I first saw her sitting across the room from me during our new hire orientation. In the weeks to follow we became acquainted as she walked past my department, and the brief hello’s progressed into conversations. One night, sitting in my car, long after business hours I asked her out on a date.
As any couple does, we began spending a lot of time together. She was fun to be around, our conversations were engaging and she encouraged as well as challenged me to grow as a person. Our dates weren’t only the typical movie and restaurant visits, we’d also spend plenty of time in the gym. I wasn’t always thrilled waking up at five in the morning to meet her for a run. But I didn’t mind losing my sleep because it meant spending time with her.
During one of our dates, as we walked along the street she said to me. “A friend asked me about our relationship, she asked if we were exclusive, I told her no.”
How could this not be an exclusive relationship? I thought to myself. I am not talking to any other women, and I’m sure she isn’t talking to other guy. We’d been at this dating thing for a few months. This certainly felt exclusive.
As I tried to process my thoughts she spoke up. “Are you mad?”
“No, I’m not mad,” I replied.
“Well I think you’re mad, I’m sorry.”
“No, I’m not mad, it is what it is…”
Wanting to be a gentleman and nice, I proceeded with our scheduled plans for the evening. Afterward gave her a ride home and said goodnight.
That was it, sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? It wasn’t. We moved on as if that conversation hadn’t happened. We continued going out on dates and spending much time together. Early morning workouts and late-night talks. This continued throughout the remainder of that summer. Sure enough, if we weren’t exclusive before, we sure were now.
One night in the early fall, I made my way to her house as I often did. Here she gave me her speech. I realized at this moment that I had held out hope for no reason. I was reminded of the conversation a few months earlier. I should have cut it off before becoming more attached. I felt crushed as anyone would in such a situation.
I got up from my seat, and without saying a word, left her house.
During our time together we’d never argued. She later told me that my action of walking out on her without a response was hurtful. I can look back and see that perhaps that’d been a dick move on my part. But at the moment I felt it was a better alternative to staying, feeling more hurt or having an argument.
Did she feel hurt? Well so did I. She dropped this on me just a few days short of my birthday.
Happy Birthday dumb-ass!
Aside from this story, I no longer think of this girl. Looking back I acknowledge I should have ended this relationship early. I should have been more aware that prolonging the inevitable would only result in emotional hurt. I can’t call what we had love, rather it was infatuation. And infatuation can make you blind. It obstructs the truth behind cute moments. It brushes off unpleasant thoughts. It takes all the bad and negative, shoving it all in a proverbial closet and closes the door. When the door is finally opened, everything comes spilling out, making a mess.
Messes can be avoided. Relational messes can be avoided. But usually aren’t, at least for me. I think we’re all idiots in different ways. But I think the common area for idiocy in us all is relationships. I have no scientific proof to back my claim but our human disposition has us pull away from harm, except when it comes to emotional harm by those we love. I believe this to be true because that wasn’t the first time I was emotionally hurt nor was it the last. Furthermore, I’m aware I’ve also hurt people I’ve loved.
Currently, I am enjoying my singleness. But I’m sure I’ll be an idiot again in the future. I just hope I’m not too much of one next time around!
Previously published on “Hello, Love”, a Medium publication.
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