You woke up crying. 

“I wish my uncle was still alive.”

“I know, baby.  Maybe he went where he needed to go though?”

 “Yeah, he’s in a better place.”



I couldn’t get it up that first time because I wasn’t sure you really wanted me in you.  The second time, you said I was too big.  I tried to be gentle, came as quickly as I could. 



I cooked matzah ball soup with onions, mushrooms and carrots.  No chicken because you’re vegetarian.  I heard the pride in your voice when you told your sister I was cooking dinner for us.  You said it was odd to smell food in your apartment that you hadn’t made.  I left you the leftovers. 



dear peter,

I tried calling last night and today, but have not been able to reach you, so email will have to suffice.  Last weekend left me with serious concerns about us.  We did connect, but we need more than that if something romantic between us is to survive.  We live our lives in opposite ways.  You are spontaneous, where I am structured.  You live for the moment, but I plan for the future.  You don’t care about society, yet I take my role as part of the larger community seriously.  You cultivate the internal life, but I exist very much in the outside world. Where you value emotion, I prize logic.

We’re also at different places in our lives.  I’ve begun to establish my career, am pursuing my studies, and have many other responsibilities.  You have focused on art and writing and have not established the kind of responsibility and stability that I need in a partner.  I just don’t think there is a place for a lasting romance between us.









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PETER SCHWARTZ is a poet, photographer, and writer. His poetry has been featured in The Columbia Review, Diagram, and Opium magazine. His photography has appeared online at CELLA’s Round Trip, eyeshot, and Litterbox magazine. His fiction in such places as Nano Fiction, Pindeldyboz, Prism Review, and DOGZPLOT, where he is art editor. He thanks God and O.C.D. for his extensive publishing credits.

49 responses to “My Last Relationship (tears, sex, soup, surprise)”

  1. Stefan Kiesbye says:

    Matzah ball soup was clearly “too sensitive.” Only people without meaty jobs could cook that, clearly. But after getting that note and the initial hurt, there must have come that great moment of relief to have escaped further notes of this caliber?!?

  2. Amen, fellow nice guy. Thanks for this reminder – you’re right – I don’t need any Dr. Spocks in my life. The heart beats on.

  3. Anon says:

    Peter, do you recall hearing a sound when you were reading that note? Not particularly loud but distinctive, like an angry wasp zipping past your ear? Yeah. That was the bullet you dodged. Mazel tov.

    As an aside, I cannot help but wonder how many times such a structured, professional person drafted, re-read, edited, drafted again and then spell-checked the note. If this happened in the recent past, I’d suggest hitting Reply, inserting a single typo into her text and saying nothing more than “Fixed it for you.” One of two things will happen: She will either berate herself for missing it or will obsessively re-re-re-re-read her Sent Items copy and try to decide if you’re screwing with her. Either way, she’ll likely lose her mind.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      My guess is she did three rewrites and had one, maybe two girlfriends look at it first.

      My god, the suggestion about hitting reply and inserting a typo is genius. My suggestion would be to take out one of the places where she wrote “you are” and insert “your.” Notice she didn’t write “you’re” anywhere? It’s you are throughout. Very mechanical and stilted. Interesting.

      • Anon says:

        One of my most common oversights (aside from missed tags) is missing the final letter but leaving a valid word – “you” for “your”, “no” for “not”, et cetera.

        Peter, a number of years ago, I went through a pretty tough time, a lot of self-evaluation and questioning of my reality. Turns out, a female friend of mine was going through the same thing and we sort of compared notes. Both of us realized we had grown significantly apart from our respective spouses. I chose a pretty hard path of really trying to let my wife be herself and then seeing if there was someone in there I could still love and be with (obviously, there was). My friend, on the other hand, essentially shrugged and started brazenly shopping for her own apartment online while sitting next to him on the couch. Once she’d set up her own accounts and found her own place – actually discussing it with him as calmly as if telling him she was buying a new PC or desk – she just printed out the divorce papers, signed them and moved out. Snip.

        I can be an asshole and I still keep in touch with my friend but there’s something… not right about being that cold to someone with whom you’ve connected. Even if you aren’t feeling it anymore, you don’t have to be that clinical. Even surgeons have the decency to wait for the anesthetic to kick in.

        • You are right about that. I recently dated someone and she and I were involved for six months and the next thing you know, I’m writing a heartfelt note and she’s sending me a note that says she doesn’t want to talk anymore and better yet, “doesn’t want to explain why”. The note hurts either way, but I feel you. When you’re that close to someone, to have that type of reply be the last thing said is extremely unsettling.

