Backstory – The love of my li…..wait where are you going?

The diary of a 37-year-old man who is single for the first time since adolescence has to start with the heart-break right?   The tragic tale of love that faded away for one party much to the surprise of the other party. There are too many illustrations of this design throughout history that repeating it only makes the delusion a soul mate or life long partner borderline laughable. But what if you believe in romance? What if those movies that showed you that love can happen and that through trials and tribulations these people who you have chosen to attach yourself to would create a stronger bond that would drive the rest of your lives. Does that even happen anymore? Or do we become weary of the trials that we face together and think that if we had a different partner fate would leave us alone to navigate the terrain of life without strain? Either way you see it, dream it, or strive for it this is not a tale of hope that love does exist, nor will it be a tale of damaging the artful painting you all may have in your heads about that four letter word, it is quite simply a story of what the fuck? As well as, what the fuck just happened, who am I, and maybe comically what do I do now?

Again the goal of this isn’t the question of whether true love exists, as I have believed my entire life that it does. Recent events will not alter the fact that I am, to my core, a romantic at heart. Since I was young my favorite movie has been When Harry Met Sally, always longing that someone would come find me at midnight on New Years Eve and confess their love for me (Yes, apparently I relate more to Meg Ryan’s character). When it actually happened though, it was almost unbelievable, life imitating art in my eyes. As I progress through this blog with moments I hope you will find funny or at least amusing, the background is important, so please bare with me as I take you through the history of what had led me to this point.

Growing up I always loved girls, so much so, that I got an award in Kindergarten speaking to the fact that I would not even sit at a table if a girl wasn’t at the table as well. There was just such majesty to them that drew me in while other boys thought they were yucky. From that point through high school I always got along better with women than I did with men. The thing I found out is that by being friends with girls meant that they always saw you as a friend. See I was always under the assumption that you should get to know someone their likes/ dislikes prior to making a move. What this did, however, was perpetually place me in the “friend-zone”. That never truly bothered me, that is, until 9th grade.

I walked into my English class, early for once, went over to my desk when I heard a laughter coming from the opposite side of the room. This girl was writing on a chalkboard with her friend, her laugh was a real laugh, like an I don’t give a fuck laugh (one not often heard from high school girls, at least in my school who were perpetually giggling at something a popular boy said.  So essentially never giggling at me).  I honestly don’t remember the path I took but I just knew my legs started moving before my brain could even relay the fact that I was (and am) incredibly self-conscious and had never walked up to a girl before. It was like I had no choice, I NEEDED to know who she was. I walked up and started talking to her, not hearing what words that came out of my mouth were, just praying that she found them audible and coherent enough to be able to reply. We became best friends quickly it was head spinning, yeah….friends. We spoke every day on the phone; all the while my heart ached for her. I was so lost in love with her that I could concentrate on nothing else. The timing was never right though, mostly because I didn’t have the confidence in myself to say what I was truly feeling.

As the years passed, I watched her date guys that treated her like shit (the official beginning to my hit list) and cry when they broke her heart, breaking my heart too. Finally I mustered up the courage to say something to her, it took until we were in the 11th grade, I just couldn’t take it anymore, I wanted to be with her and I needed her to know that. Unfortunately, like usual, I got the “but you are like my brother” response. I couldn’t take it anymore so I searched for a way out; I went to college one year early after working my ass off all year and throughout the summer just so that I could get away from not being with her, by not being near her. I just couldn’t take not holding her hand, not having her look at me like she looked at other guys, or not have me be her first and last thought every day as she was mine. I needed an escape. So I left.

The year in photography school was an amazing experience. I met an incredible group of people who I am still friendly with today, 20 years later. She and I would talk once in a while throughout the year, but every time I heard her voice that longing just returned. While at school and shortly before my 18th birthday I lost my virginity, it wasn’t a planned event, I was resigned to the fact that I was the only one there not having sex (including the teachers), and I wasn’t seeking it out it just sort of happened without much thought. It never felt quite right, but I was young so she and I continued to “hang out” through the rest of the year (almost 2 months). There was a definite ending to our connection (graduation) so there wasn’t much vested in the relationship. This was a good thing because as it turned out she had never broke up with her boyfriend from back home, making me the other guy. I HATE cheating and would have ended it had I known that I was in this situation but I had no idea, setting up some really tough internal conflicts about being that other guy.

When I left photography school I spent the summer getting high with old friends, partying, hanging out, but there was something just missing. Being back in the old town with all of those memories, that no amount of weed or beer could make go away I know I tried, just brought reminders of her everywhere I turned.  So I called her. It was late July maybe early August.

We met back up when she went away to college, the first night we hung out all of the old feelings returned. I mean ALL of them. That first night we were hanging out having a great time but as evening approached I had to drive home. We said our goodbyes and I left. I got back to my apartment and no longer than 20 minutes had passed when the phone rang. It was her, she wanted me to come back and she said she missed me. Was this it? Was this finally my time? Well, No it wasn’t.  She was at the time pursuing another guy so once again I was waiting, watching, and wishing. I would stay for months in her dorm room, in her bed, desperately trying to hide the erection I would get every time I climbed into the narrow dorm room bed with her. When things didn’t work out with the other guy, to my eternal joy, it meant that I still had a chance, however slim, it was there.

