Many years ago I dated the most amazing guy. A newbie to the dating scene, I assumed all men were as wonderful as he was. I thought it was customary to receive flowers all the time “just because” or even personalized roses delivered to my school for a two-month anniversary. It was my first taste of drama-free, carefree puppy love, during a time when you’re both too young to have any responsibilities, both too hopeful about the future to be pessimistic, and both baggage free from being so young and naïve. I was enjoying the ride but slowly started to feel suffocated. I remember the turning point. One day he asked me,
“Do you know why people date?”
Clueless and naïve, I responded with, “To have fun!”
“Yeah, that’s part of it, but it’s to find your future spouse. I know a couple who got married and they were high school sweethearts.”
Crap. My first run-in with my commitment fears. Now I have my share of commitment fears because of failed relationships and friends who are going through divorces. Then, the commitment fears came as a result of my curiosity to see what else was out there. I mean, it was my first taste of blissful romance, why stop now? Plus, I reasoned, I wasn’t too hot about the sound of my name with his. When we broke up it was because my dad thought I was too young, but my best friend told me that my ex would still try to come around, and I would completely ignore him. I don’t remember that. Seriously, I don’t remember being a bitch. Maybe that’s what happens when you’re a bitch. Everyone else around you knows it but you.
Now I look at my yearbook pictures of us together and admit with shame how cute he was and how plain I was. He was this classic all-American cutie with the kind of smile that children are drawn to. To make me feel worse, not only was he a cutie, but I seriously don’t remember a single bad thing he ever did. I remember he would even spend time helping me with class projects to help me out since I was the class president. (He didn’t even go to the same school) He spent hours helping me stuff confetti eggs with scraps of hole-punched paper.
I on the other hand had that weird year of bad hair and a skater look that just didn’t work out to my advantage. I had a lot of things going for me that year that looking back, I clearly didn’t deserve and clearly took for granted. I look at those pictures and think “What did he see in me?” And with more remorse, “Why didn’t I see that he was such a good catch?”
Is it true that you only start appreciating real love once you’ve had your share of heartbreak and failed relationships?
He never told me he loved me, but he said he was falling in love with me. And I ran away.
Why is it that so many women can’t leave a man who continues to hurt them but are so curious to see “what else is out there,” when they’re in a loving, drama-free relationship?
Curiosity. This wonderful thing that leads to innovation, inventions, daring feats. Curiosity. This terrible thing that killed the cat and continues to create a slew of cheaters, heartbreakers, and players.