Even though I was sad that we were splitting, I couldn’t help but laugh. It sounded absurd.
“That doesn’t exist,” I told him, trying to keep a straight face.
“Maybe you’re right,” he went on. “But I’m not ready to give up the dream yet.”
I pictured him venturing off into the vast single universe in footsie pajamas, wielding a plastic light saber, off to find Queen Frostine. I wanted to tell him he was wasting his time, but it would have been pointless to try to convince him. Like an encouraging parent would, you smile, pat him on the head, and say, “Good luck, soldier.”
I’ve been really, really in love before. Not with him, specifically, but I with others. I’ve been really, really happy, but I would never describe the feeling as “bliss.” Well, at least not after the rush of oxytocin wore off and I was standing face to face with a real man. And that always happens.
Is this “bliss” idea a childhood fantasy needing to be outgrown? An excuse to avoid intimacy? A nice way of saying, “I don’t like you that much”? Or some love Neverland I’ve never had the great fortune of experiencing?
The sad thing is, he wasn’t the first boyfriend to say this desire for “bliss” to me.
Another boyfriend expressed a similar sentiment during our breakup when he told me “he wanted a woman who would make him feel blissful.” I tried to explain that only you are responsible for how you feel. I don’t think he understood what I was talking about because he dumped me anyway.
I’m not calling these perfectly good guys Peter Pans. I have my own Wendy tendencies. I still live with my college roommate. I’ve never purchased adult furniture. I don’t own the kind of knives people use for chopping stuff. (A steak knife works fine for me, thanks!) For the record, both of the guys I mentioned above lived alone, had adult furniture, and owned a top-of-the-line knives. Good for them.
One delusion that I’m not harboring, however, is the notion of romantic “bliss,” the fantasy that Mr. Mint and and I will build a peanut brittle mansion in the Peppermint Forest and live happily ever after. I would settle for someone who makes me laugh and shares his fancy knives with me so I can fulfill my fantasy of becoming a contestant on “Top Chef: Just Desserts”. Or at least let me keep pretending.
I see other fulfilled couples around me, real couples. They have good lives, they live in real apartments, and have real problems not made out of gum drops. They figure those problems out. They strip away each other’s bad delusions and nurture the good ones. That’s the dream I’m not ready to give up on yet.