$1200.

That is what comes to mind when I think about my last relationship. Is it the main thing I reflect on? No. It is what I recall as a waste of money and what being in a relationship stole from my financial situation while dating. Was the money worth the emotional drain? It varies. This is why the total is notable. $1200 is not the entire amount I spent being an active participant in a relationship I no longer wanted. In the liminal space that is dating, knowing when your potential partner has an incompatible behavior is termed a red flag. I am not sure if this overlap comes from driving when needing to pay attention to where a flag is and to avoid the radius around it but it is clearly a term that has abstract benefits that are lost in the translation of practice if not visual cues.

In bed with my ex, I would glance up at their eyes while maintaining a rhythm that ensured their journey to climax was constant. I often would do this check and mildly enjoy the visual but there is something about the dull glassiness in their eye that did not really change from the initiation of the sexual encounter to the completion of it. It strikes me that the journey to climax was the need not the individual taking them on this journey. That is when I started counting our expenses in some capacity. I mentioned in previous essays that my lack of interest to climax in the bed with this partner started on a trip out of state where their participation in the preparation fell short after talk of being eager to contribute. Behaviors seeped in self-sustaining efforts versus us establishing ourselves as a team, I began to get project-oriented about this relationship. I had openly accepted that I had violated my ending terms but surely the benefits of experience would be worth the money and time.

I did not enter this relationship hoping it would last a lifetime. Granted, I yearned in the abstract to be in a relationship that goes to teamwork to keep the foundation. In my idea of a lifelong relationship, the lack of dual effort from both parties makes commitment dead on arrival. I had a jarring introduction to dating being a late bloomer hoping to acquire a long-term relationship that surrounded me in the absence of my best friend and gay boyfriend- both were closing in on a five-year mark in their relationships. I did not seek that goal but to have it seems so commonplace in my peer space, it did not need to be that far off did it? But it was not my mindset of wanting a timed romance but the willingness of individuals not willing to respect initial boundaries nor adhere to their own when a paycheck is not attached. That was this relationship- something that was asked to live past is sell-by-date san refrigeration. I chose a brief relationship to celebrate my financial recovery, I was on life support taking a walk on the hospital grounds about to cough out an allergy irritated lung.

I had the same mindset when my father returned to my life. I was on the verge of foreclosure mediation and my estranged father was motivated by the loss of his brother to rekindle his erratic relationship with his adults. I do not know if I would have been willing to entertain these soft sallies into my life from any family member as unsettling as my father. this is a man whose own siblings choose to sit on the sidelines ignoring that they do not know our names or voices and that his comments on his children ensured they never reached out to us or the convenience of not enjoying this sibling was reinforced with his divorce actions. I am not sure since attempting to start a conversation with those family members is more akin to cold calling a client I want to sell a gallbladder to. Sitting at my dining room table, telling him the slate is wiped clean, I got day dates and money on occasion while I hustled for new job security. I wish having my brother at the table meant we aired our shared grievances but alas, this monthly schedule I had to implement was mine.

If I stopped, it would not restart.

I don’t look at my father and my last attempt to hold a romantic companion in the same frame as far as what they mean. one is family and one is water to me. I have been trying to get a pure cup of water to hydrate me.

Maybe with tsunami. Right now, it requires filtration.

This total is not solely why ex is an ex or why ex was the last date to become an ex. It was the break up that cemented that along with the red flag space.

If you are a habitual reader of my essays, you know

also add memories of the dad and why I openly acknowledge that he is bad on a person space since there is no dad deviantion.

Taking my words out to ‘lunch’.