Call me stubborn, mule-headed, an old dog. Call me whatever you want, but I’m sorry I can’t change what I am. You can work on me for a hundred years, but it’ll never stick. I simply can’t be someone I’m not.

I can only apologize so much for being enigmatic enough to continue to be an intriguing mystery, yet at the same time so emotionally available. When you come home from work I can’t help but want to know how your day was and what the other girls at the office think of you. I’m driven to sometimes engage you, but others to just let you get it off your chest. You think I don’t hate the fact I’m such a good listener? It’s a curse, a burden I carry with me. I’d love it if things could be different, but they can’t because I’ll never change.

I can sit here and blame my parents all day long about the fact that I love to vacuum, but the truth is, there’s no one to blame but me. And I’m not changing. You’re just going to have to deal with the fact that you’ll never have to lift a finger around the house. This is me, warts and all.

It’s my fault I know first aid and saved that kid’s life on our vacation to Tahiti. It must have interrupted your sunbathing when her parents hoisted me on their shoulders on the pool deck like a victorious boxer. And I know we had a quiet evening planned that night, but the Sheraton really wanted to throw that banquet in my honor. But even if I could take it all back I wouldn’t, because this is part of the monster that lives just beneath my skin.

Sometimes my haunting background in culinary arts compels me to make you dinner so when you walk in the door there’s a gourmet meal waiting for you on the candlelit table (also, I drew you a bath so you can soak while I get out the torch to finish the made-from-scratch crème brulee). Is it selfish of me to treat you like this because of the sick satisfaction I get out of it? Hell yes, I know that. But will it ever change? Never.

I won’t stop encouraging you to become an artist. You can’t make me. I honestly think those origami classes are very valuable and one day these paper flower arrangements you’re making are really going to take off—that’s why I set up an Etsy store. I’m sorry I can’t shut up about how much I believe in you.

I’m a rebel who plays by his own rules, and one of those rules is to always make myself handy when it comes to remodeling our Italian villa-style estate. I realize you assumed I’d call a professional to build your dream study, but I knew they’d never do as good a job as me. Do you think they would have added that rounded bevel on the built-in bookshelves where I display the picture of you at your second grade dance recital I hunted down in the basement archives of the Garden City Telegram after you said it didn’t exist? Throw me in a nut house with the other control freaks if you want, but this leopard’s not changing his spots.

Maybe I learned this behavior by hanging out with the “wrong crowd” while I was getting my double doctorate in massage therapy and animal conservation. My foolish schoolboy habit of keeping myself in top athletic shape dogs me to this day. Even though you know I would never stray, I’m sure the longing stares of other women at my finely cut six pack of abs and that muscular V that protrudes from the top of my yachting shorts must annoy you. I suppose you’d like it better if I wasn’t as dedicated and hard working as I am, but this is the hand I was dealt.

I’m usually quick to admit when you’re right and I’m wrong, but this time I have to respectfully, yet with an air of silent strength, put my foot down. There’s really no way you can change me.

I’ll always pull boneheaded moves like keeping you in the dark when I secretly got my pilot’s license so I could fly you to that spa in Tahoe you like so much. Does it come off as too aggressively confident when I pack your bag and tell you we’re jetting up there for Memorial Day weekend as a surprise? Probably. But I’ve come to accept these imperfections. All I’m asking is that you accept them too.

If you can’t live with a rogue like me and need to find someone else without all these tragic flaws then go ahead and do it. I’ll be hurt, disappointed, and even angry, but I’ll understand and give you your space so we both have time to heal because that’s the type of fucked up person I am.