The One That Got Away

Or at best taught me some life lessons….

How do we define love? What is love? What makes us feel it towards another human being? Is it possible to ever stop loving someone, or does our love just mold and meld into a different type of love as we journey through the years? I can’t be the only person that has ever thought about this.

There is one ex that I will always love with every inch of my heart.  He is perhaps the man I compare every other man to when I meet them. No one has made me feel the way he did. Our love has changed over the years. It has evolved, waxed, and waned. I didn’t realize what the problem was when I was younger. I never knew until I was older that he was the first man I had ever loved and it was uncomfortable and foreign and scary.

I wasn’t going to write about him, but I think if you really want to know why I’m on this path, then it is important to know about him. He doesn’t have a nickname or a superlative. With everything we have been through, I have respected him too much. Let’s call him “J.”.

I sent him the link to my blog. He appreciates it. Yes, after sixteen years, we are still in contact. It’s crazy. Between us, we have lived in at least 5 different states through these years and we have both had serious relationships (he has been engaged). Yet we still have maintained a friendship. I know what you are all thinking; no one with history can be just friends. You’re right. We can’t be just friends. We will never be less than two people that love each other and quite possibly didn’t truly love each other the way we do now until we were “just friends”. Is this making your head spin yet?

J. and I met in college my freshman year. He was from the area and I had become friends with some of his friends. He has a much better memory of our dating than I do. But, there is a lot that I do remember about the start of our journey. He was always more romantic. He was always kinder. He was always way more considerate than I ever was at 18 years old. You would have thought that I was an only child, not him.

I was full of anxiety as a young adult. He had this way of calming me. He was snuggly and would tickle rub my back until I fell asleep. He would bring me Kit-Kats when I was in a panic. He was kind to my roommates. I hated my body, and he made me feel beautiful. Looking back, I’m not really sure what I provided him in our relationship. He just appreciated me. His family was kind to me. I remember his mother being the most beautiful woman inside and out and exuding a warmth and confidence that I was envious of. I someday wished that I could have whatever magic she possessed. I was an insecure freshman with minimal dating experience and a very low sense of self-esteem.

So of course, I ruined it. I destroyed my happiness. What else would you do with something that was given to you on a platter? Let’s be serious, a handsome man from a good family who treats you like a princess? Yep, destroy it! That seems like the only logical choice at 18. It’s a choice that I regret 16 years later.

So, what happened? I got drunk at a party and allowed a man to kiss me. I stopped it immediately and pushed him away and yelled at him. But I was guilt ridden and thought, I must not really care for J. if this is what I let happen. Why did I send another man the message that he should try kissing me? Really, that man apparently kissed EVERYONE at parties and I should have just talked to J. about it. What I did instead was for no reason break up with him and shut him down and I became mean and cruel. Mature, right?

Now, let’s fast forward through the years that followed where we tried hanging out again on multiple occasions and one of us screwed the other one over. It became a pattern.  We just keep hitting the repeat button. Here’s the funny thing though: no matter what has happened with us, he has to this day been the only man who I feel has ever invested in me as a person. He cares about how I am doing. He checks in on me if he feels I’ve hit a road block or a speed bump. He is the only man that is brutally honest with me. To this day, I cannot comprehend why I am so special to him.

There was a point when I could have allowed myself to be back in his life. He had minimal resentment for me. He tried again with me. He brought me out to the lake and wanted to spend time with me under the stars wrapped up in a blanket. This is everything a woman wants. Unfortunately,  I led him along. I was so immature and scared, that I let him bring me out there but I didn’t allow for him to kiss me. I remember weighing this out in my head the whole time. Why was I so stubborn? Why was I so scared? Now, all I want is for a man to make me his world and it is difficult to find. I had that. I sabotaged that. I had a man that cared about me all along and hurt them, again.  I’m still really mad at my younger self. She was so stupid and selfish.

His girlfriend now and his ex’s know that I exist. Men that I date know he exists. Through the years we have had the occasional phone call, but now we mainly just text. We aren’t inappropriate. We are friends. We are more than friends. We are two people that love each other and mean it. That’s what scares us both the most. I asked him if we ever did decide to get lunch one day as old friends, what would he be afraid of? Was he afraid that it would be awkward or was he afraid that it wouldn’t be? He said he was afraid that it wouldn’t be.

 

Where would we go from there?

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