melancholy

How Dating And Breaking Up With An Artist Made My Life Richer

Photography by  Giuseppe Palmisano

Photography by Giuseppe Palmisano

I met him on Tinder. My friends insisted I sign up for it because I was lonely. I love my dog, but sometimes it’s nice to have a man’s company. I was drawn to his scruffy hair, his jawline, his kind eyes. I was so attracted to him, but I didn’t think he would like me. I didn’t expect anything to happen, really, except sex once or twice – maybe. When it turned out that he actually liked me, kept texting to see me, I was a bit surprised. In fact, I never could believe it.

He was an artist. He looked at the world so carefully. He would stare at the sky like he was hallucinating, but he wasn’t. And he would analyse everything, dream endlessly. The way he looked at me was with these same piercing, investigating eyes. And he’d tell me how wonderful my eyes were, how they sparkled. Yes, I’d heard this before and I figured it was just a line, but he said it so much, and so carefully, that I eventually believed it. Everything to him was so deep. Sometimes I felt deeply loved. Other times, it was too much. I mean, who am I to deserve it?

I didn’t know much about art before dating him. I never went to exhibitions. I used to think they were sort of boring. But it was fun to stroll through museums with him. He had a nice way of showing me things. Similarly, I never loved the cinema before him. I like watching horror movies at home. But he showed me other things, like thrillers he knew I’d like, but artsy ones. Talking about movies with him made me like them more, made me look a little closer.

And he always listened to interesting music – the kind of music that plays in the background and makes everything feel peaceful and pleasant. He liked some of my hardcore music too, but mostly he liked ambient stuff. And the more he played it, the more I listened.

We fought about fashion. He thought I dressed too frumpy. I guess he had an eye for what looked good on me, but sometimes I just want to remain covered up, hiding. He didn’t want to hide. He believed in being expressive, and pushed for me to do likewise.

When we fought, he was always kind. He wouldn’t yell. It was different for me. He was always so interested in talking through it. I just wanted to be alone, and usually he’d let me go, but he wanted me to know how much he wanted to work it out by talking about it. He always looked for the deeper meaning of a fight, and how we could get beyond it, grow, merge our souls somehow or something, even when disagreeing. Sometimes it just seemed stupid to me.

I must say that at first, I thought it was weird. I couldn’t understand how he saw the world. Everything was so poetic to him. But he taught me to cherish certain things even more, like sleeping in and doing nothing. He liked to organize our days perfectly, and for everything to be just right. And I suppose this was a lesson, too – to make the most out of every experience.

He made pictures. He often wanted me to pose in photographs. But he was so particular about the scene – the weather and the clouds, the light, the setting. He was obsessed with things being just right. And then I would stand there, and I would worry about being scrutinized. Surely I wasn’t as pristine as the way he saw everything else.

I suppose the problem was my own insecurity in the end. If this artist saw the world so beautifully and wanted things so perfect, what did he see in me? His I love yous never quite sounded right. Even when he looked me in the eye – it’s not that he was lying, but I just couldn’t hear it. Not from him. And didn’t he want his freedom? He loved birds, would always watch them. I don’t think he could ever settle down with me.

The sex was wonderful though. Somehow he taught me to let go when we were in bed. I was able to melt into his energy in a way I never had. And he was so uninhibited. It was a turn-on, and I felt genuinely wanted. I valued his passion – our passion that we shared. That was special.

And I started painting. It’s something I used to do a lot as a kid, but haven’t in a long time. But he encouraged me, and it’s been rewarding. I don’t worry so much to make things perfect, but to put the paint on canvas is something that heals me. I feel a creative energy again, and that’s nice.

We’re broken up now. Things were too hard, and I just don’t think he wanted to truly be with me forever. And in the end, I learned that this is what I want. Maybe he thinks that the typical family life is silly, but still, I know that being a mom is important to me. And I’m stronger now for knowing it.

He misses me, or so he says. He still sends me texts now and then, still keeps me in mind, and I suppose it’s nice to know that he still cares, somehow. But I don’t respond. It would be too hard to go back to those tumultuous feelings, knowing in the end that it couldn’t really work out. It hurts too much to even think about. So I ignore his letters and messages.

I do wonder if he’ll ever be happy. I don’t believe that I made him happy and I wonder if anyone can. Maybe. Or maybe, as an artist, he enjoys being tortured by the world somehow, and that nothing is ever good enough. I do hope he gets over it, because his vision is still special I think, and I wish him the best with making it work in a world that’s so much more callous. To the next girl that he’s with: I’m sure it will be fun, a magical experience, but maybe brief, maybe hard, maybe eye-opening. Such was my experience with an artist.

Written by Julie Snow