Monday, January 13, 2014

the one before the one & the BLOW OFF

We all long for the couch – and by couch, I mean the one from When Harry Met Sally where all the cute married couples talk about how they met. The thing is, that in order to get to relationship utopia aka “the couch” --  you have close calls, missed opportunities, rejections and heartbreak. They don’t talk about those things on the When Harry Met Sally couch.

I always wanted a “meet cute”, but as time went by and I turned 30, I decided I would just be happy with simply meeting someone organically (not online). I hate dating, but if it’s someone I already knew and was excited about, I could deal with the nervous anxiety that comes along with it.  
I remember the first time I saw him. We were both early for class and I thought…finally! A cute boy at college. We became friendly acquaintances for about 10 years and I had long given up on the idea of anything happening…until it did.

The first time around (there were a couple times around) I wasn’t all in. It was easy and comfortable just like I always dreamed. I was attracted and always happy to hear from him so it wasn’t like I was forcing anything. And hello, I was hooking up with my college crush!

Of course, by this time I had been involved with movie stars, comedians, reality stars and totally lost all perspective. I was unemployed and living with a stripper who spoke to dolls. In other words, I was a complete mess, not in a place to be in any sort of relationship. So while I hung out with him consistently, I still kept my options open and although I liked him, it didn’t feel the way I always imagined it would feel. Also, did I mention I wasn’t ready for a relationship? I knew an ending was inevitable.

It ended with me getting drunk at a bar and saying some things I wished I could take back. Still, it was going to end anyway so even though it didn’t go the way I hoped (which was me saying we were better as friends, him being sad and us actually being friends) I apologized, he didn't fight for me and it was amicable. I wasn’t at all prepared for how much I would miss him. During our time apart, I had a major epiphany. If I miss this person so much…I must love him. So I threw away all my pride and asked for another chance. He was seeing someone else. I was devastated, certain that he would marry her and I had so many regrets. I promised myself that if I ever did get another chance that I would go in 100%.

Guys often pop back up (like frogs hence the title of my book). This time, I had a job and the stripper who talked to dolls moved away. Perfect, right? Not so much.  While he was never fully invested in me or us, he def seemed even less invested the second time around. Still, he had a lot going on in his life so I did what any girl would do. I made tons of excuses and forged ahead.

Have you ever seen Shopgirl? There is this one amazing scene where Steve Martin and Claire Danes are each describing their relationship. He’s saying that he enjoys her company and wants to fuck her when it’s convenient and she is in love and actively planning their future. It's kind of amazing how guys and girls can view the same relationship so differently.  That’s pretty much what happened to me. It just took me almost two years (and him pretty much saying it, but in a sort of nicer way) for me to finally get it.

The red flags were clear as day. I never met his friends, our nights typically consisted of movies, wine and sex (amazing sex that hurts me to think about never having again). We never really talked about anything too far below the surface. He didn’t plan for the future. And I became that girl. The girl who stares at her phone, blows off plans to see him last minute, walks on eggshells because she’s so scared to say the wrong thing or put any kind of pressure on him. The girl who buys thoughtful gifts and gives so more than she’s getting back. I hate that girl.

In my defense, we hung out almost every weekend for over a year. He became one of my best friends. There was the occasional outing, a trip to Vegas, a night at the Magic Castle, and Street Food Cinema, all of which were super fun. He is a really good cuddler and prior to him, I hated cuddling. We have things in common like mutual college friends, an affinity for good horror movies, and we both hoard cups of water by our bed.  The time we spent together actually seemed worth the constant anxiety and uncertainty wondering how he felt, when I’d hear from him and if he was seeing other girls.

And still, the second time around ended with me crying in bed on New Years and finally standing up for myself and stopping the madness. (I’d also like to say I recommend not making a NYE date until you’re married as this is the second new years I’ve spent crying over a guy). He did respond in a way that confirmed he was the decent guy I fell for, but it was clear we were on VERY different pages. I was Claire Dane and he was Steve Martin. Though why Steve Martin didn’t want to be with Claire Dane, I will never understand.

A broken heart is like being bipolar on crack. I hate him, I love him, I miss him, why didn’t he want me, I’m too good for him, why didn’t he want me if I’m too good for him, I never want to speak to him again, I need to call him now, I can’t eat a thing, someone get me some twinkies.  I’m going to be OK, I may actually die.

The one thing that makes it easier this time around is that I have no regrets. I kept my promise to myself and I went all in. I put someone else’s needs above my own. I made myself vulnerable and put myself completely out there. He didn't feel the same way about me and I survived. I finally see him clearly now as a good guy, but a good guy who was never going to give me all the things I need and deserve. Perhaps time and the right guy will prove this wasn’t really love, but I meant it when I told him.  I don’t think you should ever regret telling someone how you feel or being truly open to love. I miss him already and the feelings of rejection and losing someone important to me hurt like a bitch. And we are never going to have sex again. Wahhhh. 

Still, I learned a lot. I learned to set boundaries in the beginning of a relationship. I learned to demand to be treated the way I deserve. I learned that if you spend the majority of your time feeling insecure and unsure something is very, very wrong and you shouldn’t have to compromise who you really are to try and make someone else happy. I learned I can have strong feelings for a normal person (as opposed to a celebrity obviously) and most importantly…I am 100% certain that this experience has put me many steps closer to the couch. 

2 comments:

  1. "I finally see him clearly now as a good guy, but a good guy who was never going to give me all the things I need and deserve."

    It's beautiful when you finally come to that realization that some guys are good guys but aren't good FOR YOU.

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  2. "A broken heart is like being bipolar on crack. I hate him, I love him, I miss him, why didn’t he want me, I’m too good for him, why didn’t he want me if I’m too good for him, I never want to speak to him again, I need to call him now,"

    So true! The extremes are what make it so hard. One day you think you're over them and the next day you're in tears because he liked some girl's photo.

    Looking forward to getting to that couch too!

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