Monday, March 10, 2008

My short, pathetic relationship history

Ha! I'm in a perverse mood (again) and have decided to review the entire spectrum of guys I've been involved with, in reverse chronological order.

  • Carl. We've been married just over 10 years. We got engaged 19 days after we met and married 5 months after that. We have a good, easy, fit-together type of relationship. I sometimes feel like I'm much more of a caretaker to him than he is to me, but in all honesty, I don't need that much caretaking. I like being the person who does more of the work because it makes me feel like I have more power. In past relationships (to be described below) I often had way too little power. I only wish Carl could do a better job of getting along with my son. He rates about a D minus in that department. On the other hand, it's very hard to imagine my life without Carl. Please forgive the cliche, but he completes me.
  • Dennis. Not much to say about Dennis. He was an occasional FWB that I met on AOL when I had that service for a very short time. Middle aged (over 50 but said he was in his 40s); widowed, a bit on the dramatic side. We had some good phone sex one day and went out on exactly two dates. Our parting was mutual and completely undramatic; we both had other fish to fry. But in the meantime he said I was overweight and should think about trying to go back to my ex. Yeah...
  • Steve. Steve was a fling I had while married to Doug. I felt a lot of guilt about this for a long time; it led to me becoming a Christian for 15 years. Steve was wonderful. Sometimes I think I should have left Doug and "gone with" Steve. Steve certainly wanted me to -- he got a bit "Fatal-Attraction"-esque until I broke it off for good and stayed with Doug. My big mistake was telling Doug about it when I thought it was ancient history. I had a lot to learn about life. The best advice anyone could have given me (assuming I was ever inclined to follow anyone's advice) would have been, keep your own secrets. Sharing them causes pain for the other person and for you. Confession may be good for the soul, but it will kill a marriage. Steve wanted a true love for all time and apparently he found one. He's got 2-3 kids now and a very interesting career.
  • Doug. Doug was my husband for about 13 years and we lived together for a year before that. At the time we met (and for many, many years therefter, until very recently), I was prone to make quick assessments of people and situations and then set them into quick-dry cement. My impression of Doug was that he'd make a great father, because I saw him interacting pleasantly with kids. Doug and I were simply too young -- we were both still living with our parents, on the verge of making some breakthroughs into adulthood, but we took the easy way out and moved in together because we were both afraid of being alone. I wasn't afraid, actually, but my parents were. The thought of me moving out made them both kind of hysterical, so I figured they'd have less objection if I moved in with this big strong-looking guy. I very much put my thoughts and feelings on ice for years -- I had come to a place in my life where I felt that my opinions were worthless ... that I was worthless. What's that movie where the actress says "Oh, it was easy -- I looked for the guy I thought could give me the worst time, and that's the one I went for." I'll think of it at some point. That was basically what I did. I wasn't attracted to Doug other than as a friend. Bob Seger paraphrase: I used him, he used me, but neither one cared. I know that without Doug in my life, there most likely would never have been a Wally, but the frustration at not being able to go back in time and change things sometimes gets overwhelming. Talk about wasted time.
  • Danny. A med student who I met around the same time I met Doug. Now him, I was attracted to! Wow! I went after him in a rather bold way (bold for me, at least). We slept together twice. I knew he had a serious girlfriend but thought (hoped) for a time that I would "win" him. I didn't. No longings; it was fun while it lasted. Rebounding from Danny is probably what sent me toward Doug.
  • Felix. That's not his real name; none of these are real names! But Felix was "my first." Very good-looking; looked several years older than his actual age. But talk about the interior and exterior not matching up! Felix had been seduced by an older woman when he was in his mid-teens, and as a result, he had one of those madonna/whore complexes that some guys have. A sexy (or sexual) woman was seen as evil. I was at the age where I felt old enough to explore my sexuality, but it was my misfortune to consistently run into guys who either wanted me to be sweet and sexless, or who were not terribly attracted to me physically. That's why Carl is such a keeper -- there is attraction there, and it is mutual. Carl also doesn't try to transform me into someone I'm not. For anyone who's come out of that type of relationship, that one thing is very, VERY important. Felix and I split mainly because of the same problems I should have recognized with Doug: We were too young, still trying to sort out our identities. Felix probably could have kept it going (right to the altar, God help us all), but I felt very smothered and trapped and broke away. He married a submissive mousy type and they now have 2 grown daughters.
