When I think about the important relationships in my life (relationshits), about the ex boyfriends who mattered, who left a mark, there is no magical love story. My connections have always been easy, non existent, or instant. And sometimes they were only one-sided.
I had a lot of boyfriends in high school, but I only count one. He’s still one of my closest friends. We were best friends, in the same friend group, and after more than a year of liking each other without saying anything, we kind of just fell into a relationship. When it ended, we both wanted it, even though we both ended up hurt in the long run. We both made mistakes. But we’re better off not together, even though we’ll always have that connection.
I did an internship the summer after I finished high school. We weren’t allowed to date in the internship, and when it started they told us that we would probably start having feelings for one another because we were only around one another. They called this “beer goggles.” They promised that our feelings weren’t real, and they didn’t want any intern drama. All totally understandable.
About halfway through this internship, I developed a crush. *dun dun dun* Anyway, I thought that it was just that, even though it didn’t feel fake. I was starting college in the fall and I wasn’t wanting to date anyone else until I found who I wanted to marry. I was sure he didn’t reciprocate my feelings, even though we hung out a lot. We never did anything wrong, anything against internship rules. We just had feelings.
The last day of the internship, after we had graduated, everyone had packed up and left. My car was ready to go, but his parents hadn’t shown up yet. So we hung out. I had already planned a trip out there with another friend of mine to visit, so I knew that I would see him again, but I still was sure that after that trip our friendship would pause. And then he kissed me. I think he was trying to be romantic. It was unexpected and like a word on the tip of his tongue. And I laughed in surprise. He brought up that laugh later, but I still think it was warranted.
Anyways, we ended up dating my entire freshman year of college, long distance. As the months dragged on, I grew more and more unhappy with our relationship. When we were together, we never had anything to do. And when we talked on the phone, he never had anything to say, because he did the same thing everyday. He lived with his wealthy parents and didn’t have a job.
He told me dinosaurs weren’t real. He refused to ride a tandem bike with me. He was against adopting a teenager, assuming we actually got married. Our kids would definitely be home schooled. And he was far too chivalrous for me. He wouldn’t let me walk on the outside or open my own car door. Not that he wanted to do these things for me to be nice, but he forced me to let him do them.
Eventually I had to end things. It was the day before Easter, we went on a walk, and it was over. I’ve always felt kind of like a jerk for ending things the way I did. But it had to be done. And I’m older now, hopefully wiser too.
But really, he was just beer goggles.
Then there was the on again off again guy from my hometown. He never remembered me from high school. He always thought I was younger than I was. He was Catholic, although not really practicing, so I’d just tell people he was good enough, because he was hot.
We would talk, he’d pursue me, and as soon as things would start to become a little serious, like he might actually want to be my boyfriend, he’d disappear. This went on for three years. The last time, he may have broken my heart, because I tried too hard. I didn’t want to lose him again, so I lost him in my efforts. But it’s probably not my fault, and I just need to accept that.
There was the guy I worked with, who wasn’t ready to be a boyfriend again, even though that’s basically what he was. We hung out late at night. We went on drives and adventures. We loved all the same shows. We talked about our beliefs. He cared so much for me. Until he didn’t. Until he disappeared. And I was once again too much for him.
A couple weekends ago I started getting hit on a lot more than usual. The lead singer of a band that was playing became infatuated with me. He would come to the front desk where I work and find excuses to talk to me. He would flirt incessantly. If I came to his show, he would buy me a drink. And he told everyone that he liked me. And he has my number and asks for things that I can’t give him, because I’m not that kind of girl. I couldn’t be, even if I wanted to be.
I know he’s not the person I’ll spend the rest of my life with.
This morning I had coffee with my friend, Natalie, who is mentoring me this summer. I was talking about how I’ve noticed how important connections are in relationships. And she talked about how, when it’s there, it just works. I think connection is something that I’ve tried to force, but I have been lacking. I’m not someone who has ever believed in soulmates, but maybe… maybe that’s starting to change?
Natalie told me a story about a couple she knows. I don’t remember the details exactly, so I’ll improvise. The woman was from Iceland and taught at Julliard. The man did some other important thing (I can’t remember what). They were both in London doing one thing or another for their various occupations. They both ended up in a gelato shop, one that neither of them usually went to. There was only one table left, so they shared it, and ended up hitting it off. Connection. And they got married. And it’s been like 20 or more years.
I want that. I want a story like that. I don’t want to meet and be forgotten in the small town I was born in. I don’t want a friend from work. I don’t want a random band member that stays in my hotel. I want a chance meeting in a gelato shop in London. Or on a bus in Ireland. Or on a plane to New Zealand. Or hiking alone in the Sierras.
I want something amazing. I want connection that lasts forever. So maybe I’ll have to wait.
I am someone who lowers her standards, and maybe it’s because high standards are easily lowered when feelings are involved. So maybe instead of setting standards, I’ll wait for connection. If he’s not fun to talk to, sorry. If texting him is more of a nuisance than a pleasure, no thanks. If he makes me uncomfortable ever, I can’t. If I find myself trying, worried that he’ll stop liking me, than I’ll be okay. If I’m not excited about his very existence, if my heart doesn’t beat faster, if I’m not giddy about him, if it doesn’t come easy, than it’s not worth it.
I’m done with heartbreak. I’m ready for connection. I’m ready for gelato in London, no matter how long that takes.