Many years ago, I dated someone who (for the first time in my life) I thought was ‘the one’. We hit the ground running and said ‘I love you’ within a matter of weeks. We planned our future wedding, named our hypothetical children, and were certain that we were soul mates.
I had friends who’d gone down this speedy road before, and in all honesty, I’d thought they were CRAZY. One of my core dating beliefs is ‘what’s the rush’? But because I’d had several relationships at this point that hadn’t progressed like this, I figured this was just how it happened when you knew.
About 4 months into the relationship, my boyfriend came home from a trip, and broke the news that he’d met someone else. Although nothing physical had happened between them, it left him confused about us.
I obviously took this news incredibly well because I am a very non-emotional person! (JK, I sobbed all night long.)
The next morning, I promptly got myself to the closest Trader Joe’s, spent a cool $50, and proceeded to eat the ENTIRE bag of groceries within about 37 minutes of my return home (aka I gorged). I then watched “The Princess Diaries” 3 times in a row (thank you E!). Needless to say, the IKEA futon and I had become one.
It was at this point in the evening that I made my first rational decision. It was time to call my mom.
I rang up my home phone number, and to my surprise, my dad answered (I figured he’d be at work). Rich told me that mom was out. Hearing I was upset, he asked if there was anything he could do to help instead.
Now, my dad and I are extremely close, and always have been. I’m a total Daddy’s Girl. But there are just some things you want to talk with your mom about.
However, I needed to talk, so I decided to unload on my dad. After he heard the entire saga (I really synopsized for you, dear readers), he unleashed some SERIOUS WISDOM on me.
Now, I could go ahead and paraphrase his story. Or I could just let him tell it.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I’m about to introduce our first guest blogger. The one, the only…RICH PARIS:
Anybody who may have been expecting a really cool guest blogger...sorry, you’re stuck with me for a few paragraphs.
I’m going to guess that many of you might think I would be expounding on a father’s perspective of what it’s like to have your daughter date on my daughter’s dating blog. I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t crossed my mind.
But as my wife Timmie and I quickly approach our upcoming 30th anniversary, I think something else holds a bit more significance. I mean come on, how many times do you want to hear someone’s story about a dad at the front door with a shotgun in hand at his daughter’s first date (I’ve never owned a fucking gun in my life). It was a machete…
Timmie and I had only been dating for about 3 months when we moved in together. We knew…we just knew. I will apologize up front, because I love telling a good story, but I promise that the story will take us to the moral (HEY! Me here! Lauren! And you all wonder where I get it from…).
About 4 years into our relationship, I took a trip to Portland for a lacrosse tournament. When I came back to Seattle, I admitted to Tim that I was having second thoughts about our commitment to each other. Honestly, it had nothing to do with anything besides my own insecurities.
We broke up.
It sounds like such massive bullshit when I say I still loved her, but I did. More than anything. And I know now that I just wasn’t mature enough to take the next steps. I was afraid of the ultimate commitment.
My folks were married for over 60 years and I’ve always felt that once the step is taken, you’re not supposed to take it back. If you love someone enough to marry them, you’ll always do whatever's necessary to ensure your bond remains intact. It pains me now to say it, but at the time, I think that vow just really scared me (Getting inside the male anti-commitment gaze! Fascinating stuff, truly).
Timmie and I still saw each other a number of times in social settings and were always friendly, but we’d gone our separate ways. I dated someone else for a while (a loser rando! Sorry, can’t help myself #TeamTimmie).
About 9 months after we’d broken up, Timmie came to one of my lacrosse games. Afterwards, we sat on a blanket BS’ing (the conversation was SO easy, smooth, flowing), and she said she wanted to take me out to dinner for my birthday, which was coming up in a couple days.
I was pleasantly surprised, but since we’d remained friends, happily agreed. In no way did I think it was a prelude to anything more.
I’ll never forget that night. We went to Simon’s, which at the time was a superb restaurant in the south end of Seattle. Best vichyssoise ever! (Oh Dad.)
After dinner, we decided to go hear some music. We were having a really great time, and there was no intent on either of our parts to have what happened next, happen.
We were laughing and dancing and then…all of the emotions just came back to me. I swear to God, it was like a fucking movie. While dancing, we moved toward a corner of the dance floor, stared at each other, and I kissed her.
Although her response was reciprocal, Timmie was taken aback. We left immediately and I drove her home, where we proceeded to sit in the car and talk for hours. We finally decided to sleep on what had just happened, and talk the next day to see if it was just the heat of the moment, or more.
It was more.
We’ve been together ever since, and I know in my heart of hearts that nothing will ever come between us in this life. I never stopped loving Timmie. I knew it all along, but it took our time apart to truly realize, grasp, and understand it.
I learned a lot about myself during our ‘break’ too, and the time apart helped me realize that I WAS ready for that ultimate commitment, because I couldn’t live without this woman.
I don’t believe in fate, kismet or mystical bullshit, but when it comes to relationships…
If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.
Sometimes taking a break can be good for a relationship. For me, now, the thought of time away from my sweetie sickens me. I hate it when she just goes away for the weekend, for crissake.
And it’s probably because of all that happened 31 years ago.
Woof. This one still hits me right in the feels.
Firstly: hearing the phrase “if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be” from my dad in that exact moment of near-heartbreak, was monumental for me.
It meant I could relinquish control.
Yes, I could choose to fight for the relationship or not, but having my father tell me (excuse the lamest of phrases, but) that it was somehow ‘written in the stars’ relieved 99% of the stress and emotions that I was feeling. It didn’t have to hurt so much. I’m not a religious person, but my strongest core belief is that everything happens for a reason, so this advice really worked for me.
I also had NO IDEA that my parents had ever ‘taken a break’. As far as I knew, they’d dated for 5 years, and gotten married. Plain and simple. I’ve always held my parents’ love as the barometer for my own relationships, and knowing that they’d taken a detour along the way alleviated some massive pressure I’d put on myself at some point to have a ‘perfect’ one. Only child table for 1, please.
Furthermore, my Dad’s story touches on the fear of commitment. Something that to your partner, can be so frustrating. And something that I’m sure can be very confusing to feel when you know how much you’re hurting the person you love. Sometimes it leads to a break. Sometimes it leads to a breakup. But knowing yourself, and trying to figure out what YOU want, can help negotiate these difficult times, on each end.
During these times, I try to remember to focus on myself. It’s not selfish. It’s healthy. I think it’s best for both partners to try and do this, because the relationship with yourself is the longest and most important one you'll ever have in your entire life. Hashtag self-respect.
So. How can you apply Rich’s wisdom to your own story?
So, did my boyfriend and I stay together? Yes. And then we broke up 5 months later. But the lessons in this story from my Dad, who will always be the perfect man in my eyes, help me remember that everyone is flawed. Everyone has their own story. And in my eyes, everything happens for a reason.
Love you, Dad.
6/24/2016 07:09:37 am
Thank you so much for this. I'm currently at a crossroads in my relationship, and it hurts so much. You and your Dad's advice is awesome. Keep it coming, girl. We need you.
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