I dated my ex-boyfriend for about 8 months, a year if you count the 4 months of being strung along in a “I want you” – “I don’t want you” phase, for which I’m mostly to blame. Any self-respecting woman would have cut the strings right away, but it’s hard to let go of your first “love”.
First Love: In love with being in a relationship:
When we first met I was 19 and he was 16, we both worked the spring through fall season at a small amusement park. The job itself was incredibly fun and all the other teenage to young twenties coworkers made it a blast every year. I wasn’t interested in him at first, he was much to “emo” for my liking. He was tall, lanky and dark haired with boyish features. He had a penchant for skinny jeans, hot topic tshirts and studded belts; you get the picture, stop shaking your head.
He was homeschooled and had strong yearning to be friends with everyone he met. Eventually, I found it charming and got swept up in his pursuit of me with little thoughtful notes and gifts. We had lengthy conversations over AIM and Myspace and I found his interest in my thoughts and life exhilarating. No boy had ever cared to get to know me before, and definitely not one I was interested in.
Relationship in Secret: Stealing Kisses
We started “dating” as teenagers do but with a catch; he wasn’t allowed to date. Supposedly, he convinced his parents we were just good friends. It added a level of excitement to our relationship because we had to steal kisses and touches when no one was looking.
His strong Christian background kept us from going past 2nd base. At the time I was fine with it because I didn’t feel “ready”. But as time went on, I felt incredibly frustrated and unwanted as nothing really progressed in our relationship.
Bumpy Road for an Age Gap Relationship:
Our age gap became even more apparent as I was studying engineering at university and his homeschool upbringing hadn’t instilled a strong sense of grammar or spelling. Still, I was obsessed with our relationship. Despite my week at university we spent hours messaging back and forth every night. I would travel three hours back each weekend to spend time with him.
I was enamored with being in a relationship and being in love, it was everything I ever wanted. The only thing we fought about were my emotions, he anticipated that I should be happy all the time. Unfortunately as a fiery Irish red-head, that just isn’t in the cards. Sometimes it would annoy me that he would want to spend so much longer in a clothing store than I did. Or that he was on such good terms with his ex girlfriends.
The Hardest Part is Letting Go:
The summer came and our teenage romance continued for a couple months. Then one night at my house he handed me a note before he left. It said he wanted to breakup, he changed his mind every time he saw me, and that made him feel manipulated by me. He was tired of feeling guilty “in the eyes of God” for kissing me. I was blind sighted and devastated. After pouring all my efforts and thoughts into our relationship I felt incredibly empty that he didn’t feel the same.
I moped for weeks. I lost twenty-five pounds in six months that I didn’t need to lose. I had a constant sinking feeling in my stomach as I visualized life alone. Around this same time I realized that engineering just wasn’t for me, and I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was alone and without direction.
Clinging to the Idea of a Relationship:
I let him string me along for months as he went back and forth on his decision and I kept hoping and wishing that he would take me back. He was the only guy that had shared mutual feelings and I was convinced he was the only guy who ever would. Movies, music and books made me crumble emotionally, so I watched the same two movies over and over to avoid any feelings.
Despite my constant need to be curled up in the fetal position, I enrolled at the community college by my parents house. Unfortunately, he was also enrolled there, but I tried to avoid any place he might be. I took art classes and it was therapeutic painting and drawing all day. My second semester I took marketing classes that would push me to pursue marketing as a degree. I also pushed myself out of my comfort zone learning to gun spin and talk in a western accent. I practiced relentlessly all semester and when the amusement park opened again I tried out for their show. Shockingly I made it.
Breaking Out of My Shell:
As a shy girl who had trouble making friends, I was incredibly proud of my new accomplishment and it gave me a strong dose of self-confidence. I was in a show and I was given a lot more responsibility at work. I felt like I was on top of the world. I was still pining over my ex but I felt like I had everything else in my life in order.
I became really outgoing and hosted several get togethers with all the employees. I made friends with a lot of guys and this helped fill the void. Yet, I wasn’t ready to date. I went on a string of first dates with guys from work, guys my friends set me up with and I felt nothing. I would quickly break it off and give the “let’s just be friends, it’s not you it’s me”. For months and months I was “dating” and it was flattering that they were interested in me, but I just wasn’t interested in them.
The Blonde Greek God:
Eventually the summer came to an end and I had mostly avoided my ex. He still flirted with me when he could and played with my emotions for sport. One day this incredibly attractive blond haired, blue eyed man came in with one of my guy friends. The girls were all mass texting each other as he made his way around the park. I giggled at their swooning. I saw him up close and I remember thinking, “ok, not bad”, but whatever.
Apparently, he had applied to work at the park and one of the owners had hired him. Typically I did all the hiring so I was surprised to see him a couple weeks later. We talked a few times and it was so comfortable and easy. He listened to what I had to say and provided intelligent responses. I was wary of jumping into another relationship.
An Attraction So Strong You Can’t Avoid It:
One night a couple months after we first met, we spent a late late night on his parents swing-set realizing that we had so much in common. We shared the same life goals and had similar mentalities on issues. It was a such a deep bond that I couldn’t ignore and I didn’t want to.
I fully believe that as much as breakups suck, they happen for a reason. Once you find the right person, it’s almost undeniable. You have to empower yourself after a breakup and work to better yourself. It sounds so cliche that when people say you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, but it’s true.
Six years later we’re still together and going strong.