He just didn’t get it


Each Romantic Monday I find my brain reflecting on past romances I have had in my life.  I fondly remember what was so beautiful about them, and I sadly recall the things that could have been so much better.

When I am in love, the object of my affection is well aware of my feelings.   I am very demonstrative with subtle touches and knowing looks, I am very generous with my words of love and support and I strive to achieve the element of surprise when it comes to giving little tokens to simply make that other person smile.


For some reason, on my drive to work this morning I dredged up a past relationship that had been pronounced dead long before its time.  After many attempts to perform CPR on the lifeless romance, it flat-lined and I had to call it.  I walked away knowing I had done all I could to save it and scrubbed my hands of the regret.

But that premature death still bothers me, because he just didn’t get it.   I would leave cards or poems on his dashboard just to make him smile.  What I thought was keeping us close, inevitably drove a wedge between us and the diseased cells began to form.  He was unable to appreciate the gifts I gave because they made him feel guilty for not buying me gifts or leaving cards where I would find them hours later.  What he failed to realize, is the only thing I wanted in return was his love.  I didn’t expect him to mirror my efforts, but I did expect him to understand that those displays and those gifts were me.  And if he couldn’t accept those, he couldn’t accept me.  Time of death – 8:00 pm on a Tuesday long ago.

I still visit the shallow grave of that romance on occasion.  I used to leave flowers on the tombstone, but I have since realized they will never be appreciated.

43 thoughts on “He just didn’t get it

  1. I confess, I laughed in a melancholy way at that last line. Sometimes people think gifts are quid pro quo, but they’re not – it’s right there in the name, ‘gift’. You’re giving someone something because they ALREADY gave you something – good feelings, or kind words, or just because they are who they are. Unless I’m reading this all wrong.

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  3. Some people aren’t good with accepting gifts. I’m one of those people. I’m getting better with it, though, as I’m having to take quite a bit of them right now just to survive.

  4. Oh Poly, this was very sad. I was in a relationship very similar to this, many years ago. It’s an awful, lonely feeling. I pulled the plug too, and I mourned for a while but as you said so beautifully, the flowers wouldn’t have been appreciated anyway. Some people just don’t get it. I’m not sure if they’re just not capable or they just don’t want to. Either way, it’s terrible to know that there’s a basic incompatibility in that regard that won’t ever be able to be fixed. Glad you had the cojones to call it, not everyone does.

  5. This was a lovely piece. You really captured the essence of two people who just don’t belong together, simply for the fact they can’t live in the same world. I’ve been there, and like you I pulled the plug too. My problem was that my former husband kept plugging it back in. He refused to believe it was over, which surprised me because when we were together, he didn’t seem to care if I lived or died. We were married a long time, with me feeling that my whole life was to serve him. He just didn’t understand why I “ruined” what he called his “perfect life”…Exactly. I did get a card and roses from him on our anniversary. 3 months after I left him. The first time he’d bought me flowers in 22 years. He just didn’t get the concept of too little too late. I never mourn that marriage except for the fact that it lasted as long as it did.

    • I still remember the day it was officially over and he told me I would be back. For what? We were on two completely different playing fields – his game was eternally stuck in the seventh inning stretch and mine was wrapping up in the bottom of the ninth. Good for us for standing up for a life we deserve.

  6. Beautifully written – love the comparison here. I’ve been there, in a way. I left a note with some song lyrics on the dashboard of a guy I was dating, and apparently it “freaked” him out and we stopped dating. It’d been about 2 months at that point, no we weren’t “official”, but it was just a cute note, or so I thought. Some people just don’t get it, as you beautifully illustrated here! Great Romantic Monday post – it’s always nice to see a twist on the subject.

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  8. I really like how you approached this, your thoughts on a past relationship and I often wonder sometimes at all the relationships which never happened because of things like this.. I dated someone (use the term date rather loosely) and it was the same sort of misunderstanding, i just went with what I felt like doing and didnt; even realize that my little expressions which I thought of as nice ways to let him know i was thinking of him would possibly be misconstrued or make him uncomfortable. It would seem if he didn;t get it, then it is better off dead then over beaten (like a dead horse) but I still have trouble with where the overprotectiveness against being hurt again..(in my case that was the hesitation, not wanting to accept I liked him because he was licking his wounds and protecting his heart) and truly not getting it… I think most people protect their hearts in the short term not really understanding what they are ruling out of their lives in the long term..

    • It was sad he couldn’t just accept that was me….in a nutshell. And even more sad that it had to end because he was so closed off in that respect. I’m still holding out hope someone will appreciate that quality in me….it’s never going to change.

  9. Why did I just picture the Phantom of the Opera leaving a single red rose on a grave marker? Christine! 🙂

    I wonder if you were speaking different love languages or mistaking the dialect of the other person? Differences can work (and be exciting) if each partner makes the effort to truly understand what the other person wants. You don’t want to find yourself ordering Schezwan in a fancy French restaurant. That’ll never work.

    And yes, I agree with everyone else. This was very beautifully written!

    • Thank you very much. There were many things that worked, but glaring things that didn’t…..and him not being able to accept that part of me was devastating. I will never change who I am to fit someone else’s ideal of what I should be. I hold no ill will….it just didn’t work….and it was a learning experience. I’m a better person for it.

  10. I’m so glad it died – if not, you may have changed to make him happy and that’s not what life is about. You are you and you will continue to love the same way. The one who “appreciates” it and “gets” it will be very lucky indeed 😉

  11. As always, beautifully written, insightful and honest — much as I would imagine your thoughtful gestures to be. If he was unable to appreciate that, you deserve better. I think for a lot of men, everything has an underlying tone of competition, and “competing” in the realm of romance with someone who is a “natural” is beyond their scope: They just can’t enjoy and embrace the moment. You did well to “call” that one, as difficult as I’m sure it was — an still remains to be on a certain level. And I should probably point out there are women who are just as ill equipped to handle affectionate men. I was married to one for 15 years, thinking — like you — that the notes, gestures and open affection would eventually lead to something better for both of us. From her perspective, I suppose she saw that as a sign of weakness, preferring the strong, silent type or dominant personality. After a while, the gestures and affection that go unappreciated begin to eat away at your own self esteem and sense of self worth and, over the years, turns the heart into something scarred that never has the chance to heal… until it stops being wounded. I’ve been re-married for nearly six years now, to someone who appreciates and initiates those loving gestures. What I discovered was that the heart not only heals, but grows when there is warmth. Without a doubt, there is sunshine in your days ahead — and it will have been worth the wait.

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