Its not easy admitting you were the bad guy.
This is hard to write about. This will be looooong. You’ve been warned!
My relationship with C is probably one of the biggest mistakes I ever made in my life. Its also one of the most important things that has helped me grow-up, realize what kind of person I am, and who I actually want to share my life with. At times I get bitter and sad, and regret having wasted 7 years of my young life on the wrong person. But when I have my head screwed on a bit straighter, those years don’t seem wasted at all. I know myself so much better.
We met in ballet class when I was 17 and he was 15. My dance school was always desperate to get boys, so my teacher was doing everything to incentivize him staying. I remember seeing him for the first time. He was awkward, very shy, with an unfortunate haircut. I had been recently broken-up with by my first ever boyfriend of 10 months and had a string of casual relationships with “bad boys”. I suppose it was C’s gentleness and youth, so different from the aggressive jerks I was dating, that drew me in. He was so new at the whole girl thing. I remember thinking “Oooo I can mold him!”.
It was that frame of mind that our relationship was built on in the beginning, although he probably wasn’t aware of it. I remember the first time he asked me to be his girlfriend, I said “ummmmmm…..no. Not yet”. Right from the beginning I had reservations. I could have walked away then. But he slowly became my shadow. We were the ballet partnership in my dance school, and had to rehearse with each other on a daily basis in preparation for Nutcracker. I saw him often, and he fell in love with me quickly. At first, I played hard to get and wouldn’t let him even touch me if we weren’t dancing. I was a bitch to him. Right from the beginning. Why he continued to like me is BEYOND me. Probably because he had no frame of reference. I was his first everything.
He would follow me around, sometimes at my request because I didn’t want to be alone. Sometimes, he would just sit there and I would completely ignore him, but at least I wasn’t alone right? So manipulative, so young, so stupid.
I hate knowing I was the bad guy.
I think it was the fear of being alone, knowing he liked me so much, and the way he treated me that initially made me stay. I loved being the boss and wearing the pants in the relationship. He let me be that, and I grew to abuse that role. I had always been the hopeless romantic, looking for my disney prince anywhere and anytime. C came along, and he wasn’t anything like what I envisioned my disney prince to be. But he loved me…..unconditionally. As I got a little older, I realized this whole disney prince thing was a sham. I found someone who would practically do anything for me! I might never find someone like that again! I gotta hold onto this……
Throughout our 6 year relationship, we had many highs and lows. Every time we broke up, I initiated it. I always thought that I was fickle hearted. I got crushes on guys easily. I was always wondering “oooh, maybe thats the one!”. It is that (me) that often caused the break ups. I would leave him wounded, crying. I would go off to pursue the guy I had developed a crush on. Every time that miserably failed, I’d come running back to him because he would always be there. He became my security blanket.
I hate knowing I was the bad guy.
Of course, its nearly impossible to be with someone that long and never love them. I loved him. In my own way. I loved how selfless he was with me. I loved how unconditionally he loved me. I loved how hard he would try to make me happy. I was scared I’d never find anyone else like him, that loved me this much. I became completely dependent on that feeling. In college, when I suffered through my eating disorder, he would cry and beg me to get help. He was the only one I told pretty much everything to. I dumped it on him, and it haunted him. A couple of times I even drank ipecac right in front of him as he begged me not to and tried to stop me. I was in so much pain, feeling so self-destructive, I didn’t care who I took down with me.
But he stuck with me through all of my crazy. He loved me even more. He wanted these damaged goods. I could never understand that. Over the course of our entire relationship, I would often tell him “maybe we should break up so you can experience someone else. Something else. Maybe you don’t actually want this.” He wasn’t going anywhere.
After I got through those times, we had about a year and a half where there was little drama and we were genuinely happy. I loved him. I began to think that that was it. Whats the next logical progression of things? Marriage.
So now that I’ve made him sound like a saint, and made myself sound like some asshole tramp………you must be thinking, WHY WOULDN’T YOU WANT TO BE WITH HIM???
He wasn’t perfect. Sometimes I felt overly objectified by him. He often lied about stupid stuff. It was the act of lying that hurt the most. Knowing that what you are saying to my face is a flat out lie, and yet you deny it to protect yourself. What pains you to just be honest with me? Still, it was mostly petty stuff. Why not get over it?
