Sunk

My most recent opposite-sex-connection ended recently. I’m not terribly sad about it, though we’ve been sleeping together once a week for about six months, so I was lightly fond of him.

I call him an opposite-sex-connection because it wasn’t a relationship. I mean, it wasn’t a relationship in the way that people often talk about relationships. It was an antidote to loneliness. It was mostly about sex. It was something to look forward to all week. It was an oasis in the desert, fleeting and unsustainable but also a welcome relief.

So when it ended, I was only mildly stung. I mean, I knew it was coming, had thought for weeks already about kicking him to the curb, but I sawed half-heartedly at the tie that bound us with dull and chipped scissors because of the various benefits.

I last saw him at Christmas. He spent two nights with me instead of the usual single night, and I kissed him goodbye at the corner of the park after breakfast at the local diner. I never saw him again.

After about three weeks of no contact I reached out to him via social media and asked how he was doing. He told me he’d started seeing someone and didn’t know how to tell me.

I was like, just like that, dude. You just tell me. It’s totally fine.

The fact is that I knew it already. He’s not a genius by any stretch of the imagination, and there were glimpses on Instagram of an apartment building, a cat, a countertop. He lives in a freestanding house with a totally different cat and countertop.

I wasn’t born yesterday only to fall off the turnip truck and attend my first rodeo.

In any case, we’re done. I wished him luck and let him go. I was simultaneously bemoaning the loss and welcoming the opportunity while talking with my therapist this week, and he brought up a really interesting concept: the “sunk cost fallacy”, which often applies to gambling. Haven’t heard of it? Me neither. If you have, you’re smarter than I am. Or have more book learnin’ or something.

Consider this: you are in Las Vegas at a slot machine, and your commitment to playing that machine increases the more money you put into it. In other words, you put $5 in, and you spin and don’t win, no big deal. You put in anther $5, same result. You keep putting in $5 at a time, and by the time you’ve reached a certain threshold, you become more and more convinced that the machine must pay out.

The truth is that the machine won’t change, and the odds of winning never change. Only your perception of your deserved return on investment changes. The only positive solution is to walk away before investing any more money/time/effort/emotion.

Similarly, my sweet connection was not going to change. He told me exactly who he was right from the beginning: emotionally immature, a financial ruin, not too bright, a dedicated drinker. He was also handsome, kind, gentle, super willing and generous in bed. and completely straightforward and easy to talk to about what we hoped to gain from our encounters. It was open and honest, and after being with someone for 25 years who blushed at the mere mention of sex and didn’t want to discuss our relationship EVER, it was a refreshing change.

But it was a sunk cost investment. I could keep putting time and effort and money and emotion into it, but any returns in the form of a longer term, loving relationship would still be effectively zero, which is what I’m ultimately in the market for (not with this guy, but with someone).

Will miss: his million-dollar smile, his sweetness, his enthusiastic and vocal enjoyment of our nocturnal activities (sorry neighbors), his warmth (physical and emotional), his 6’2”, 200-lb frame, the smell of him, the fact that he traveled more than an hour each way to see me on the weekends.

Won’t miss: paying for drinks because he’s broke, feeling like he needs a mom instead of a partner in crime, his total lack of basic social graces, the pot and spray paint smells that always emanated from his backpack, his insistence on putting wet things on my dining room table, his alcoholic tendencies.

He wasn’t Mr. Right by any stretch of the imagination, he was simply Mr. Right Now. A dear friend pointed out that time spent with him precluded time potentially spent with someone more suitable. That’s partially right, but Mr. Suitable is a total crapshoot. When is he going to show up? Time spent with Mr. Right Now meant time not spent alone, and that was a certainty while it lasted. I have no regrets.

Bring on Mr. Suitable. I’m fucking ready for your dirtbag (albeit solvent and independent) ass.

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