Residual: Remainder. Left-over. The difference between two values. Pollutant remaining [in the environment] after a natural or technological process has taken place.

Yeah. Those sound about right.

Residual: a person from your past who is intimately close but not your chosen one. The one that you have a hard time letting go. The one who tends to make things complicated.

Everyone has one. You might not realize it yet. But you do. Well… let’s put it this way: if you’ve had social relations with people of your preferred dating class, then you likely have a residual. Maybe you dated. Maybe you didn’t. Residuals come from many backgrounds.

My residual (often referred to as Residual in here) has been around for nearly 8 years. However, he did not attain Residual status until maybe only 2 or 3 years ago. He became a residual after we attempted dating and immediately crashed and burned as a couple. But that didn’t break up our friendship. Now, we’re residuals. I have carried a soft spot for him for a long time, and he for me. We pick apart one another’s relationships and offer advice whether or not solicited. We’re a guaranteed sounding board, no matter how much time or distance is between us. We know a sick amount of very black-mailable stuff about the other.

But residuals often need maintenance. In fact, they are a high maintenance breed of friend. They tend to fall in between your average, run of the mill friends and your significant other. And it’s because of this position that they can be an exhausting person in your life. For your own health, you need to keep them at arm’s length (the phrase “never make someone your priority when you are only their option” helps as a personal reminder); you need to always be there for them (especially when their real relationship is headed south); you need to be understanding when you don’t hear from them for several weeks or months; and you need to very tactfully discuss new relationships. This last one is often a sticky subject and can sometimes cause little pangs of sadness in a residual. By definition, a residual is someone who is always there (and you always assume will be there). So this point is hard. But a good residual will minimize their shock and pangs and support your newest endeavor. And the same applies to both sides.

Boat Girl recently called to bitch about her residual. He, although firmly ensconced in a relationship elsewhere, has been giving her grief for a few weeks now for the amount of time she is spending with Boy Next Door. While truly nothing (yet) has happened with Boy Next Door, Boat Girl’s residual is up in arms. And this is a key trait of residuals: if I can’t date you, nobody should be! Or, if we aren’t together, you shouldn’t be dating anyone (even if I’m in a relationship)!

And men tend to be the worst of the sexes as residuals. I find that men really embrace the assumption that the lady will always be there, and they act truly mystified when she dates someone else. Memo to male residuals: we won’t wait forever.

So, the end of my story is this: Residual and I have clearly found our limits. We cannot be more than residuals. Nor would I care to be. Because at the end of the day, when you grow so intimately close to someone, you learn their darkest, deepest, ugliest secrets, habits, and tendencies. And to be perfectly honest, while Residual is a dear person in my life, those secrets, habits, and tendencies are not my on my list of tolerable qualities.

So cheers to residuals… it’s great to have someone there. But just remember, at the end of the day, you want us to be happy, and who knows!? You might just get along with the chosen one.


One thought on “Residuals Are High Maintenance

  1. Pingback: Thursday Morning Meditations

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