I’m not a giver of second chances. Not in romantic relationships. Once upon a time I tried it. It was a guy that I was friends with first. As friends, we shared so much of who we were. He even held my hand through a breakup with someone else. As a couple, he wasn’t the right fit, and trying a second time was for him. There was a shift in the relationship. My friends were all guys. I wanted him to have his time with his friends so I could hang with mine. I didn’t want him to meet my friends. He wanted my time apart to mean I stayed home to wait for his call. He would call while I was with friends and I made fun of his attachment to me. I didn’t want to be with him and I was sad that I had to tell him this and he couldn’t see that I turned into a mean person because I wasn’t happy. For the record, I was also a coward that couldn’t own up to what I wanted out of our relationship. I just couldn’t get back into the idea of “us” because I had accepted we would only be friends. I was so immature that friendship with my ex meant he was my go to when I was looking for a punchline. It didn’t help that he liked me more than I liked him.
As a couple, I tend to be intensely obsessive. I want to know every detail about him and I want to enjoy his company. I’m such a believer in the good of who he is, I give every opportunity and spend way too much time hoping he’ll see my amazing and want to be with me just as much as I want to be with him. It never goes well, and by the end, he’s pushed me so far from him I finally take the hint and wouldn’t want him back. I mean, typically. In theory. I couldn’t tell you what my reaction would be tomorrow because I just don’t know. Lately my relationships look different because I’m different.
Right now, I’m all about my alone time and company is great, but I have to be convinced that the person I’m talking to would improve on time I really like spending alone. The other day at work a woman asked if I’d like to join her group. It was kind, but I declined. As friendly as I can be, I prefer to sit alone, doodle, sing and be the happy pariah. In the past, I always jumped head first into romance, and I gave so much in relationships that by the time it was over, he was long gone and I was being that puppy that couldn’t drop the toy. Those feelings linger so long because I really love falling in love and I can appreciate the good, milking it for every racing heartbeat and fluttering butterfly moment. I like the many things a relationship will make me feel.
Once I turn away, I’m done. Once I accept the romance is over, we’ll only be friends, if that, and that’s all I want. It means I’ve stepped away to heal damage we caused. It means I’ve opened up to the possibility of a new romance somewhere in the future. It means I’m able to appreciate the good, and really examine the bad for once. But I’m done. I wasn’t always nice about it. Once I was asked for a second chance and I told him I didn’t have the Jesus juice he was looking for. He was calling me his “goddess” and I told him I’m not the one that gives second chances or mends broken hearts. (I keep telling you I’m not nice and as you can see, I have a tendency to be so wrong.) I used to change perfumes when I changed men. It was a scent memory I was leaving behind. I’m not nearly as dramatic anymore. Now it’s a moment to moment decision. Can the person in front of me improve on this moment, or can I handle this on my own? The guys that I walked away from recently weren’t relationship kinda guys. They were looking for something physical and I wasn’t. Then there were the two crushes I’ve had this year. They were just that and entirely perfect in what they were. And sometimes a muse is just a muse. I don’t know how I would react to a revisit from Mr. He’s Hot and So Not Into Me, or my latest crush that was too kind to get a silly name for my objectification moments.
I’m starting to wonder about my stance. I took a stand in my late teens and early 20’s, but I’ve lived through so much during the marriage where I only dated my husband. I recently had a moment where a memory from 18 years ago revived desiccated butterflies I thought were extinct. How can a memory make my heart race and my stomach flip in a way that doesn’t feel like heartburn? I related the moment to a friend and she suggested, “it’s good to be excited and reconnect. It’s been a long time, people are different. It’ll be like meeting someone new and different at the same time.” I have to believe her. She puts up with my horny teenage boy moments and laughs at the midlife sex drive of a celibate woman.
There was a boy. That many years ago I was just a girl. He was beautiful and intense. He was so driven and ambitious. I was immature. I needed to go through my bad boy stage and work out my Daddy issues and he was smart enough to not get into my craziness. As intense as I can be, he was too intense for me. This doesn’t mean I need to find him and insist on a do-over. Maybe one roll of quarters in my crazy arcade is enough for any boy. The point is the memory of him shifted things just enough. This may be one of those many revolutionary acts of starting over in the middle of your life. Like starting a new career, you get to revisit a romance with the perspective of someone who actually knows what they will and will no longer accept in relationships.
I’m still figuring out what I like and what I want and I’m not actually planning on giving up my “date myself nights.” I treat myself really well and I’m really looking forward to my five kid free days this week.
Two of my sisters have grown up and reconnected with their first loves. Each one of mine ended badly enough that my “what if’s” were answered and never need revisiting. I’ve thought about every significant relationship I had before I got married and decided months ago that they weren’t worth the data of an internet search. It helps that I always had a thing for guys that my friends would always warn me about, and often dumped guys that were too nice. It’s a quality I like now but if I dumped them, I wasn’t very nice about it and may have thrown words like, “little bitch” around. I couldn’t come back from that if I wanted to. I learned those lessons and the memories are a strong enough repellent.
What about all of those versions of Mr. Almost, and Senators of Maybe Someday? I don’t mean the men I politely said I’d meet for coffee even though I was more interested in watching clouds float through the sky. I don’t mean the ones I had no interest in. I mean the boys I really liked, and wanted to spend my free time with. I mean the ones that I looked forward to seeing. Could I revisit that? There’s no one that I’ve held a torch for all of these years, but I was struck by a memory. For the first time since high school, I’m wondering about the possibilities about a second chance at what I passed on the first time. I may be open to the idea of a second chance. But I’m not sure I have an answer to that or that I could come up with an answer at the end of this post.
I would need that moment and that person to decide if it was worth the risk to revisit a memory. I would need to decide if my memories are sugar coated versions of reality or if life has made a mediocre painting less than it used to be. Maybe I’m over thinking my needs. Maybe I just need some time alone with gelato.