The One That Got Away

I’ve dated the same guy three different times over the course of 7 years. The first time lasted a month and a half, the second time lasted a week or so, and the third time lasted two years. He changed so much for the better over the course of that timeframe, but he also changed for the worse in the worst way.

I got a very first-hand, eye-opening experience to what happens to a person after years of heartbreak, baggage, compromise, co-habitation, rejection, and emotional turmoil. There was a HUGE difference from when we first dated to when he was actually my boyfriend. When I first met him he had a carefree energy and was much less guarded. He was completely go with the flow and excited to try new things and very open to sharing every part of our lives together.

When I met up with him this third go round, he had lost a little bit of his sparkle. He was the same guy I had remembered, just more reserved, cautious, and careful. I chalked it up to maturity, but as we got further and further into an exclusive situation it was clear that he was also untrusting, unemotional, and damaged seemingly beyond repair.

I was CONVINCED that I could get him to snap out of it. I thought that if I was patient and open and loving that he would eventually let his guard down and give himself over to me fully. But in two years time, that never happened. I don’t know that if I had held on longer that it would’ve changed or not but I had lost my will to find out. And my rejecting him because of it is probably only going to make him steel himself further. But in all fairness, his fear of commitment is what got us into this mess. And his fear of commitment got him the result he was fearing—losing me.

I get it. Relationships are scary and the fear that comes with opening yourself up to someone new all over again gets harder and harder every time you have to do it. And as we all get older, the more times we have had to start the cycle over again. But at some point it’s going to have to end unless you want to end up a lonely bachelor for all eternity.

And I say bachelor because I have found that men are overwhelmingly more prone to become damaged with multiple heartbreaks than women are. We have a nice little bounce back quality which most men seem to lack.

And what kills me is that I’ve found that most men drag all of their bullshit into the new relationship and hold it against YOU!

“Oh, my last girlfriend was very ungrateful when I brought her flowers one time so I don’t do that anymore.”

“My last girlfriend’s mom didn’t like me so, NO I’m not ready to meet your parents after a year of dating.”

“I was dragged around the wedding circuit with my last girlfriend so I don’t have it in me to go to your best friend’s wedding, sorry.”

“My first marriage ended badly so I’m never getting married again.”

COOL. Well that works out swell for me, thanks! I’m paying for all the problems that your last girlfriend caused? That seems fair. And on top of that you are a shell of the guy you once were so I have to be tasked with helping you unpack a bunch of emotional baggage before you can even consider moving forward with me? Sign me up!

Obviously we as women want to take the damaged little bird under our wings and help them, but sometimes that only makes it worse. And sometimes they never come out of it. So we could spend precious years wasting time trying to get this poor man that we love just literally back to zero!

It’s such a bummer to have a guy not excited about certain things because he has, “done it so many times before.” What a buzzkill. Why should I get the shit end of the stick just because your last relationship sucked the life out of you? And if it’s going to ruin everything else in your future then you might as well just get back together with the ex and have her fucking deal with you.

With every failed relationship we always learn valuable lessons and what not to do. We gain a lot of wisdom and tools that can help make the next relationship better. And what would make the next one successful is if we could all just focus on the future instead of allow our past to put us into fight or flight mode.

Women seem to be pretty good at it, why aren’t men? Why is it easier for us to give each new person we’re dating a fair shot and a clean slate? The only conclusion I can draw is that even though we may be damaged and fearful, we tend to trust a new person FASTER. Men take too much time and when they finally come around to you after years and tests and assurances it’s usually too late.

I’m really starting to worry for my own future because as I get older, the men I date are only going to be more fucked up. I guess I could date younger, but then I would have to deal with inexperience and the immaturity factor.

I don’t even know anymore. I’m so confused. Maybe we all missed the fucking boat and should’ve married our high school or college sweetheart like our parents did. Get each other before any other person can take a dump inside their heart and ruin them beyond repair.

I’m just tired of seeing girls becoming the “one that got away” to these guys who can’t seem to get over their pasts. Drop the bullshit and get over yourself. To feel great pleasure you also run the risk of feeling great pain. But that’s life and holding yourself and your emotions hostage are sure to make you end up alone.