On New Years Eve we drove out to her friend’s house in Boston, got tattoos, and went back to her friend’s house for the night. I slept on the couch while she crashed in her friend’s room. It was shortly after midnight that someone started jostling me, then talking to me trying to see if I was awake. Then the craziest thing happened, she leaned in and kissed me (yes on new years shortly after midnight, now art is imitating my life right?) and said that she had something she wanted to talk to me about later. I thought it was a dream, honestly, I never thought this day would come. The entire next day I was trying to gauge if it was a dream by putting my hands on her shoulders while she sat, talking to her about how tired I was last night, being a bit more flirtatious, anything to see a reaction, nothing though. That night we drove back to my apartment and at just after midnight I worked up the balls to ask her about the kiss and if it had actually happened. She told me it wasn’t a dream and she wanted to try dating. It was the most important event in my life, the one that I had hoped for, for years and, not to be hokey, it changed my life so much so I have that date tattooed on my arm.

We spent the next few months working out how we go from friends to more than that, the initial awkward hello kisses, the weird holding hands, the terms of affection, but once we figured it out we became inseparable. We were the relationship all of our friends would tell us they wanted. Over the course of the next 18 years we would build a family (2 incredible boys), we would experience loss of both a child and a father, we would buy a home, adopt animals, suffer together through life’s trials and tribulations but always together. It was how we were the strongest. We got sick of living where we did, so when she received a job offer in another state we decided to take a chance and go for it. We thought this was a perfect opportunity so we moved north to Vermont, a place we dreamed of living. Things were tough in the beginning, we fought some there was so much that was new and so much change that we had to get used it all. Once the newness wore off it felt like we were stronger than ever. One thing that the move brought to my reserved wife was that she was finally starting to show the world what an awesome person she had always shown me she was. I had started a new job that was going pretty well, it was the closest to perfection that I think I had ever experienced.

Relationships have their ups their downs and sometimes their ruts. I just thought we were in a bit of a rut. We would get out of it; it isn’t a big deal, right? We had been through so much of life’s difficulties together I always felt like there was nothing we couldn’t handle together. So, one day I asked her if she could come home early from hanging out with some friends, I had been feeling like we hadn’t been connecting lately, she agreed and felt the same. I came home, fed the boys got a nice bottle of wine and waited. She said she would be home around 7. Then 7:30 rolled around, she texted me she was going to be home in a minute, then the next text, would I mind if she just got home at like 8:30, I didn’t have a problem with it. 8:30 passed then 9:15 hits and she walks in the front door. The conversation went like this;

“You know how proud of you I am that you have been coming out of your shell a bit more and really blossoming to become confident like you are?”

“Yeah, I do”

“Well when some people start to blossom and change like you have sometimes they realize that the life they have isn’t necessarily the life that they want, do I have anything that I need to worry about?”

Silence………………for what seemed like forever.

Turns out she wasn’t sure she was in love with me anymore. The woman, who over the past few years that I had only fallen more in love with, fell the other way. She was in love with another guy, the guy she just came home from hanging out with, and like that she was gone. In one single moment everything I knew, loved, dreamed, and wanted, was just gone. There would be no more holding hands from this moment forward, no more kisses hello or goodnight, no more sleeping in the same bed, no more saying I love you. I wasn’t allowed to anymore. We vowed to stay friends, best friends, but as those who have gone through divorce, that is a lot easier to say then it is to accomplish. See she didn’t have the money to move out and he had a family so she stayed living with me. I sat , like a teenager, and watched her text, smile, wait for his calls, wait for him to pick her up for their dates, and wait for him to take her out of my life forever. She didn’t have it easy either. She had to sit there while I grasped for things I was loosing, search for hope, lay in confusion, cry, search for any resemblance of normal, and she had to watch as the terror set in. After six months of this things ended rather dramatically and to say the least, poorly. It was over; I lost my best friend and my wife all at once.

That was the heartbreak, now a year and a half later; I am still trying to figure things out. As you read 18 years, only one girlfriend prior, and now I am single. What do I do now??? Well, having had the past 18 months, I had to start learning. I to start realizing who I am, what I now have to do, and how I think I need to do it. The problem is what I haven’t figured out yet.  I don’t know how to be single or at least I don’t remember. I don’t know how to date, to seek a partner out without seeming like an inept stalker, and I don’t know how to get over the fact that I may have to have many horrible, painful, awkward, and mortifying experiences before I either get the hang of this or just give up to live as a shut in with my cats and new dog watching 37 men find out they are “Not the father.”   This blog it to be about those experiences, now you have the back story. To me this was the quick approach, but how do you sum up 18 years of experiences, emotions, and life? Plus, I want this to be fun and I want to laugh at myself and what I have to learn, not relive the past but explore the new.  My goal is to not have many serious posts but I felt the history was important as to why I am and will be so very awkward with all of this.  So it begins!

Next — Everyone has great advice (and why I didn’t follow it)!

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