Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Ex Factor

Okay, ladies (and gents) here is the deal: we all have exes. Some of them are good, some of them are bad, and some of them we pretend don't exist. But they all have one thing in common: they are exes and there are reasons they have that title!

My first serious boy friend was in the 6th grade.. I know.. how serious can one be in the 6th grade.. but to me, it was serious. He was my first love and I fell HARD. It was long, and more often than not, very painful. My self esteem was essentially shot, but I have found my way out of the hole I allowed him to put me in. At 24 I can see him out and know that I am smarter and funnier than he ever gave me credit for and he is the one who lost in the end.

When I was a freshman in high school I was heavily pursued by a junior very shortly after I broke up, for good, with my first "serious" boyfriend. He called me beautiful one of the first times we spoke and I remember thinking, he's GOT to be sweeter than the previous guy. And for a while, I was right. He treated me like a queen. But then it turned into a petty, childish, high school relationship and things got ugly, he got mean, and not to mention, most (read ALL) of my girlfriends detested him. At 24 I see him out and ask myself "WHY?" and know that although I thought I loved him, I was more afriad of being single than anything. This guy is the one I pretend doesn't exist, if I can help it.

My junior year of high school I dated a guy I've known since pre school and, if I recall correctly, had a large crush on me in junior high. Our first date was at 36 Skate, which I still have on record as one of the best first dates I've ever been taken on. He was fun, sweet, adorable, and made me laugh. He also was the guy I broke boundaries with. There was no major break up or break down; he called one day, said he was moving in with his dad to Brookeville, and then we didn't speak for a few years. At 24 I see him out, call him up, and we kick it because I love him and he's one of my best friends. This guy is my good ex.

My senior year in high school I dated a freshman. He was my longest relationship, my most serious relationship. I absolutely adored him and had my entire life planned with him. At 18 I was certain I had found the guy I was going to spend my life with. Again, there was no major conundrum that ended us and the reason we lasted as long as we did, in part, is because I had it in my head that, come hell or high water, I was going to prove my doubters wrong. But I woke up one day, realized I was having thoughts and feelings I shouldn't be having and I ended it. I then went into a deep place of sadness and regret. I am happy to say I am out of that place, and with the help of my family, my friends, and my God, I know I did the right thing. . . even if he is getting ready to have a baby with the girl he will probably one day call his wife. At 24 I see him out and find it hard to swallow, but know that on his best day, he would have never been able to give me everything I need in a partner.

At 24 I have days where I think the world is going to end because I am single (why, yes, I DO have a flair for the dramatic) and every one around me is coupling up, but those days are getting fewer and shorter the longer I am single. Slowly I am realizing that I am not living a sad life at all! I have the best family around, the funniest, loudest, craziest friends a girl could ask for, and on my lonely days, I realize that I am not bad company to keep! Each day I find myself looking over my shoulder to shrug off that painfully insecure girl who let a boy tell her how to think of herself, to say goodbye to the girl who "falls" for a guy just because he calls her beautiful, to better understand when  someone is more suitable as a friend than a great love, and to look, who I thought was my future, in the eye, and leave him in the past.

At 24, I can completely, well, almost completely, agree with my best girlfriends and momma when they tell me "You'll find someone when the time is right" because, you know what? They are right (see? I can admit when I am wrong) and they are the ones I should be listening to. . . they are the ones who know me the best and, through that, love me the deepest.

So here's the scoop, the 411, the situation. . . all those guys I dated, whether I want to remember them fondly or cast our relationship ashes to the wind, have shaped my heart, changed my mind, allowed me to see that everything they were not and could not be for me?  it's everything I want "him" to be.

My ex factor? Thank you, fellas. . . for being the wrong guy each and every time. . . Really, thank you.

-Stephi D.

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