I had the luxury of a day off this past Saturday. It was warm and gray and rainy, the kind of day off that makes you actually want to stay in and sleep all day. I was getting into my car to head home from a class that morning, and I pulled out my phone after I sat in the driver’s seat, and I opened up facebook– because that’s what my generation does anytime they’ve been distracted by the real world for any length of time– and the first thing that popped up on my feed was that one of my friends had announced his engaged.
Now, this is a common occurrence for me– I’m in my mid/late 20’s, and people my age get married. However, the thing that rattled me a bit was that this was not just a friend of mine– and I suppose I couldn’t even consider him a close friend now:
My ex-boyfriend got engaged.
The last person I was in a long-term committed relationship with got engaged.
I know that this particular event has absolutely nothing at all to do with me. We broke up five years ago, and we don’t talk very much at all: a facebook message every now and then, sometimes an email or a text when something really reminds us of the other person. If we happen to be in the same city at the same time, we attempt to make plans to grab coffee and catch up. I suppose it’s your ideal average post-relationship. It’s lovely to be friends with a person you used to be intimate with after you’ve had enough time to heal.
But I found out that my ex-boyfriend, who was the love of my early 20s life, got engaged, and I didn’t know how to react. I recognize that it shouldn’t affect me, but knowledge of this information still requires me to process it, and so here is what’s gone through my head the few times I’ve thought about it since Saturday:
1) I didn’t even know he was seeing anyone! He and I have talked about relationships since the big hole he left in my heart healed. I saw him one night in Austin about six months ago as he was passing through with his band. He was drunk, and I was drinking, and we talked about how stale our love lives were, which did NOT lead to a reminiscent night in bed together, although he did invite me to stay at the hotel where he and the rest of his band were sleeping that night (NOT an ideal sleep situation for me. If my TempurPedic bed is just mere miles away, and I’m more sober than he is, it’s just not happening). I think I’m mostly surprised because I didn’t know he was seriously dating anyone, and even if he has been, it couldn’t have been for very long, only based on the personal information we exchanged one night while he was passing through six months ago. But then again, he was drunk, and since when does anything a drunk person says make sense?
2) He’s confessed to being a commitment-phobe since me. And so I then drew the conclusion that because he’s turning 30 next month, perhaps this is a quarter-ish type crisis resolution? Turn of events lead to a sudden engagement with a long-time family friend. (In her defense, I’ve gathered that she was in a broadway production with a lovely lady friend that I used to share a stage and band with when I first moved to San Francisco. And anyone who has the capability of sharing a stage with this female is bound to be a spectacular human being).
3) What bothers me the most is that I’ve used this event to measure myself. What does this say about me and my slow and many-failed attempts at having a healthy, lasting relationship since him?
Am I losing some sort of relationship game?
Many of my friends from back home are getting married or having kids or finishing med school or a combination of these three life events. I don’t want to go to med school. I want kids, but not right now because I’m vain and I don’t want my feet to swell up or milk to leak from my tits. And, I don’t know about marriage, but I do know that I want someone to love and to be in a committed, intimate relationship with. And I have failed at creating that with every man I’ve been with since The Ex.
Am I losing? Am I just playing the tortoise who is pacing, enjoying the scenery because the end isn’t as important as the journey?
I don’t think that last statement is necessarily a bad thing, and perhaps I even like coming off that way.
A huge part of me felt a competitive urge to show that I am somehow succeeding at something, I suppose to compensate for what I know.
But, one of the things that was wonderful about the relationship I had with the Ex was that there was never a level of competition between him and myself. There never was and there never will be. I loved him very deeply while I was with him, and when we broke up it took a long time for me to heal. But I did. Even if there hasn’t been anyone as lovely as he was to me since him.
I still care about him and I’m glad he’s performing, and that he’s found someone to commit to. I think I’m jealous of him, actually. Of him and what they’re going to create. I had a beautiful and loving relationship with him, and it’s because of that relationship that I believe I deserve another one just as loving and stable and passionate.
I have a lady friend here in Austin who is beautiful and lovely and wonderful– a talented artist and mother and a hard worker. She deserves many good things in this world. She recently got into a relationship with a man-child, and after listening to her stories about how things have gone sour and then sweet again, I told her that she deserved better because I know she does, and that she could do better.
She asked me, “Yeah, but who?”
I thought about it for a second, and when not one single “nice” guy popped into my head, I said, “touche.”
There are very few eligible bachelors are who are willing to strive for something so wonderful and awesome. And even the ones who are in committed relationships slip up.
My main problem is that guys I’ve tried to create something with can’t keep their dicks out of other girls.
I’m not about that. Because it’s not okay.
I guess what I’ve learned from processing this information is that I understand absolutely nothing about the world and human decisions, except that every decision is a gamble, and all we can do is hope for the best with every decision.
I hope for the best. I wish him the best because he deserves it. And, though I know very little about his new leading lady, I know she does too.
And I know I do.