I remember a time when meeting someone who was just as damaged was a bit of a relief. Everyone walking…
“My life was amazing before you and it’ll be amazing after you.”
It’s what I should’ve said that. And 2 years later, I sometimes still wish I had.
We had been dating 3 months, almost exactly to the day. We had been introduced through a friend who believed that I was cute, he was cute, and we would be cute together. I remember being a little nervous the night we met but thinking that if he was interested in me at all, it would only be for the night. Even in the darkened room as he leaned in to kiss me, I would’ve sworn that it would just be for the night.
I was (and am) the modern day spinster; I have a job that allows me to support myself in an extremely expensive city, good friends and a rather interesting relationship with a local event production company. I joke that this relationship gives me “cool kid status,” but, in reality, it allows me to claim some pretty cool perks (free stuff, guest lists spots, all-access to certain festivals) and influential people who sing my praises.
Between this and being comfortably employed at 23, I thought I was a bit of a catch. Not the prettiest, sure, but I was something special and came with a lot of great perks. And he, he would be the cherry on top.
I had never been in a relationship. Besides few failed dates, classroom flirtations and one rather public let down, I didn’t have a lot of success in this realm. I didn’t let it bother me. I just chalked it up to it not being the right guy or the right time. I was raised by incredibly strong women and watched strong heroines all my life; “I didn’t need no man,” to quote the meme.
But I still wanted one.
I felt that having someone want me, cherish me, be Mr. Incredible to my Elasta-Girl, would make my life perfect and complete. And there he was, attractive, attentive, sweet and for some reason, seriously attracted to me. What more could I want?
And for the first month and a half, it was great. He met my friends, convinced me to come over most nights even though I had a day job and it was almost midnight. He called me beautiful every morning and would hold me as I fell asleep every night. He even introduced me to his parents, shying away from calling me his girlfriend, but holding my hand and kissing my cheek as if we had dinner in one of the nicest restaurants in town.
I had done it, fulfilled every Rom-Com and ChickLit scenario; I, the oddball with low self-esteem, the short girl, had finally found the one who accepted me, understood me and wanted me.
Then, as fast as it started, it ended. Actually, I ended it. It wasn’t that he changed, or I changed; he simply lost interest and in a bout of self-respect, I decided that I didn’t deserve to be treated like I was just a piece of meat. He had been bitter and jealous of everyone around me and unknowingly began taking away my hard-earned self respect by his actions and words. I decided that staying with him would.
Whereas most Rom-Com heroines would normally feel invigorated after a stunt like that, I didn’t. I let every dark thought consume me. I cried hysterically to friends. I was tempted to show up on his doorstep and beg him to take me back. Even though, I was the one who ended it, it felt like not being wanted by him validated the thought that I was unwanted, unlovable and I would never find anyone else again.
It took weeks – ok months – for me to come through the fog. I kept telling myself that I was better off; it was his loss; all of the cliché things you tell yourself after a break up. But eventually, what I realized was that my life, whatever it was, was amazing. It was still amazing, despite him, despite the pain I felt.
I slowly came to that realization and I believed it at an even slower pace. But I took stock of my life, my friends, my achievements and used them to prove that finding. I let life continue around me and I took part in it. I looked at the changes in my life and the changes in my friend’s lives and reveled in them. Of course, I still had some revenge thoughts, but I realized what little he actually had added to my life. Everything I had, everything I built, it was all me.
My life was amazing before him. I had great friends, a decent job, and everything going for me.
And now, I still have amazing friends, extraordinary opportunities and a decent job. I may be single and I do get lonely sometimes, but I’m ok with that. My life is pretty darn amazing, if you ask me.