Maybe we would’ve had a stronger foundation to our relationship if we had just . . . dated . . . for a while before moving in together. Maybe, if we had gone slower, none of this would’ve happened.”
he’s annoyed. And a little panicked. he’s trying to hide it, but it’s there.
“You said you forgave me.”
“I have. But . . . I haven’t forgotten.”
he shakes his head. “That’s just chick-speak for you’re going to hang this shit over my head for the rest of our lives!”
he’s got a point. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a small part of me that wants to drive the point home—that he can’t treat me any way he wants to. That there are consequences to his actions.
That if he ever screws up again, I can—and will—leave him.
But it’s not just about that.
“You want to redecorate?” he asks. “Be my guest. You want to paint the walls pink and put unicorn f**king sheets on the bed? I won’t say a word.”
Now I’m shaking my head. “I need to know I can do this, Drew. For me. And . . . when our son or daughter moves out on their own, I want to know what that feels like, so I can help them.”
At this point, I expect Drew to agree to pretty much anything I want him to.
Women know when they have the upper hand. You know what I mean. The days after your husband forgot your anniversary, or your boyfriend spent one too many hours at the bar with his boys watching the game. The days following an argument, when the win is in the female’s column, are peaceful. Loving. Men go out of their way to be thoughtful and considerate. They put their shoes in the closet, take out the garbage without being asked, and remember to put the seat up before they pee.
So although I realize Drew’s not going to be happy with my reasoning, I imagine he’ll still be understanding and helpful.
“Well, that’s f**king stupid!”
Not exactly what I’d imagined.
I cross my arms over my chest. “Not to me, it’s not.”
he jumps to his feet. “Then you’re insane!” he pushes a hand through his hair and regains his composure.
When he speaks, his words are calm, reasonable; the levelheaded businessman making his pitch. “Okay . . . let’s agree the last few days have been pretty emotional. And you’re pregnant—you’re not thinking clearly. When Alexandra was pregnant she wanted to chop all her hair off, Miley Cyrus style. The hairdresser talked her out of it, and in the end she was glad. So . . . let’s put a tack in this idea . . . and revisit it later.”
I sigh. “This will be good for us. We’ll still see each other every day, but a little time apart, some space . . .”
“You told your mother you didn’t need space. That we needed to be frigging together to work through this.”
“That was then,” I say with a shrug. Then I go for the old reliable, “If you love something, let it go. If it comes back to you, it’s yours.”
he pinches the bridge of his nose. “So . . . you’re going to prove you’re never going to leave me . . . by leaving me?”
“No. I’m going to prove I’ll never leave you . . . by coming back to you.”
Drew pulls the front of his pants away from his waist and looks down. “Nope—still got a dick. Which explains a lot, because your reasoning would only make sense to a woman.”
I roll my eyes. And Drew presses on, “You’re f**king pregnant, Kate! We’re having a baby. Now is not the time to take a step back and figure out if you want to be in a relationship!”
I take his hand and sit him down next to me on the couch.
“Do you remember everything you did, before I moved in here?
The flowers, the balloons, the Sister B pep talk, the home office overhaul—they were beautiful gestures. Showing me how much you wanted me, and how willing you were to change your life for me.”
I look down at our joined hands. “But they also made for an offer I couldn’t refuse. No woman could. And I think part of you believes that you manipulated me into moving in with you. That if you hadn’t pestered me and laid it on so thick, I never would have chosen you.”
“You wouldn’t have.”
“See what I mean? And that’s just not true. It may have taken time for me to trust you again, to believe that you were ready for a relationship, but I would have. I still would have been in love with you and wanted a life with you, because of who you are. Not because of the things you did for me. This will fix that, Drew. So you’ll never doubt why I’m with you.”
he takes his hand back and rubs it over his face. “So . . . you want to pay for an apartment, pack up all your stuff, buy furniture, go to all the trouble of relocating . . . just to prove to me and to yourself that you can? Knowing that at some point, you’re just going to move back in with me anyway?”
“Well, when you put it like that, it sounds ridiculous.”
“Yes! Thank you. Take out all the psycho, emo-babble bullshit and it is ridiculous!”
“No—it’s not. Because, later, when we decide to live together again, we’ll be on equal footing. It won’t be you making room in your life for me—it’ll be us making a decision together. For all the best reasons.”
he looks away toward the door, thinking. Then he turns back to me. “No. I’m sorry, Kate: I want to make you happy, I do. But I can’t support something that’s so pointless. I won’t agree with it.
I won’t. Just—no.”
he crosses his arms and pouts. Like a two-year-old refusing to move until he gets his way.
There was a time, not so long ago, that his refusal would have swayed me. That I would’ve let his opinion become my opinion. That I would’ve given in for the sake of our relationship and my sanity.
But not anymore.
I stand up. “I’m doing this, Drew, with or without you. I really hope it can be with you.”
Then I walk down the hall to the bedroom.
I stand in the middle of the room for a few minutes, remembering.
Some of the most wonderful, and romantic, moments of my life have taken place in this room.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t going to miss it.
But I’m firm in my belief that my moving out will be good for us. That, at some point, it will make the difference between us crumbling under the weight of our own passion and stubbornness or becoming an even stronger pair than we were before.