  4. Hahahaha! Very, very, very dometic terrorism. Love it.

  5. Lorna says:

    I expected a little more…. But then, I’m a woman. 😉

  6. Tom Hansen says:

    She sounds like one of those women who think they can find the right guy by plugging some facts into a computer, one of those who have to respect for magic. Then again, maybe you just weren’t rich enough. (did I really say that?) Come on girls, go ahead and slam me for that one.

    • Zara Potts says:

      Ow!!! Slammed.

    • Gloria Harrison says:

      I’m developing this theory that when people just “aren’t feeling It” they feel some desperate need to explain why and will pick apart a situation until they come up with some talking points. I think “I just don’t feel It” should be enough. There doesn’t have to be more than that.

  7. Haha, yep, the funny thing is: she’s a WRITER! Hopefully she’ll meet some soul-less millionaire who will take care of her for life. I ain’t mad atcha, baby! Thanks for the support, Tom. BTW, ‘American Junkie’ is on my radar.

  8. Dang. I think your last girlfriend might have been my last boyfriend.

  9. HAHAHA! They’re everywhere, huh Amanda?

  10. Aleathia Drehmer says:

    “The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

    –Thomas Merton (busting out the jam)

  11. Aleathia,

    Uh. Are you saying I didn’t let her be herself?

    • Anon says:

      Obviously I am not her but perhaps she saying your now-ex was doing you a favor – respecting you for who you were rather than try to make you fit her needs. I’d still try to drive her batshit crazy, though, just in case.

  12. True. Maybe she realized she would have killed me and cut me free…

  13. Another Anon says:

    Just a little awkward to write one side of the story in a public forum she’s bound to stumble upon but still, some nice moments here.

  14. Anon,

    Agenda alert! You won’t even identify who you are so obviously you’re a fan of anonymity but this is a non-fiction/memoir site so if I don’t write about my life, what exactly should I write about? Kisses.

  15. Marni Grossman says:

    I once received an e-mail from an ex with this line:
    “Our [relationship], whatever it may have been, never soured, never even curdled. Our milk was never spilled.”

    Why do relationships evoke this sort of tortured imagery?

    • Judy Prince says:

      “Our [relationship], whatever it may have been, never soured, never even curdled. Our milk was never spilled.” Marni, you actually *dated* this person?! Suggestion: administer essay tests to prospective dates from now on.

  16. Irene Zion says:


    Hard night, but you are so better off without her!

  17. Aww, thanks Irene. Appreciate it. I’m thinking this piece might get me sympathy from some (un?)lucky TNB contributor and then she’ll be my next girlfriend. Fingers crossed.

  18. Marni,

    Yikes, that dude (like my dudette) seems like he might have cared more about ending it with cool words than making the relationship work. I don’t know why all the tortured imagery. Can’t people just hang out and be nice to each other anymore?

    P.S. I was almost above commenting that you’re really cute and only a fool would end things with you. This close.

  19. Becky says:

    Of COURSE it was “too big”…uh huh.

    Sorry. I’m kidding. I am not emotionally mature enough to read about sex.

    We’re at such different places in our lives, Peeter. I mean, Peter.

    In fact, I can never talk to you again as a result of this post.

    • Anon says:

      Good Lord, Becky! It’s Netiquette 101 to accept intimate details without question. Which is why most guys are 6’4″, 230 pounds of lean muscle, tripod-swinging, master ninja, sensitive poet types with flowing manes of hair. Except when they’re shabbily-dressed, bald-headed, wine-sipping, pretty, pretty princesses such as myself. Besides, with all the gravatar-customizing that’s been going on, don’t make him prove it!

  20. Becky, you’re a weirdo.

  21. Latest Anon,

    My post happens to be completely true. Why you’re interested in my dick size I’ll never know but think about the following. You’re basically accusing me of painting myself in a better light than what I really am. Did you read that email at the end? I’m showing the whole world that I got dumped because this woman thought I was a loser. Not to mention, I admitted not being able to get it up the first time we were together. Obviously I could have made myself look a lot better than that, so really, what the fuck are you talking about?

    • Anon says:

      Um… I am pretty much the same “Anon” I was yesterday, recommending you drive your ex utterly mad. And I am not interested in your dick size, merely poking fun at the fact that the internet is an anonymous place and many people – not all – embellish wildly so it’s a waste of time to question such details, especially since it might inspire you to post some vague pornography in a temper-induced “put up or shut up” moment.

