|*Me and "The One" on our wedding day*|
I was a "late bloomer." The glasses didn't get traded in for contacts until Junior year in high school and the much needed orthodontia did not come until my Junior year in College. In high school I was the girl who only got invited to two high school dances and never had a boyfriend. I wanted a boyfriend so badly but kissing still seemed sort of disgusting. Until I finally got to do it myself with my Senior Prom date just after high school graduation. I cursed my non existent love life back then but as a wizened adult who's been around the block I can look back and say it was a good thing. My cautious and tentative nature when it came to boys meant that I took things slow which meant that I was very selective with who I gave a chance and didn't have to kiss too many frogs to get to my prince.
I met my first boyfriend when I was Eighteen and ended up marrying him. It may have taken me a while to feel comfortable enough to have a boyfriend but once I made up my mind I was all in. It was great at first. Isn't it always? Then, I began to realize that we were were simply too different to make it work. What's with three years of dating and a four year engagement? We clearly had reservations but we had been together so long it was our duty to tie the knot so that's what we did. I didn't even know myself at 18 when we met and 10 years later was still trying to figure it out when I found myself divorced, in my late twenties and dating for the first time in my life. After a 9 year relationship.
I had plenty of dates but very few connections. There was a certain feeling that I was looking for and I wasn't going to settle or pretend. Getting taken out to dinner was fun and all but I never knew how to negotiate that moment when I realized that I didn't like the guy "that way" and I didn't see the point of leading him on. Dating was fun and being single was OK with me but I prefer having one special person and I found myself in relationship #2 with the proverbial "bad boy" before long. If you could call it that. Our relationship status was always a question mark so it never really felt like one and let's just say that he wasn't as "separated" as he claimed to be. Being so inexperienced I was too naive to see what should have been obvious. I still considered myself lucky for having been burned only once in my life by a man.
Oh, and remember that first crush? Right around my dating years he resurfaced. He lived out of state but when he was back home visiting he always made a point to call me and we'd meet up. On one such visit, like something out of a movie, he gave me his high school Basketball jersey. The very same one that I dreamed about having Thirteen years earlier just didn't have the same effect on me now. He never noticed me before so he wasn't the right boy for me in high school nor the right man for me over a decade later. That jersey represented everything I ever wanted when I was in the throes of that poignant teenage crush. I had come full circle from that awkward lonely girl just wanting to be loved, to a woman that had no problem getting dates, who had loved and lost and was now OK with being on her own.
I had a brief but fun long distance romantic interlude with a guy from the other side of the US. It was just what I needed to get over the two timer and get ready for the most important one yet. Third time's a charm. Fresh off of a quasi relationship I knew exactly how things were NOT supposed to be and was simply blown away by the difference. The very next man who I handed my heart to and asked for love in return is the same man who I am happily married to three years after we met. The same man who I expect to be married to the rest of my life.
I wasn't supposed to have a high school boyfriend. I was meant to long for love in a way that would always make me remember how much I want it and just how precious it is. I wasn't meant to have 10 boyfriends and several short lived romances. It could have changed me and my path to "the one" in so many ways. Instead, I was given two relationships and a time for dating in my late twenties. Nobody plans on divorce, but I was meant to have a "starter" marriage to prepare me for the one that counts. With each heart break I learned the lessons that I needed to learn and grew in the ways that I needed to grow. I didn't know it yet but all along I was on the path towards "the one." And when he came along I was ready for him. The man I was meant to be with.