As the song goes, when I first met her she was 17. I was 20. It wasn’t the best idea to be dating someone so young (once you hit 20 it should only be women in their 20s; everyone else is just a teenager) but there was something about her. We had a lot of young, awkward fun together, and for about 2 years thought we were in love. When I met another girl who was even cooler and have even larger breasts (cause that’s very important to guys in their 20s… and 30s, and 40s, and…), I broke up with her.
It broke her heart, but that’s what happens when you’re young and in love. Love at that age isn’t anything close to what it’s like at my current age (44); it can be intense and hyper-sexual and full of drama, and ours was no exception. Once it was over (side note, the girl I broke up with her for actually dumped me 3 weeks later, which broke my heart… karma’s a bitch), it wasn’t like we were done with one another. Over the years we’d hook up and mess around, but it was never a case of wanting to be back together, it was just revisiting that old thrill.
Eventually I moved to another state to be with a girl who would eventually become my wife (and even more eventually my ex-wife…). I would fly back to my home state for holidays back then, and inevitably we would continue to hook up when I was there, something I’m not terribly proud of upon reflection. But the girl I had moved to another state for was still important to me, so it was never because I wasn’t happy with her. It was, I’m ashamed to say, opportunity. It presented itself, we took advantage of it, then we moved on with our lives.
Shortly after our last encounter, she met someone and they fell madly in love, so this thing where we would randomly hook up when we saw one another came to an end. Many years went by and we lost contact with one another, which is just what happens as you grow older and live elsewhere and are no longer interested in occasional hook ups. Flash forward nearly 10 years later; the guy she fell in love with couldn’t stand where his life was going and had to leave her to move to LA to make something of himself. My wife and I were in the beginning stages of a divorce (which i have to say ultimately went surprisingly smooth), and we were both lonely as hell. So I emailed her, ostensibly to catch up with an old friend, and soon it turned into something else.
We both had gaping holes in our lives/hearts, so it was somewhat inevitable we would get back together. That was no easy feat, however, as I live on one side of the country, and she on the other. But we talked a lot (A LOT, thank the GODS long distance calling is a thing of the past…), and found we had stuff in common, aside from just liking how the other looked naked. Enough to build a relationship? Well, I was convinced there was, and even more so that this long-lost love reconnection was obviously fate and something that shouldn’t be ignored. So I went all in.
I went to see her early on, and told her then that I loved her. Did not get the reaction I had hoped for (namely, her saying it back…), and if there was ever a theme of our relationship it was that; it was not what I had hoped for. See, I’m a romantic, wear my heart on my sleeve (which makes trips to the cardiologist a breeze! *rimshot*), and so I was able to look past the many very obvious red flags because I was convinced this was meant to be. I compromised on things I never thought i would both because I thought it was what you were supposed to do when in love, and because I thought she would be willing to do the same for me. Word of advice (also from a song); there ain’t much that’s dumber than pinning your hopes on the change of another.
Eventually my divorce finalized, my house sold, and I had the means and opportunity to move to her side of the country. Things were bad almost from the start, but I remained convinced that if I just kept being patient, kept owning the foolish things I was doing that would piss her off, eventually she would recognize my true worth and finally fall in love with me. Then we’d be happy and have lots of sex and all would be right with the world. I just needed to hang in a little… bit… longer…
The problem was that was my exact mindset for most of my marriage. If I just kept doing this thing, or not doing this other thing, eventually my wife would see my worth and we’d be happy again. Amazing how you can repeat almost the exact same behavior with wildly different people. It’s almost like the problem is me, not them…
So things continued to get worse, but luckily for me I had found a job and my own place and was no longer as reliant on her. Yeah, we would fight or argue almost every time we were together, but I had my own place i could retreat to, we could both cool off and apologize, then start all over again. Also, those fights weren’t anything compared to how my ex-wife and I used to fight, so obviously I had taken a step up. Right?
No, not right. Eventually we had a Final Blowout and I had to tell her that I couldn’t be with her anymore. Which is a messed up thing to happen when you’ve moved across the country to be with someone, but was never entirely unexpected. Things weren’t terribly smooth even when we had a country between us to keep us from getting too mad at one another, but once we were in the same zip code all bets were off. I thought she was supposed to love me just because I treated her well and moved to be closer to her and always told her she was beautiful, but that’s just not how it works. You can’t flatter someone into loving you, not in any kind of real way, it’s just unfortunate I had to go through so much pain to verify that.
DoI regret it? No, not a single second, no. Regret is not something I tend to dwell on for too long if I can avoid it, and I have to look at where my life is now and ask myself if I think I’d still be here if none of it went down like it did. It’s nothing more than a glorified thought experiment because it’s impossible to know, but I’m comfortable that I did everything in my ability to make her & I work, and it ended because it was time for it to end.
I got used to being alone, got okay with who I was and what i had to offer, and eventually knew I was not going to ever compromise myself for the sake of another girl again. I started to realize who I really was and what i had to bring to a relationship, and even started to believe I was a catch. Well, I still do, because I do have a lot going for me and had to suppress a lot once i was in close quarters with her and realized there were aspects of me she absolutely hated. No more!
I vowed not to compromise and not to put up with anyone who made me feel bad about myself. I had spent almost 20 years doing that with my ex-wife, an additional two with my now ex-girlfriend, and I was done. I deserved to be treated better, and she deserved someone she could be genuinely happy with, though i know she has to be better with herself before that’s possible with someone else. But I am better with myself and know I do deserve to be truly, completely and honestly happy, and if I had to stay single, that was fine with me.
Okay, well, I didn’t mean for this to be so long, so to sum up, remember that you are your own worst enemy if you don’t confront and come to terms with the things you hate about yourself. Bad relationships are rarely the cause of just one of the people in it; they both share equal blame for reacting the way they do with their partner, and usually they don’t look internally to examine what needs they have that aren’t being met, then communicate that information, honestly, to their partner.
It’s paid off in spades for me so far, folks, I am very, very happy to say…
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Love the honesty and hope here! Thank you so much!!!