The eX-Box: Beyond Buyer’s remorse and broken relationships
In dating, we often substitute our needs for temporary wants and our expectations for an illusion of perfection. For example, have you ever wanted an object badly? Any object— clothes, a car or money? Well, I’d always wanted a relationship.
For the sake of explaining my perspective and the lessons I learned, we’ll liken the idea of being a relationship to owning a Microsoft Xbox gaming system. Like the Xbox, I would see friends and other loved ones enjoying their relationships, all happy and having fun!
Sometimes, I would see people saddened and distraught when their Xbox wasn’t working properly. As a result, I was always scared to get a relationship—eX-Box—of my own. At times, I often played with other person’s eX-Boxes, but I never really wanted to be the exclusive owner of one.
So, finally, I took a risk and I decided to get into a relationship. I was so excited when I first got it. It was great, I played with it endlessly and even discovered some of its special features. There were some days where I was so devoted to my eX-Box, I’d isolate myself for hours. I’d keep myself busy and engaged—just me, myself and my eX-Box. I couldn’t put it down. I was hooked!
Until one day, I noticed that my eX-box had a few glitches. A few system malfunctions I’d overlooked in the beginning started to cause little problems. Those problems led to bigger problems. But, I continued to ignore them, thinking it would eventually start working properly again.
In psychology, there’s a condition called “cognitive dissonance,” a feeling we experience when we know something isn’t good for us, yet we still want it. It’s a hunch. Or our inner compass. Our intuition at work. It’s like smoking cigarettes: despite the warning labels and commercials that admonish us about their cancer-causing effects, we still buy them. Something about the nicotine soothes our nerves; we just have to have it.
Well, that’s how things were devolving with me and my eX-box. I saw all the signs that my eX-box just wasn’t working and I continued to deal with it, fooling myself that it would somehow fix itself. Or maybe I felt that eventually, I could repair things on my own. I mean really? My eX-box—the one that I stayed up all night playing with and had a lot of amazing times with—just wasn’t working.
Was I really excited by my eX-box or was I just comfortable with our mutual deluded existence? It’s funny how we see the signs that things are going wrong but we don’t make any changes. My X-box soon began scratching my games and started shutting down and freezing all the time.
Is there such a thing as Buyer’s remorse in relationships—and, if it does exist, when does it end? Is it really fair to call it quits after realizing that what you have isn’t what you thought it was?
Should you really have to keep your receipts just to feel safe in love, dating, and matters of the heart? I mean, doesn’t the idea of keeping receipts precipitate the inevitability that we’ll have to make a return? In the end, the whole ordeal can potentially leave us feeling empty: constantly, over-analyzing everything and never making a decision as to what we should do.
By the time I realized it, my Buyer’s remorse had ended and my eX-Box had completely stopped working. I couldn’t figure out if my eX-Box had stopped working because it was faulty or if I were the cause. Was I happy? And in love? I was. But, as much as I loved my eX-box, I loved me more.
Who knows? Perhaps one day, my eX-box will have a hard reset and start working properly—prepared and ready to make things work. Maybe.
Written by: TaMon Kane