on at 6 AM in the morning. Don’t be the one who quietly listens to the same story for the twentieth time because they have forgotten that they have told you this already.
But you stay. You stay even after knowing that when they look at you – they are looking through you. You have lost them in the middle of a conversation. Maybe it was something you said. But they are not here anymore. They are somewhere far away. Possibly thinking about the meeting they have tomorrow. More likely than not, they are trying to remember something. They are always trying to remember something.
What is it about this forgetful person that holds you back? Their uncanny ability to seem thoroughly engrossed by what you are saying, yet never retain any details? The ability to wake up at odd hours of the night to start the day, yet never make it to any dinner date on time? And sometimes, be only 20 minutes late, but to the wrong restaurant. What is so thrilling about this impending Alzheimer’s patient?
It’s time to leave. It’s time to strategize the exit, as they would say. Take them to a Taoist temple today. Sit them down near the well and ask for their attention. For once, ask for their complete and unwavering attention – to look you in the eyes and stop thinking about numbers and figures for a minute.
Tell them that you still love them, but you don’t like them anymore. Tell them that you can’t be the weekend girlfriend/boyfriend anymore.Tell them that while you were busy supporting their dreams and ambitions, you lost yourself.
that you don’t want to live for somebody else anymore.
“Wait, what, where is this coming from? This is so unexpected. I didn’t know you were unhappy, I didn’t see this coming.”
Look at them, tilt your head, smile a little and tell them that that is exactly why you are leaving them.
Tell them that you feel lonely while you are with them.
Kiss them on the cheek, stand up, and leave. Don’t look back. Walk away.
All you can do is hope. Hope that when they go to bed at night, they will realize that the smell of the pillow was actually yours all along. Hope that you can hurt them. Hope that you can make this single-minded, ever forgetful, grown (wo)man cry tonight. They won’t call you or ask you to come back – they might even forget that you are gone by the time they get to the office tomorrow morning.
But in this moment, in the dead of the night – they are finally, truly yours.
Of course, the only thing worse than dating an entrepreneur, is dating one with a bad start-up idea.
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