I found out my ex got engaged today. Thanks to Facebook, we really can stalk our lost loves. After today, the verdict is still out on whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
He’s not someone I’ve really talked about on here, but he is a major part of my life story. We dated in college, and I won’t lie, I was completely smitten with him. What started out as being casual friends eventually turned into his pursuing, then my pursuing, then his backing away. And my continued pursuit. I’m not one to let things go. We dated on and off for three years. In the off times, neither of us really dated anyone else; we’d basically have a fight, call it off, not speak for a month, and then somehow start back up a month later. Obviously a very healthy relationship.
For the last year and a half, we were on. I had just had my transplant, he seemed to be coming around, and we were able to have a fight without breaking up. I thought we were making progress. I thought we’d get married — once he turned 30 and could afford to buy a house and move out of his parents’. (He didn’t believe in renting.) What can I say, I was 22 and cared little about an immediate marriage.
Then it ended. The break-up started over something trivial and spiraled into the heart of the issue — the fact that he just wasn’t as into it as I was. It was drawn out and hard, and basically everything you expect the end of a great love to be. Over the next few months, he would try to make contact with me and I just kept pushing him away and he started seeing someone. He still tried to make contact with me, but I’m not one for being friends with an ex, and a part of me knew that enough was enough. If I let him in again, he would just hurt me again. It was over and I had to face that. We haven’t talked since.
Over the past couple years, I have sporadically stalked him on Facebook, just to see what the girl looked like, to see if there were any updates, and lately to see if they were engaged because they’ve been dating quite awhile. Then again, when I knew him, he swore he wouldn’t move out of his parents house or get married until he was 30, so I wasn’t really expecting it.
So obviously some shock ensued when I saw the engagement photo today thanks to a mutual friend’s news feed. And it caused just the teensiest bit of pain. But why? I’ve definitely learned my lessons from that relationship, I don’t wish I was still with him and I thank God every day that I’ve found someone who is 200% better for me than he was. So what’s with the pain?
I suppose the easy answer is that a first love like that will always stay with you, especially when the break-up really wasn’t your choice and was pretty ugly. But the funny thing? Even though that’s all true, the whole thing seems like a lifetime ago. Heck, I’m a completely different person. Back then, I used Instant Messenger. I didn’t do yoga. I didn’t belong to a gym or really work out. I didn’t belong to a book club. I didn’t hang out in Detroit. I didn’t know how to cook. I lived with my parents. I’d never traveled overseas. I didn’t have many friends. I didn’t blog. I didn’t even know what a blog was.
After we ended, that me ended. I was forced to get out on my own. I took up hobbies, made different friends, and became more independent. Sometimes I wonder what changed about him and how his life evolved, but like I said, best not to be friends with exes of this magnitude.
Truth is, I don’t even really remember how he was or how we were together. Sure, I have flashes, like when I hear the name of the city where he lives or the name of the town where his family had a summer home. I remember drama, but it’s fuzzy. I don’t remember the intricate details of the break-up or how we interacted each day, or even how he was in bed. I look at him now with the true opposite of love — not hate, but apathy. After it ended, there was hate. Now that time has washed the wounds and dried the tears, apathy is all that remains.
As I was thinking about this today, the thing that really became clear is the extent I’ve grown since then. Three years isn’t that long, but it feels like a lifetime. The progress I’ve made and the roads that have led me here were all new explorations that I underwent alone. And am probably stronger for it. It doesn’t feel like I’ve changed a lot when I’m living life day in and day out, but when I really sit back and reflect on it, well, it’s kind of amazing.