Sunday, July 8, 2012

Boy Bits - Part 1

I've decided to write a series of posts on my past relationships. One of the bloggers I follow did something similar, though her stories were funny stories of screwy guys. My stories will likely not be funny, but more a way to remember why those relationships didn't work out. A way of learning from them so that maybe a new relationship will be easier. Starting at the beginning...

I met Brian* (name has been changed) when I was a freshman in highschool and he was a senior. I was so ridiculously enthralled with him. Amazingly, he noticed me too, as evident by the note he wrote in my yearbook. (Sorry it's so hard to read! You can click on it to make it bigger. Also, I blotted out his name and phone number.)

Lizzy - I'm glad I got to know you. You are a real cutie. This summer we will definitely go out this summer and wherever I go to school next year I will keep in touch with you. I read what Megan wrote you. Let's get you $10. Please, please call me this summer. I would like to get to know you better. Love ya - Brian YOU BETTER CALL

For 15-year old me, this was HUGE! The senior guy I had a major crush on told me I was a cutie! And wanted me to call him! OMG! The $10 thing is a funny part of the story, that would later be quite telling about how he handled his relationships. 

Brian had a girlfriend already. They were even the runner-up "Cutest Senior Couple". My friend Megan knew how much I liked Brian, tried to convince me that he and his girlfriend were almost over, and told me she'd give me $10 if I kissed him. Oh, the things you do when you're 15. But Brian wanted to help me get the $10 - amazing!!!

I do believe that we earned that $10 that summer.

Anyway, Brian went off to college, but we kept in touch for the next three years. Every time he was home for any length of time, we'd touch base. But it wasn't until after I had finally graduated that things amped up between us. Brian moved home and we started hanging out all the time. That summer I lost my virginity to Brian - on a bale of hay in a field the highschoolers called "Field of Dreams". Though Brian was very sweet during the experience, I don't recommend sex on a bale of hay. 

That summer was fun. Brian and I spent a lot of time together and I learned a lot from him. I continued to date Brian after I left for college in Fort Collins. I would talk him constantly on the phone (wracking up HUGE phone bills) and would drive back to Denver as often as I could to see him. 

For a while, I thought this was a good relationship. But I had never had a boyfriend before. What did I know? I realized that though I was always available to him, he wasn't to me. And I realized that we never actually did anything. I was seeing my friends in their relationships and they included going out to dinner and the movies, hanging out in public. They took goofy pictures together. Their boyfriends got them flowers and cards and gifts. Brian and I never went out in public. We never took a picture together. He never got me flowers or anything else. We would meet up at his apartment, or he'd pick me up and we'd go somewhere relatively private. We'd have sex. That's all our relationship consisted of. 

This seemed to be obvious to everybody but me. None of my friends or family liked Brian. Countless people told me how wrong Brian was for me, but I just couldn't stay away from him.

It was around Christmas break, when all the college kids were home again, that I first found out. One of my best friend's older sisters was good friends with Brian, they had been in the same class in highschool. (Convoluted, I know.) She knew Brian and I were involved and had found out that Brian was also dating another girl from their class, Jen. She wanted to warn me about him, didn't want me to get hurt, wanted me to stop seeing him.

When I confronted Brian he didn't even try to deny it. If I'm remembering correctly, and I think I am - this kind of thing sticks with you, he actually said, "Why wouldn't I date her? We're not anything serious. We're not exclusive." I was devastated. I'd adored Brian for four years and thought I finally had him! We fought long and hard about this. I wanted him to admit that we were something and that I actually was important to him in some way. He eventually did, which felt like a huge win for me. But he also said that he was still going to see other people. I was so young and inexperienced and desperate to hold onto any little bit of him that I could, that I relented. I accepted that this was what our relationship would be.

That New Year's Eve, Brian told me that he wasn't going to spend the holiday with me. He wanted to party with his legal friends (and coincidentally the other girl) and not with young, 18-year old me. I was pissed. I went to a party in Boulder with lots of highschool friends, got stupid drunk, and ended up hooking-up with an old friend. Granted, Scott* (name has been changed) was a guy I'd liked on and off since we were in sixth grade and not just some random Joe Schmo, but he was still not Brian.

