February 23, 2011

Maybe It's Me: Warmth for Ex-Lovers and Their Lovers, or, The Wistful Belief of a Romantic Revolutionary

Throughout most of my life the majority of my friends have been male. Growing up as a tomboy I found I had more in common with them; I also found them easier to deal with then girls. It seemed my guy friends, when they were upset about something, took care of it then and there. Girls, on the other hand, seemed to let their issues fester and morph into bigger problems than they actually were until weeks later when they finally addressed them. What can I say? I was wise beyond my years as a youth – I didn’t like head games when I was six years old and I still don’t like them now.

At some point I began dating. A lot - boys came and boys went for a number of reasons. I either grew bored of them or our situation; or what I liked about them as a friend I despised about them as a lover; or they weren't good enough for what I thought I wanted and needed; but, worst of all, everything I hated about stereotypical girlfriends - their jealousy, neediness, neuroses, and crazed erratic behavior - came out of me effortlessly. Like a switch was flipped.

That's when I quickly realized the cold hard truth about myself: while I made an exceptional girl friend, I was an exceptionally bad girlfriend.

This was true for a lot of my teens and twenty-something’s before I really found, settled into, and learned to love myself. Since then, I think I've come into my own as a girlfriend. I try and be as thoughtful, patient, understanding, and loving as I can be while maintaining my sassiness, brutal honesty, pseudo-abrasiveness, and wit, but I won't lie: every now and then - our of nowhere! - those raging aforementioned emotions come tumbling out towards my significant other. It's like one little thing triggers it: a girl I think is prettier than me, words exchanged by two people that I misconstrue, I wonder why time spent elsewhere and on other things aren't spent with or on me.

Notice the same word/letter reappearing: I.

Listen, I'm not that into self-depravity. Obviously I'm aware that relationships take two people. The reason why my past relationships didn't work wasn't entirely my fault. And if you were feeling particularly like a romantic revolutionary you might wistfully believe that those past relationships intentionally didn't work out all to help lead me to being in the relationship with the perfect-for-me person I was meant to be with.

That might be true – I certainly am in a relationship with someone who seems more compatible with me despite my sporadic moments of irrationality than anyone else has to this point. That hasn’t stopped me from thinking about ex-boyfriends a lot as of late though. Not in a romantic or nostalgic way; more in a retrospective and appreciative way. After all, if the hopeless romantics are correct, I owe something to the fella’s who dropped me or to the gentleman I, myself, ditched along the way.

Maybe it’s me, but it seems healthy to be able to look back and, without attachment or lust, think fondly of the supporting cast of love-interests that got me to where I am, and who I’m with.

In all honesty, I haven’t been one to stay friends with my ex’s. It’s not like every one of my relationships has ended sourly, it just seems to be that when we split – we split. We go our separate ways and that’s that. There has never been a need to stay in touch. But that’s not to say that my life doesn’t intersect with theirs again sometime down the road. My world has a funny way of reintroducing past characters to my current life’s plot.

I think it’s the universes way of letting me tie up loose ends.

When it rains, it pours, and it seems recently that I’ve had the chance to touch base with several of my ex-flings. If it’s not through direct contact, social networks have been a great way of keeping up to date with the lives of the folks I once shared mine with from a distance.

And all of my ex’s seem genuinely happy.

And I feel genuinely happy for them.

It’s a very surreal thing to see someone you once spoke words of love to, shared secret moments with, stole kisses from, and whispered promises of the futures to doing all of that with someone else. But then to feel like it makes all the sense in the world: like those two people always belonged together, makes the entire thing that much more bizarre. To see how the person you once adored shine their brightest color hue because of their new lover makes me feel nothing but warmth towards the two of them.

This is happening more and more often.

And every time it does it feels like my soul and mind are a little bit less burdened – a little bit lighter. Someone I used to know is being loved, taken care of, and treated the way they need by the right person. It’s even more wonderful when the sentiment is returned, and my old sweethearts are sincerely delighted for me and the gentle, quiet, sensitive boy who didn’t try to tame me, but chose to love the wild, uninhibited creature I am.

Now I’m sure most of the girlfriends, fiancées, and wives of these former beaus of mine would find this entire thought-process strange – there are numerous ladies out there who don’t like me based solely on the fact that I’m “an ex.” Which apparently makes me instantly threatening. What they don’t see – and couldn’t predict – is that I would be an encouraging force rooting on their relationship from afar.

Because I just so happen to be one of those romantic revolutionaries who believe – who know without a doubt – that “the universe is unfolding just as it should.” And my past relationship with their boyfriend intentionally didn’t work out to help eventually lead them to the relationship they’re in now with their perfect-for-them person they were meant to be with.

Just like all the past relationships other girl’s had with my new boyfriend didn’t work out. Which I’m forever thankful for, because it helped him get to where he is.

And who he’s with.

Which is me.

Untamable, irrational, sassy me.