      If anything, I was baiting Becky because she’s fun. 😀

      Now, I apologize for any offense given. I have made no accusations and, as the opinions of fools are rarely relevant and sometimes contrary to reality, why would it matter what this woman thought of you? She is now out of your life, aside from being future essay fodder.

  22. Dana says:


    I get the feeling that pupil doesn’t read many of the comments around here.

    :: backs carefully away from the large penised, short tempered man ::

    • Anon says:

      Luckily, I never shut the hell up (at least during work hours) so he should get familiar with at least me pretty soon. Equally luckily, I’ve been married for a long time so I’ve gotten really, really good at apologizing for misunderstandings on short notice.

  23. Shanti says:

    I like the sincerity and the way this causes me to think about how we are individual in our preferences and tolerances, that life is ever changing. The way you’ve structured it into sections is also appealing.

  24. Aleathia Drehmer says:


    What I was saying is that if people don’t love us for who we are and just for the pieces of themselves that they see in us then it is a fruitless venture. So yeah, maybe she did do you a favor because how shitty would it be a few months down the line when she is trying to change you left and right? Also if she doesn’t have the ability to see passed what she wants from life then she was never considering you in the first place. Does that make sense? I’m not choosing sides in such a thing, but that quote struck me really hard when I read it concerning my marriage and my ex. Made a few things painfully clear and were lined with truth, which you know generally hurts.


  25. No, I get it. I just don’t get down like that. I think this whole culture of minorly dissing each other and then laughing at the sophistication and decadence of it all might be doing a little more damage than people realize. I prefer comments about the piece itself and not just general airing out of people’s agendas. I also understand that honest intimacy makes a lot of people uncomfortable (hence the jokes) and for that I apologize. Sorry, I have no face which is also one of the points of this piece. This is all just my trip though, carry on, my noisy brothers and sisters.

    • Anon says:

      I think I get what you’re saying and, again, my apologies for any misunderstandings or hijack. Not sure if, as the author of the piece, you have the ability to delete comments but, if so, I take no offense at your removing my extraneous stuff. Though I still stand by my initial suggestion.

  26. Aww, Aleathia, I feel you. You’re right, I thought being really really nice would be enough. But eh, is it ever? I hope I’m not the dinosaur I think I am. You make me feel like a little less of one though. Thanks, my durable good.

  27. Thanks Shanti,

    I appreciate YOUR sincerity. As the grandma in ‘Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close’ would say, you make me feel like one hundred dollars.

  28. Aw, thanks Anon. In your defense, I’m a sensitive biatch (really). Sometimes I wonder why I’m even on this site but then I remember the ridiculous amount of talent floating around here and know it’s all worthwhile. Hey, I’m actually reading at this next TNB literary experience in NYC, if you can get there maybe we can smoke a joint in the bathroom and pee on each other or something? Peace out, man. One love.

  29. Slade Ham says:

    if you can get there maybe we can smoke a joint in the bathroom and pee on each other or something?

    At least that would put the “dick size” argument to rest, hahaha 🙂

    Sorry. Crawling back in my hole now…

  30. Simon Smithson says:

    Ah… sometimes I think our teeth exist just for us to take one in. Because man, I know that feeling of taking it in the teeth, email-style.

    Why can’t everyone just think like and want the same things I do? Then there would be no problem.

  31. Thanks Simon, I’m sorry you’ve felt that feeling too but appreciate your support. We’re slowly gathering our tribe together though, right? I think so. I’ll make the hobo chilli…

  32. Gloria,

    I almost missed your comments in the mix! I think you are 100% dead on. I used to have a saying I enjoyed writing on bathroom stalls: “The truth doesn’t need a lot of words”. As she went on and on I had to ask myself: Is this even still about me? I think she used me to confirm some identity she wanted to confirm. Also, I think it’s interesting that the traits she listed for her are usually associated with males and mine, females. I don’t care though, I’ll wear that vagina if it’s that kind of party. Thanks for your insightful comments.

  33. Thanks to everyone for the support. As soon as I feel a little bit better I promise to start flirting again. Scout’s honor.

  34. Thanks Angela,

    I feel you. To be dumped in a note is dehumanizing. Even though we “lost” that round, I’d still rather be one of us. And by us I mean a person with a heart and conscience. Stay in tact.

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