We spent the night in Boulder and returned to Denver the next day. I felt incredibly guilty. In my heart, I felt like I had cheated on Brian, even if my mind knew it wasn't technically cheating if we had an open relationship. Brian most definitely thought that's what we had, so I should think that way, too. Right?

I felt guilty enough that I told Brian soon after. But part of me also knew that he would be jealous. Brian knew Scott, too. They had grown up just houses away from each other. In a way, I wanted the fact that I'd been with somebody else make Brian jealous enough to realize that he didn't want me to see other people and therefore he wouldn't see other people. Oh, the crazy mind of an 18-year old.

I was right on one part. He was jealous. SO jealous. But instead of not wanting me to see other people, he determined he wasn't going to see me anymore. Backfire! And double standard much?!?

We didn't stay away from each other for long. But we continued on this path of cheating on each other, breaking up, and getting back together for at least another eight months. Mainly, he would get pissed when I was with somebody else and punish me by breaking up with me for a while. Sometimes he would treat me well, but mostly not. Mostly I was getting my heart stomped on. I don't know why I didn't have enough self-respect to stop seeing him. I just accepted to how he treated me. I accepted that there were always other girls. But in retaliation, there were other guys for me. Nobody meant much though, because my heart really belonged to Brian.

At the beginning of my sophomore year of college, I went home one weekend to visit Brian. Something was different with him. He was a little distant, more hands-off than ever before. He ended up telling me that things were getting serious with one of the other girls. He had actually told me about Lauren* (name has been changed) months before, but I just assumed she was like all the others. And since we were still sleeping together, I didn't give her much thought. But now, this girl was becoming something to him. She was a family friend so she came with guaranteed approval. She was Jewish and was his same age. He had told me once that his parents would never approve of me because I was too young and wasn't Jewish. I knew then that this Lauren was very different for him. And then this encounter with Brian was the first time we were together that we didn't hook-up. Ever. 

That was essentially the end of us. Since we weren't exclusive, we didn't have the big break-up drama. At least we didn't together. I was still heart broken. Back at school I cried on the shoulders of my always supportive sorority sisters. I mourned the loss of my first real relationship. Yes, it was an incredibly crappy, deplete your self-esteem, screw you up for your future relationships, relationship. But it was my first. He was my first love, even if he didn't love me the same back.

I make it all sound bad here. But really, there are aspects of our relationship that I'm thankful for. I actually like that he was more experienced than me. We weren't two unknowledgeable, bumbling young kids figuring it out together. He was my teacher and I learned a lot from him in that regard. And even if Brian was an awful boyfriend, he was actually a pretty good friend. We talked a lot, about everything. He helped me through difficult times - the difficulties of being away from home for the first time, separated from all my best friends. He made all of that easier by being there for me, listening to me. As evident by our huge long distance phone bill. So there were those things, which really aren't negligible in the grand scheme of the relationship.

Brian and Lauren ended up getting married and have two kids now. Over the years, I've seen Brian around here and there. Denver is essentially a small town, especially if you've grown up here. Once or twice he tried to get us together, for a drink or dinner. I never would go out with him. I have no idea what his intentions were. I didn't want to find out if he was a faithful husband or not and I wouldn't be a part of that. I just know that he was always a playboy before and I know that's hard to change. I was never able to say no to him either and I didn't want to test that now that he was married. Even if I was more mature and educated about relationships now. 

I bear him no ill will. I am as much at fault for our crappy relationship as he is. Yes, he was a terrible boyfriend, but I'm the one who accepted his behavior and treatment and stayed in the relationship for so long. We're even Facebook friends, now. He was actually one of the first people to friend me when I joined the site years ago. It's nice to see pictures of him with his kids. He seems happy. I hope he is.

Though this post was sometimes difficult to write and I hesitated to publish it (it sat in my folder as a draft for months!), I think it's interesting to look back at my past relationships and will continue this series. I changed the names of most people since I'm still friendly with them and I don't want to upset them in any way. Up next - Steve and Jake* from sophomore year!

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