I didn't want to tell Veronika it was all her fault, but I had to. It was.
It didn't matter that she had little charcoal-colored, troublemaker eyes, that she'd just started hysterically crying on the bar or that I, a complete stranger, was suddenly the only thing standing between her and an aspirin binge.
It was her fault, so I told her.
“I hate to say this,” I said. “But it's all your fault.”
“What?” she asked incredulously through her tears.
“You broke up with him,” I explained. “And now, you're sad he's gone?”
“When I ended it, he just said OK,” she sort of whimpered. “Why did he say OK? He was supposed to fight for me.”
“He was supposed to what?”
“Fight for me.”
Poor Veronika. She appeared to have it all: a brain, a body and, from the little I'd heard from her friend, commendable blowjob skills. She was studying international affairs and casually dropped the word “decadent" into (if also sobbing) conversation. She ordered an Old Fashioned.
But she was still so new-age delusional.
"Fight for me." I hear this all the time. Why do women convince themselves this is a logical reaction? A likely outcome?
Too many happy rom-com endings, that's why. Too many empty, inspirational tweets going viral. Too much bullshit to distract us from predictable patterns of the human spirit — to protect us from it.
Fight for you? After you're the one who ended things? There's such a desperate arrogance in this line of thought. Surely you deserve benefit of the doubt and unadulterated chivalry, right?
Add those together, and the sum of what you're looking for becomes clear: absolution from the universal truth that our actions have consequences.
Yes, yours do, too. Time to start owning them.
Women who think men should fight for them have tricked themselves into thinking they're irreplaceable, that others simply cannot live without them. It's a cocktail of spoiled, childish assumptions.
And then, they end up sobbing to strangers over Old Fashioneds at 3 am on a Tuesday.
Everyone is replaceable — everyone. Even your grandparents who've been together for 40 years. If they didn't marry each other, they would have married someone else. If you don't get this, you certainly don't understand people enough to manipulate them. Your world will be safer once you learn this.
“You wanted him to come back, so you broke up with him?” I said.
“He was supposed to realize how much he missed me.”
Talk about playing with fire.
I don't understand how women could both value the relationship they have and treat it so carelessly.
I also don't understand what leads them to misinterpret Newton's third law so much to their detriment: Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, yes, but don't expect your push to elicit an equally forceful push back in your direction.
Really, pushing a person out only encourages them to pull away even further.
You want him closer, you want him more present and you want him back? Don't push him away in the first place. Dating can be a perplexingly complex situation, but this is the simple stuff.
Maybe he'll realize how much he missed you. But what he's more likely to do is say "fuck this" and bail.
Think of his options: Either he can lose you with dignity or he can “fight,” which, outside of your warped, passive-aggressive expectations, can be easily interpreted as him acting like an immature, possessive jerk.
When we get broken up with, we don't know which women want “the fight” and which don't. This mind game presents an impossible situation for us. Whether we respect your decision or adamantly oppose it, we still run the risk of being the asshole. Yet you expect us to just know which reaction you want and to play along.
You need to be good at manipulation to manipulate. You need to be meticulous in your planning and diabolical in your execution to pull it off. We tackled this issue in our advice column this week, and I'm writing about it again because I hear it all the damn time.
Fight for me. Fight for me. Fight for me. It makes me want to play in traffic.
“You told him to go away,” I continued. “Why would he fight for you? What does that even mean?”
“You fight for what you love,” she said. “He was supposed to love me.”
“And you betrayed him. Who fights for someone who does that?” I said.
Just believing you're worth fighting for doesn't mean you actually are, and breaking up with someone doesn't preclude them from believing the fight was already lost. He could've thought he was fighting for you every damn day by staying there, trying to make things work. But then, it wasn't good enough.
Veronika and I kept drinking.
“Do you really think it was my fault?” she finally said.
“Yes,” I replied. "You need to get back in the business of taking what you want, rather than thinking you need to shove it away so it'll find its way back.”
“Take what I want?”
“Why not?” I said. “Everyone else is.”
That's when she called the bartender to close her tab and grabbed my hand.
I rolled my eyes. I didn't want to tell her she didn't actually want to do this, so I didn't. Suddenly, I admired her.
She was doing what we do when we lose: wipe the blood off our face, light a cigarette and walk the fuck home. Which is exactly what I did, holding Veronika's hand through the cold, dark night.
She was defiant. She wasn't weak; she was just confused. I knew she'd be able to fight another day.