I Had a Little “r” Relationship

A romantic idealist reckons with finding — and then losing — Mr. Not-Quite-Right

Dana DuBois
Human Parts
Published in
11 min readOct 23, 2023


A couple reflected upside down in a puddle of water, holding hands.
Photo by The HK Photo Company on Unsplash

“I don’t want this,” my boyfriend said to me, stone-faced.

We’d spent five glorious months together, my heart on fire. Then on my birthday, he picked our first fight. I apologized, halfway broken, baffled, in tears, and then told him I loved him, for the first (and only) time. He wished me a happy birthday in return.

He’d leave me for his best friend’s wife a few weeks later.

He didn’t want “this.” He wanted that.

I was crushed, devastated.

A few months later, Trump won the election. Nothing made sense anymore. I could barely eat or get out of bed. That had never happened to me before, nor since.

I foolishly decided dating again might help. November and December saw a double wham-bam of dickheads who couldn’t manage to keep condoms on their dicks. My heartache intensified to despondency, with a side of STD panic.

I had to try something else.

I started New Year’s Day 2017 alone at a favorite cafe, with a perfect oat milk latte, my first dose of Wellbutrin, and a morning-after pill.

“Bottoms up, 2017,” I toasted myself as I sucked down the pills with the creamy brew.

Things had to get better.

And they did. Wellbutrin restored my natural sense of buoyancy with its steadfast chemical goodness. It was like the best boyfriend ever — I felt elevated, happy, and sated, as I had little-to-no sex drive under its influence. I just wanted to eat well, move my body, and enjoy my life.

Eventually I realized antidepressants looked good on me; I’d gotten fit and I looked pretty damn great. I wasn’t the only one to notice. Men looked up and met my eye approvingly when I passed.

Hello, world of the sexually active, nice of you to notice I’m here.

By late spring, I put my dating profile back online, and what a difference my weight loss made. I was viable. I started flirting, with Wellbutrin holding the sadness at bay, but with a lingering sense of romantic…



Dana DuBois
Human Parts

Publisher for Pink Hair & Pronouns and Three Imaginary Girls. Boost nominator. I'm a GenX word nerd living in the PNW with a whole lot of little words to share.