I think there are very few people out there who have not been broken up with over something that seems unreasonable. If you haven’t yet, just wait. It’s like the chicken pox—the longer you ward it off, the worse it’ll be when you finally get yours. I sit with my friends for hours and hours discussing what might have been different if they had not gotten on the guy about leaving the seat up, scratching himself in front of Grandma, being the cheapest man alive or dead, or forgetting that they hate onions on a burger. What have I learned in my old age? Well, I’ve learned that nothing would have been different. The apocalypse was coming and you didn’t know when or where, but apparently the four horsemen dragged in a real doosey of a ridiculous argument that has nothing to do with the root of your relationship problems.
My dad has a friend who used to come home every night and slice a piece of cheese off of a block that was big even for a Costco purchase. When it got moldy, she just scraped away the mold and sliced more cheese, because that’s just what she did every night. One night she came home and looked in the fridge to find a void where there once was cheese. Her husband nonchalantly said he had thrown it away. She then packed her bags and left.
My friends, the cheese does not, in fact, stand alone. Hi-ho the dairy-o, the cheese comes with a whole platter of issues. When questioned why she would leave her husband over a block of moldy cheese, my dad’s friend rolled her eyes and sighed, “Pat, sometimes it’s not just about the cheese.” Like a lactose-intolerant friend of mine once claimed, the cheese broke her will to press on. It’s that one last issue, act, or argument that makes one up and leave. While it’s the last issue, it’s rarely the first. We can beat ourselves up over what might have been, but honestly, did you want what might have been to actually be? Despite the heinous break-up moment, the person pulling the trigger really is the savior. Just think, if you both stayed silent, you could be spending the rest of your life with someone who, if he doesn’t now, will never put the seat down, will never stop scratching himself in front of Grandma or even your pastor, will only become cheaper when he doesn’t need to impress you, and seriously, if he doesn’t remember now that you hate onions on your burger, he’ll forget more important things as well.
You, my dear, are also not without your faults. We, as women, nit pick. Stop. Don’t argue. This is a habit that, if unchecked, will eventually turn us into our mothers. In turn, this nit-picking is what crushes us for far longer than a guy in a break-up. We rehash, create alternate scenarios, and think of what we could have changed. But sometimes it’s not just about the cheese.
I’ve come away from college with only a few true lessons. 1. Dining hall trays make excellent make-shift sleds, as do Rubbermaid under-bed storage containers; 2. 19th Century British literature does not impress as many people as I feel it should; and 3. I make the same mistakes over and over. One of the mistakes is not looking at the big picture. Does it really take 12 years of boyfriends and pseudo-boyfriends to learn how to do this? I’m not sure yet. I haven’t quite mastered this ability. You can’t change who you are and how you deal with the majority of situations, but you can learn to let yourself go and accept that you are a whole person, not a list of transgressions in a relationship. Someday we all will find the other whole person who understands and appreciates us; the one who loves us and our moldy cheese.