It’s true. I’ve been dating for the better part of 10 years I guess (let’s be serious, anything before high school really doesn’t count… Jesus, high school barely counts) and there have been quite a few morons along the way.
Let’s consider Charlie, my high school romance who never quite made me feel like I was good enough. He ended up dating a younger girl our senior year, but told me during senior week that she would never quite be me. Mind games, dude. Mind games. Of course, as a twenty-something, I see that it’s probably a good thing we never worked out.
Scott was a year older and completely dreamy. I can remember walking down the hallway in between classes and feeling my heart jump out of my chest. I was in love with him from freshman to junior year and all of my senior year too, even though he was off being a big bad freshman in college. We were close friends who never crossed the line. Actually, HE never let ME cross the line, but he never made it seem that way. And that was probably a good thing.
Senior year is a bit fuzzy. My closest friends and I compiled individual lists (Nicole and Lauren… I’m talking to you) of boys that just had to be made out with before graduation. As classy at that was, I wasn’t very good at it, probably because I was a little shy and ridiculously well-known for being one of the dudes. I made it work though, it turns out that guys really do like girls that can talk SportsCenter with them. I used this as an advantage and completed the list to the best of my ability. (Writer’s note, sorry if anyone reading this was on the list. Seriously, making out with you was truly memorable. So memorable that I don’t really remember.)
Senior year going into college I had a summer fling with Pete, a commitment-phobe who didn’t want to get serious before going away to college. That didn’t really stop him from stringing me along and making me think that he did, though. Again… Thank God.
College. Jesus. I dated Geoff, someone who was so insecure that they made me feel as unworthy and unimportant as they were. I believed this for the better part of two years. I was a total train wreck, unrecognizable to my friends and family. I was being blatantly cheated on, something that has always been a deal breaker for me (it should be for you, too!) It took me a long time to bounce back from this one.
Of course, Sean was there to help me ‘rebound’ from that one. Seriously, I had one of the hottest guys on campus paying attention to me. Looking back on it now, that’s amazing, because I wasn’t very confident and I didn’t try very hard to find a rebound. I was usually curled in a ball watching Grey’s Anatomy. I think it’s pretty clear why we never worked out. You never date a rebound.
Here’s where things get a little hazy again… and I say hazy because a few months shy of 21 years old I decided that I should take my first sip of alcohol. Yep. I was the sober one. So once I started drinking, guys started to look a little bit more attractive and before you knew it, I was making out with some random guy at a party. Those certainly weren’t my best years. I guess I was the moron then.
Then I met Wayne.
I have an entire memoir written about those years, my feelings, and an assortment of what my social life looked like at the time. It consisted of leaving parties to watch movies on his couch, sitting by the phone until all hours of the night for a call that would never come, and once again feeling sorry for myself. Why was I attracted to people who didn’t care about me they way that I cared about them? The effort that I put in to the relationship with Wayne was beyond anything else – probably because I was turning into an adult and a typical twenty-something. I was watching my friends move in with their boyfriends and genuinely starting a future, whereas every time I took one step forward I took ten steps back. I tried dating other people and putting myself out there, but of course every girl knows that once she starts attracting other people the one who she was trying to ditch always comes crawling back. And of course, I would let him in.
When I moved 45 minutes away to be closer to work, I was about to turn 22 and was having a great summer. I thought that being further away from Wayne would diminish our relationship, but he showed up at my new apartment one night to tell me that he loved me. I swore that things were looking up for our relationship. With a relationship that was as screwed up as ours though, things were bound to fall apart.
TP wrote a blog post once about loving her exes. It got me thinking, especially after the dream* that I had last night.
I think that when any relationship goes south, regardless of whose fault it was, it’s always difficult to see the other person move on… even if you were the one to move on first. It’s not because you still want to be with them (“’When your ex says you’ll never find anyone like me,’ reply with, ‘That’s the point” -Drake) but because it brings up a THE question. Why not me?
The simple reason is because people aren’t always made to last together forever. That answer probably makes a lot of people mad, because it always gets me thinking Well then what the hell was the point of all of that pain and heartache? but the pain and heartache… THAT’S the point. You build your character, your sense of self and individuality, your spirit. You are able to tweek and build those individual traits that are really important for the lifelong relationship with your soulmate and companion. It’s like a scrimmage before the big game, or the bunny hill runs before the trip diamond. (sorry, it’s the snowboarder in me…) Even when we know what’s real, we still tend to feel a little hurt and angry.
I am so glad that I ended up with Stephen, and that he’s going to be my lifelong partner. When we met each other, we were both in difficult places with our respective relationships and significant others. But I truly believe that when you find that person that you’re going to spend your life with, things just align. My favorite foods tasted better, I had a smile I couldn’t get rid of, and no matter how many obstacles and walls we tried to put up, love broke them down every time. I fought, he fought, we both fought what the Uni-verse had in store for us. But I thank God every single day that neither of us gave up on the possibility of love. There was no ceiling.
So here’s the thing: My exes sucked. You all brought out the worst in me. But… I’m grateful for every single one of you. I appreciate the fact that you taught me things about myself that I never otherwise would have learned. I love the fact that in my darkest days, during our worst fights, I knew that at rock bottoms you can only go up. That after going through the worst, the best is going to be at the end of the rainbow.
I have the best. I count my blessings every single day for Stephen, and I always offer a special intention for my exes, too. We may have not worked out, but the same goes for them. I hope that they find eternal happiness with their best, their partner, and the “One” that I had to be a stepping stone for, as painful as it seemed at the time. I’m just glad to have been apart of this epic story called Love.
(*I had a dream last night that I was a bridesmaid in a friend’s wedding, a friend that I hadn’t seen in years. As it turns out, the rest of her bridal party were exes of my boyfriend. As nightmarish as this dream sounds, the whole dream centered around the fact that they wanted to be my friend and thought I was a good person. I hope that what comes around goes around, but of course in the dream I thought they were out to get me and somehow hurt me. In reality though, I think it’s a sign. We’re all good people just trying to navigate the course of Love. Safe travels, ladies. xx)