For the last week or so I’ve been in a mood. I don’t let it surface very often, but when it does….wow.
I had no idea that, 5 years ago, when asshole-exbf (from now on, known as Badass) and I split up, I would still be undeniably single at this point. As someone who has gone from one long-term relationship to another, it’s a weird feeling.
I know it has been good for me in a lot of ways. I’ve rediscovered a lot of myself that had long been buried under the timid, clingy, self-esteem-less shell of a person I became over the 6 years he and I were together. I feel more like myself than I have in a long time. Only still not quite myself. I blame the weight gain on that. And I can’t help but wonder how many amazing and wonderful guys I passed up because my head and heart were too wrapped up in the wrong guy. I know of at least one.
My high school reunion in 2003 really opened my eyes to a lot of things. I had guys I had been friends with in high school tell me how they had the biggest crush on me back then. But that they knew I would “never” break up with my high school sweetheart. Plus, I think people were a little afraid of him. He didn’t get the nickname “Psycho” for nothing. He and I dated for 7 years. There were breakups during that time, but we always ended up back together (translation: I always took him back).
I was in college when we finally split up for the last time. Once I’d recovered from the heartache of it all, I had several months of actually dating. It was the first time in my life I’d ever just dated. One was a guy I knew from kindergarten, before my family moved outside of the city and I started attending a different school. He was Door #1. We reconnected when I found out he lived right down the street from a friend of mine. I, of course, was dating Psycho at that time, but Door #1 and I started talking again, even hanging out a little. Once Psycho and I had split up, Door #1 and I began to see more of each other.
And then I met Door #2. A guy I went to high school with (a few years older than me) and I used to go take smoke breaks together when we were both working at the mall. I always thought of him as a very good friend, nothing more. One night, after work, we went and played pool with some friends of his. There was this totally adorable guy there that looked soooo familiar to me. Later I realized I had met him once before, and liked him then, too, but he was married. Anyway, the next day, totally adorable guy, Door #2, showed up at my parents’ house (I was still living there at the time). I opened the front door and he quoted a line from the movie Singles and my heart melted.
“I was just nowhere near your neighborhood.”
Thus began my relationship with Door #2. He was now divorced. He’d caught his wife cheating on him (they married very young) while his baby daughter was sleeping in her crib near the bed. I was devastated for him. We both talked about our failed relationships and shitty partners that insisted on deceiving us. And we were both more than a little scared to open up our hearts again. So we dated, casually, for awhile. Then things became much more intense.
By intense, I mean, scary.
Door #2 had a 15-month old daughter that he had custody of. I was not even 21 yet. I babysat her a lot while he was working. We took her to movies with us, to lunch, to dinner. We had our alone time, too, thanks to his mother. I’ve had a habit, for as long as I can remember, of writing things down to clear my head. I’d just grab a pen and paper and pour my heart out. Every thought, wrong as it may have been. So, knowing that Door #2 was still struggling with things, suggested he try it. And boy did he.
He ended up wanting me to read what he wrote. All 6 pages of it. He talked about how awful it was to find his wife cheating on him. And his fears in raising his daughter alone. And this new person he had met that had shown him a side of himself he had forgotten. And he went on to describe this wonderful girl, in a way that she could never describe herself. That girl was me. And he understood me better than I did. It was the most sincere, sweet, wonderful thing anyone had ever said or written to me. He wrote about how he has to think of his daughter now and make the right decisions for her. And how much she loved me and I her. I made a copy of it before I gave it back to him because I wanted to remember how good it made me feel. And how badly it scared the living shit out of me.
This was a guy who would leave little notes on my car while I was at work. Who would show up at random times with a handful of daisies. Who was genuinely interested in how my day went and my happiness and my well-being.
And he scared the shit out of me. I fell in love with him and started backing away from him at that very instant.
Not long after that, I was at the local pool hall (I used to be a shark, what can I say?) with a friend of mine. In walked tall, skinny, blue-eyed Badass, aka Door #3. He interrupted our game with some cheesy line. I pretended to be annoyed. Meanwhile, sparks were flying. No, sparks is not the right word. Freaking fires blazing. Yes, that’s much more accurate. I gave him my number with the condition that he couldn’t write it down. It was a ridiculously easy phone number.
