There is always that one person in our past who we compare other people to – they may be the one that got away, or the back-up plan, or the ideal. But I think we always have a measuring stick. Mine is Tripp; as previously mentioned, we dated back in college, and it has actually been about ten years since we broke up. Our break-up was mildly melodramatic (on my part), we didn’t speak for about 18 months, and then we started the long road to friendship. We were friends for a while, then I dropped him like a bad habit, got married, and then when that fell apart, I came back seeking solace. And Tripp has always given that.
So, of course, what always happens is, he is so sweet and understanding and wonderful that I begin to think about what it would be like if we were back together. Let me clarify, we have not seen each other in over eight years, we live in different cities, and he has been back with his high school girlfriend for years. But still, it’s like a daydream. Even though I know it is totally unreal, and honestly, we are so different now, I would never go back to him… It’s still something that flows through my head on occasion.
We started speaking again in March, 2012, about a month after I told my (now) ex-husband that I wanted a divorce. Tripp was incredibly supportive not only of that, but also of the wonderful dating choices I made after that. We would email two or three times a month. Nothing major, just checking in. Then in December, we started texting, sometimes until 2 in the morning, and often for hours. So you can imagine my surprise when I received this (this is just an excerpt – he didn’t drop it on me this badly):
“and i got engaged on xmas eve. so that’s big news i think. good times.” (he also has no concept of punctuation or capitalization)
When I received this, we actually hadn’t talked for about three weeks. It was over the holidays, I was out of town; I just didn’t have anything to say. And this bauble came at the end of one of those “hey, what’s up? what’s happening?” emails. I think my mouth hung open for a full 30 seconds. Again, I want no part of him romantically, and the thought of marrying him literally makes me laugh out loud, but… He was like my life raft. Like if I never found anyone else, I could count on him to be there for me. And I realize that this in no way means that we can’t be friends. But you know how it is when your friend gets married – everything is about box stores, and kids, and familial get-togethers. And I doubt that an ex-girlfriend from college gets much time in that kind of scenario.
So – maybe this is the Universe’s way of saying that I don’t need a back-up plan or a life raft. Maybe this is clearing the decks for me to find someone better. Doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt a bit.