I was going through a box of my stuff from college and dug out some of my old journals and it got me thinking… As a married lady, I wonder about all of the faceless boys that I’ve never met and that I’ll never kiss. I think about that feeling of butterflies I would get when I saw a new crush. The unlimited possibilities during the period where I wondered if that guy is just being nice or might actually like me too. Dissecting every word, punctuation mark and unspoken phrase during conversations and especially in texts (or ten years ago, on AIM).
I have journals where I transcribed instant messages from a guy I liked and went on a few dates with. He liked my freckles. He thought my favorite movie, Dirty Dancing, was “badass”. I wondered why didn’t he message me first that day? I saw he was online. I worried about picking the right away message and trying to not be too eager or always the first one to initiate contact. When we chatted, my fingers would hover over the keys and I’d doubt myself: Does he really like me? Is he just trying to get in my pants? I’d look at what I’d typed and wonder if I sounded stupid and immature. I was only 19 and he was 22. While I didn’t think that mattered, did it matter to him and he wasn’t telling me?
I wrote about how he kissed differently than the other guys I had kissed (an admittedly small sample group). Not better or worse – just different. And that same kind of anticipation and build up and differentness is something that I’ll never have again in a committed monogamous marriage.
When my very first boyfriend broke up with me, his away message that night killed me.
“And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts”
Those two lines of Tom Petty lyrics are a stronger memory for me of that relationship than almost anything else that occurred during the months that preceded the breakup.
I truly don’t romanticize that time in my life, when it comes to dating and the many, many unrequited crushes. I remember very clearly the excitement of being asked for my number and then never being called. Conversations that frequently included variants of cliches like “It’s not you, it’s me” and “Maybe we should just be friends”. Hitting it off with someone at a party and making drunken decisions that I regretted, especially when I found out he was getting back together with his girlfriend the next morning. The years of longing for someone to hold hands with, feeling lonely and wondering how I was supposed to change that. I do not miss that feeling.
It’s a trade-off when you get married. You agree that you’ll be faithful to one person, which means not experiencing the newness or thrill of flirtation with others. In exchange, you get reliability. You get a sense of security. You get someone to hold hands with, no question. I don’t wonder if he likes me back. I don’t worry that he’ll change his mind about me or tell me we’d be better as just friends.
I’ve never felt more sure about myself than I do with Andy. Part of that is age. Part of that is feeling more comfortable with myself as a woman and being more confident in my life, friendships, work. Part of that is from the love of my husband. He accepts me totally and his love isn’t conditional. Like in Bridget Jones Diary, when Mark Darcy says, “I like you very much. Just as you are.” That’s marriage. That is certainty. That’s loving me when I have bedhead and stubbly legs and a runny nose and I didn’t do the dishes like I said I would and I yelled at him for something that wasn’t his fault. Loving each other not in spite of our flaws but because they are just a part of who we are. And I’m grateful for that everyday.
Sorry for the mush, it’s our two year wedding anniversary next week and I’m getting all sentimental. 😉