  • Tony. Tony was just one date, mere weeks before I met Felix. Tony had been a classmate, one of those kids people make fun of. So I really didn't take him seriously when we had that one date, just a year after high school ended. But I think back on that one date surprisingly often. It could have gone somewhere, I realize that now. Tony was sexy in an understated sort of way. The kind of guy who could surprise you in the bedroom. We never got as far as his bedroom, though he did give me this one sizzlin' kiss that I still remember. It's probably a good thing I never dated him a second time; I was in a very unstable period of my life and most likely would have made the poor guy's life hell.
  • Mike. Oh, my mom had a jones for Mike! See, my mother liked men who were tame and useful beasts. She didn't want personality (my dad had plenty of personality). She wanted "the strong silent type" who could fix anything around the house in a jiffy, eat whatever you put in front of them, and hardly ever speak. Mike was like that. It drove me crazy, because I was the quiet type. That's why Felix appealed to me -- he was flamboyant and very "out there." I needed someone to speak for me. Mike did none of that. Which was why as soon as I met Felix, Mike was history. Another case of, the guy has no idea how lucky he was not to marry me.
  • Brian: A classmate who pursued me for YEARS. I don't like possessiveness and Brian was brimming with it. I went out with him because he was really persistent, but for awhile I found him so repulsive, I'd get literally nauseated being in his presence. We went to the beach once and I dug a hole in the sand and retched into it. I'm sure he noticed, but pretended not to. Finally, one day I looked at him and out of nowhere began to feel stirrings of attraction. Suddenly, I really liked being with him. We got closer...and closer...and then I discovered that he was one of those madonna/whore types. He had a bunch of alcoholic part-time girlfriends that he saw when I wasn't around, but I was this angel on a pedestal, and the one time we got to where we were actually in his room, on his bed, and my clothes were coming off, he got the worst case of cold feet I have ever seen in my life and abruptly took me home. That was the last time we went out. Many years later, I thought he might be a good match for a friend of mine. They got along great, but unfortunately, he'd never gotten over me, and was using my friend as an excuse to see me, even though I was married to Doug by that time. He treated my friend worse on a progressive basis, really messed up her head, then they split. Fortunately, my friend met someone better, and he finally quit drinking and settled down. About time. What a strange case.
  • Tom: We came close to having actual sex, but it never went past manual and oral -- we were both 17 and pretty conservative. Tom had plenty of issues; he saw his life as some sort of sweeping, epic novel. But I really enjoyed his house and his family. Tom and I broke up at the end of high school and he died suddenly in freshman year of college. It was very hard dealing with that. Took me about a year and a half before I started feeling normal again.
  • Dave: If he ever looks back at our time together, I'm sure he'll think our breakup was racial (one of his parents was not Caucasian), but it absolutely was not. I simply didn't think I was "cool" enough for him. I thought I was an awkward nerd and being around him compounded that feeling until I really started acting like one. I couldn't take it after awhile and gave him back his class ring with no fanfare.
  • Maurice: I met him through a mutual friend while I was dating Jeff (below). Maurice was really sexy and I probably would have let him seduce me, but he thought I was taking too long to make up my mind and stood me up for my birthday. I now realize he was a total creep and hope he dies of some unpleasant disease.
  • Jeff: I dated Jeff for about 5 months. I let him touch parts of my body but felt very uncomfortable with it. He wanted intercourse, but I was only 16 and just could not accept that idea. In order to avoid such an eventuality, I broke off the relationship.
  • Ed: I met Ed before I dated Jeff. I found Ed very attractive, but apparently it wasn't mutual. The "friend" who introduced us volunteered to give Ed aid and comfort whenever he wanted; she told me she was meeting him every night "to talk him into" dating me. Apparently she wasn't all that persuasive... Just one of those memories you'd just as soon throw in the recycle bin.
  • Bubba: Bubba was not someone I was attracted to in any way, shape or form. He was friends with Brian. I went out with Bubba exactly once. When Tom died, Bubba called me up and asked me out on a date "to take my mind off it." He was a total creep and a toad. Yech.
  • Burt: My first actual date. It lasted about 3 hours. I was in the first semester of 9th grade; my friend was already totally boy-crazy. This was on a Saturday. The plan was for Pam and me to walk down to a local store, meet these two guys who were from another town, and walk back to Pam's house. All Burt did was talk incessantly. He never asked me a single question or (as far as I can tell) even took a breath in between sentences. Yes, I'm sure he was nervous, but why do guys have to act so bizarre when they're nervous? I think I said one sentence the entire time I was with this motormouth. I said hi to Pam's little sister; Burt quit babbling and stared at me as though I'd farted or something. When I didn't follow my sentence up with anything, Burt resumed babbling. Needless to say, there was not a second date. I think Pam started dating him, in fact.
And that's my relationship history, as far as men I've actually dated, bedded or wedded. There have been a few other relationships where there was no sex or potential sex of any sort but that's for some other post.

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