Because our relationship was founded on a game I started in my head. “Lets see how I can mold him”. And he literally let me mold him. The respect one should have for a boyfriend, fiancee, husband…..it just wasn’t there. I loved how he loved me. Did I ever really unconditionally love him the way he did me? No.
When he proposed I was scared, but happy. There was a little voice in the back of my head that kept whispering “this is it. is he the one???? This is the last guy you will ever be with. No other fish in the sea for you. Are you ready for that?”. It was easy to ignore that voice, because my family loved him. They were so happy. We were all excited to plan a wonderful wedding. Finding the perfect dress, the perfect flowers, the perfect location…….it silenced that voice in the back of my head.
About 8 months from my wedding date, I began to get tired of the whole planning thing. I started thinking about what married life would be like. What my future looked like. It scared me. He was perfectly content with me and the little I was giving back. I, on the other hand, began to realize that I didn’t love him the way he loved me. I would never. I could never. Little things he did, that were just him, had annoyed me from the moment we met. Would that get amplified? Would there come a time that I just wouldn’t be able to stand him…because I was starting to feel that way now. Why had I always felt so fickle-hearted with him? Why was I still wondering if “the one” was still out there? Why had he not made me want to be a better person?
Why hadn’t I sent out the save the dates that had been sitting on my desk for several weeks?
He didn’t make me feel and act the way I should have been, being a fiancé-almost-wife. He loved me so much more than I could ever love him. We were both settling on the wrong people. I could see myself growing more resentful towards him. Losing any bit of respect I had for our relationship and him as a partner. I could see divorce. It wasn’t fair to him or me.
Of course my family couldn’t see this. I did a bad job at explaining it…….its hard to admit you are the bad guy, after all.
I was basically crucified by my mother, who loved C.
That was made worse by the fact that I started another relationship not much later. For my mother, it was all too soon. I was making a horrible mistake. I was ruining my life. I think she still thinks that. I wish she could fully comprehend what a mistake marrying C would have been.
I’m a serial monogamer. I don’t like to be alone. Thats what got me in trouble last time. So why do I think my current relationship won’t end in a dramatic pit of fire?
Nate is also gentle, kind, giving, selfless, caring, loving. He is divorced. Thats not ideal, AT ALL. What we have is not perfect. But it makes me so happy. It gives me peace. I respect him, and we are equals in the relationship. He has the qualities I loved in C, but I love Nate for Nate and not what he does/doesn’t do. It runs deeper. Its getting deeper. I am not anxious around him like I always was with C. I am not fickle. I don’t crush on random guys. I am invested in nurturing our relationship, rather than being ready to throw it away when the going gets tough. He loves seeing and making me happy, and for the first time I feel the same way back. I respect what we have. I respect him. I can depend on him wholely, not because I know he will be there if I run off with a crush and come back, but because of this newfound respect and trust. He has made me grow up. He is making me a better person. I respect myself so much more. I don’t feel objectified to the point where I am wondering how much weight I have to loose to make him want me. One look….one word…can makes me feel wonderful about myself and my body. He knows I have issues, he knows I have a little bit of crazy left. Like C, he doesn’t care. He is sticking around no matter what, and for the first time I am not wondering why. Maybe because I want him to stick around.
Sure he does things that annoy me……but I roll my eyes rather than want out. He is honest, blunt even. Maybe too much so…..but Im the type that appreciates that over being told stupid lies. He has made me angry. He has made me sad. But I don’t throw in the towel like I was once inclined to do.
I know I haven’t been with him for 7 years. Its been 1.5 years. But I’m not afraid of the future with him. I’m not afraid of growing to resent him. I’m not afraid that I might end up hating him. The butterflies and long talks into the wee hours of the morning are over….I never had butterflies with C. There is so much to look forward to in the future now.
Its simple, straightforward, and wildly passionate all at once. When its not simple, its a comfort having him by my side. I used to rather be alone than face difficulties with C.
Its so different.
It feels right.
I’m sorry C. I was the bad guy.