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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Attached to Attachment

I was recently on a train, in a seat to myself, with my eyes closed, trying to catch a little shuteye for the ride back. But I kept being snapped out of my coziness by the sound of someone’s headphones too loud. I looked to my left and there was a guy in the other window seat alone, with his headphones on, looking rather content — he just didn’t realize how loud they were.

The thing was though, it wasn’t just that it was loud, it was that it was a cheesy, not even well known, bad girl-group love song. Hmm…okay, eyes closed, get some sleep.

Eyes open.


The song ended…but wait…it started again. He was listening to the song again.


Okay, maybe he restarted it because he liked it. I’ve done that before. Eyes shut.

Eyes open!

The song was on again! I won’t keep going through this pattern…because the whole ride, for about an hour and a half, until his stop, he had the song on repeat! It was driving me mad! Who does that?

I mean, it wasn’t even a good song. At least if it was a credible song, I’d cut the guy some slack. But it was so lame, I just wanted to throw something at him—and I’m not a very violent person. I at least wanted to tell him to turn it down, because I could not have been the only one thinking that this guy was a moron.

Okay, I’m being harsh. The reality is that this was his “special” song with his “special” lady. Perhaps he was going to see her, perhaps he was leaving her. That’s the thing about trains, you’re always leaving somewhere, going to someplace else, and someone is always carrying a story that might be so heavy to bear that they need a long train ride to process it. But he had to put the song on repeat to process his relationship. Or maybe he wanted to torture me.

Perhaps, however, it was a positive thing. Maybe the song reminded him of his special lady, and hearing each lame lyric and annoying chord reminded him of her voice and smile, and the last thing she whispered to him before he left her, and gave him hope for the next time he saw her. Whatever it was, I hope it was worth it, because it was more annoying than you know.

But whatever it is, an annoying song, a sad movie, an object, we carry these “things” with us to remind us of the objects of our affection. Sometimes it is torture. He listened to that song repeatedly, but he didn’t seem too gloomy, so hopefully for him it was positive — or perhaps he was going to see her and she was going to test him on the lyrics to “their” song. And then sometimes, after a breakup, you might watch a sad romantic comedy…or several of them…and bawl your eyes out. To some it may seem like torture, but for you, it’s a way of processing your emotions.

Or if your boyfriend is going on a business trip for a week, and he left his favorite sweatshirt behind, you might wear it every day until he gets back. It may stink like his sweaty gym clothes, but it’s his — so it’s a part of him. You miss him, so it’s a way of having him there while he’s not.

When you get attached to someone, you get attached to more than just to the person — you get attached to the things that remind you of them. Some might say obsessed. But you want to be surrounded by the reminders of the person who makes you happy, or, if the relationship is over, you want to hold on to the person who once made you happy. When you’ve held on to so much, it’s hard to let go. You involve yourself in so much of the person — their music, clothes, interests, work, personality — you basically adapt to their life. Whether you are with them or not, it is a strange transition, and a relationship can really take over your own life. So much that you might find yourself listening to terribly cheesy songs on repeat on a train.

But generally, these attachments to a person, or rather, the person’s attachments, last in the beginning, and sadly, the ends of relationships. In the beginning is the giddiness, where you have to grasp everything there is to know about a person and all their likes and dislikes. You try new things to become in sync with their interests, and begin to “love” the things they do. Then you settle into the relationship, realizing there are some things you like, and some things he does, and then some you don’t. Then, if there is the breakup (which is not what I am hoping for any of you), you grieve a little for the relationship, and that is when the attachments to those “things” about a person come back. Their favorite song, movie, food, or article of clothing. You become attached to them and it’s hard to let go. But those are things you have to let go of, because they are just things. It’s the person, remember. And you’re probably pissed off at him. That’s right, be mad.

So, basically, if you have a nice song together—that’s wonderful, enjoy it. But don’t get too attached to these little “things” between the two of you. Remember that the relationship is built on the foundation of each other, not on a love song or the common bond of a favorite food. So the next time you’re listening to “I Got You Babe,” just remember not to hit the repeat button. It might save your relationship…and my ears.

Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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