To the man I almost married...
Building a relationship is like building a house. When we date, it is a lot like scanning through Zillow for our dream place.
When I met you, I was 19 and a single mom. I thought I had loved once before but it was nothing like the first night we hung out.
I had been left as a single mom at 17, after my high school boyfriend opted out of a contract to my heart and our child. Apparently, it was only written in crayon.
When I first met you, it was while hanging out with friends and setting 2 of them up to date. A college guy friend of mine confided in me that he had a crush on my other friend, so I took the obligation of organizing a get together, while also taking on my Aunts' offer to babysit my little toddler.
That evening, I anticipated pushing two people together through mutual jokes and bad movie premises.
Instead, you laughed at all my jokes and we ricocheted like magnets throughout the house and down to the playground on that street. I abandoned my mission, instead playing cat and mouse with a boy who was 2 years younger and a freshman at my school.
In community college, age and grade no longer mattered. None of the boys ever really noticed me anyways, because I was the girl with the baby. And all the young guys were terrified at the idea of a girl being pregnant or a mother.
Though I wore my teen mom badge with pride and I was one heck of a youth leader, I was not willing to risk my heart on another fuckboy who would abuse or abandon me like my ex did.
So I got your number but we texted as friends and we talked for weeks, meeting up on campus for lunch and walks. It felt nice having a companion, and even nicer being looked at in the eyes.
You would carry my books or walk me to class. You sat with me at lunch and met some of my friends. And you never crossed any lines. When we both felt ready, a few months into meeting, we kissed because we wanted to. And our relationship began.
In our first year you were a virgin, while my evidence of sex was 3 years old.
What once was a secret for only you to tell is now just a notch in a belt. It is important that these details get noted. Because each stone casted into the bucket of us grew heavier and heavier with time.
We had some differences but we were young and growing. From hobbies to preferences, place of worship and school majors. But those differences were little and not much to break us.
What did us in were the big differences. You were a natural introvert and I an extrovert, I was apparently a college do-gooder and you were building up to be a low-level drop out.
I spent over 4 years building a relationship, brick by brick. In a way, I feel I saw a fixer upper. A boy who was wholesome and safe, kind and quiet.
I could build a home with you, if i could find the right flooring and decor. I could make a roof DIY and we could be happy there, if only for a while.
I worked my butt off in college while raising my child. And I outgrew my fish tank, wanting to expand. I moved into a new campus and school.
You chose to visit once a week or once every other. And that was just fine.
They say all couples should be on their own for a while before moving in together.
I had priorities, goals, and a daughter. So I sheltered her and I made my own place in the world while you were a spectator.
But every time I laid 3 bricks, you took 2 away. You said they were not laid right.
Then one day you decided it was not enough to do drive bys. You wanted to build something with us. You declared it. And I obliged.
But something odd happened after that.
Every time I wanted to choose the layout, you said you did not know which was best. Or worse, you just shrugged.
I thought at one point we were going to make it. You had changed around your perspective after leaving school and work. You had taken the Gandhi time to figure out life. And suddenly stood taller.
You made promises to me. For us. And I believed them.
But again, a switch came soon after. Ghosted messages, days of not calling. Numbers with no names reaching out to you. And then your phone was always dead in your car.
You started to see my work and my dreams as a pointless, dead-end. You said I was going to spend money and time on things that will not matter.
You said my beliefs were based on no foundation and you mocked them. You mocked me.
Then I found you using social media as a front for racism and sexism, principals I was actively combating in an internship and double major in my final years at University.
All of a sudden you did not look like you anymore.
The boy I once knew, the magnet that pulled us close.. it all crumbled.
The house I picked was a shack. And I its' keeper. But you were no where to be found.
In fact, you were out living in your car. Both metaphorically and almost literally. You suddenly had a new idea.
You did not want a house at all.
You wanted to go cross country. In your truck. And it only fit one.
I'd like to say I am kidding. But I am not.
I realized I had been laying bricks for years, for a man who was stashing up side money [while I paid for all our dates] to buy a truck and drive the fuck out of my life.
The worst part was, you had cushioned up the truck and filled the passenger seat with another girl.
I will never forget the way you left me stranded. With no calls. No words. No thoughts for over two weeks.
You kept me busy telling me to pick out decorations while you packed up and left forever.
To the man I almost married, I want you to know this.
It is never the other girls' fault.
And there is never just one girl.
When you watch a woman fill a barren house and you smile as you walk away, you are fulfilling the image of you I always knew was true. I just had to be alone to finally see straight.
Published by Jean Soto JS Jaded Savior blog: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jean Soto, mother of 3 and wife, is a writer + artist in the Hudson Valley, NY community.
Content mention of Rape, Abuse, Neglect, Addictions, Mental Illness, Kidnap, Molestation, Child abuse, Teen Pregnancy, Abortion, birth, body image, gender/identity dysphoria, sexuality, personal trauma, domestic violence and other extremely personal stories. Please practice caution. I am not a licensed physician or mental health professional. No medical prescribing is provided on this site, Only personal insights, experience stories, and advice; All stories published have had prior authorization. Questions? Contact Jean at: email@example.com
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