He didn’t call. I lamented about this to my mother.
One night, after class, I headed to a local bar with a friend to hear Door #1’s band play. It was Valentine’s Day. Afterwards, he walked me to my car, thanked me for coming, gave me a hug, and kissed me. For the first time. I was giddy. As I got into my car to drive away, I saw a little piece of paper fluttering under my windshield wiper. When I got out to retrieve it, I was shocked to find that it was a note from Badass. Said he saw my car and wanted to wish me a Happy Valentine’s Day but didn’t know if he should come in and say hi or not.
When I got home, Mom told me he had called. And that she told him where I was.
The timeline of all of this is kind of blurred now. But at one point, I was talking to, if not dating, all 3 of them. And it was nice. And honest. They all knew I was seeing other people. Eventually, Door #1 fell by the wayside. He was either too shy, or just not interested enough. So here I had Door #2, this amazing, good-looking, divorced, dedicated father and sweetheart of a guy who adored me and respected my wishes to not rush into anything. And I had Door #3, Badass. A fast-talking, heart-racing player of a guy who insisted that he wanted to be with me and only me and that the idea of me seeing other people was killing him.
So who did I spend the next 6 years of my life with?? Ugh.
Door #2 and I remained friends for a long time after that. Until Badass became good friends with my dad’s mechanic, who had known and been friends with Door #2 for a very long time. When Badass and I would have problems or break up, I’d find myself wanting to see, call, talk to Door #2. Badass found out and went ballistic. So I stopped talking to Door #2 all together.
There was a lot more that went on, like me taking Door #2 out for his birthday and getting him drunk when I was still too young to legally buy alcohol. Duckie’s girlfriend babysat and Door #2 crashed on the couch at my parent’s house that night. My parents adored him. They would invite him places, like to the beach cabin we rented for a week in the summer. They’d offer to watch his daughter so he and I could go down to the beach. They were literally pushing him on me. And I dug my heels in so hard I got whiplash.
I’m not proud of the way I handled it, but these are the choices I have made in my life. It’s not to say that Door #2 was THE ONE. That, I doubt, because he had some issues of his own. But I know for a fact, things would have been a lot different had I opened that door rather than the one I chose.
Girls always say they want a nice guy. They want romance. They want to be loved. I still say that. And yet, I had one right in front of me and still chose a rebel without a cause bad boy who would break my heart. Over and over. Not once (Psycho) but twice (Badass).
Those who don’t learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them.
Comments from old blog:
Nilla – Jan 07, 06: My wiseass opinion is that you were too young for any of that shit. I got married at barely 20 and didn’t have a clue what the hell life was really about and how love and feelings worked until about 25. And now at 30 I think I can finally say I’m a grownup and now I’m ready for what life throws at me. Seriously, don’t lament those past relationships. They filled whatever need you had at the time. And everyone has had a BAD RELATIONSHIP or two so don’t lament that either.
Daisy – Jan 07, 06: I guess I’m not lamenting the bad relationships so much as just hoping I learned from them. So when the next Mr Wonderful appears, I’ll recognize and appreciate him.
Denice – Jan 10, 06: I think you the timing was off for door #2, that is a whole lot to take on at such a young age. My hubby and I met when I was 20 and when he said he loved me, I was scared shitless and he did not have an ex or kids to deal with. The Badass is great fun, but it sounds like it is good you got over him. I hear it is tough to find people, but you will.
Andrew – Jan 11, 06: So what’s wrong with the nice guy?
Daisy – Jan 11, 06: Nothing is wrong with the nice guy. That’s just it. So why, when given the option, do I never seem to choose one? I think it’s the excitement level. Maybe I need a nice guy who can still be spontaneous and wild. Do they make those?
Andrew – Jan 12, 06: Sure they do! The difference is that the nice guy won’t ditch you at the wild club that he spontaneously drug you to halfway across the country! 😉