“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.” Mr. Charles Dickens created some very poignant words about the French Revolution and those very words can be applied to relationships.
There have been two important relationships in my life and both men ironically have the same name: Ted. What are the odds…
Back in 2005, I met Ted 1. He was my first college boyfriend and my 2nd love after my high school boyfriend (but don’t we all fall in love at least once in high school?). We were made of the same stuff that all college couples are: both in the Greek system, met via friends, first drunken makeout took place in the 9-0 (don’t know it? Just ask a USC graduate), and we were blissfully happy to always have dates in each other to take to fraternity and sorority invites. In fact, the first time we said “I love you” to each other was during his fraternity weekend formal in Catalina Island, when we were drunkenly screaming and fighting on some Avalon street (sorry neighbors!) about who knows what and one of us said “I’m so angry! But I love you!” and someone responded, “Well…I love you too!”. Poof we made up!
We fell apart as most college couples do. We wound up in different cities after graduation, did the long distance thing for too long, and eventually I had to put an end to it. I realized he was not the man I was meant to be with and prolonging the inevitable any further was too harsh for both of us. It was a hard break-up, unfortunately done over the phone since neither of us had any money to visit each other (it was the summer of 2008 — the recession was just getting started!). Needless to say, I was pretty wrecked for a long time following the end of a 3-year relationship, leading to much drinking in Pacific Beach and drunken encounters such as the Fake Australian Incident.
I dated a few other men after Ted 1, but mainly focused on my kicking butt on my first major, full-time marketing job. It was the Great Recession after all and I felt lucky to have a paycheck with benefits. Unfortunately, after about 2 years, I was starting to realize just how miserable that job was making me.
So that brings us to Spring 2010. When I met Ted 2.
Ted 2 and I met in a magical bar called Jimmy O’s (of Del Mar, California). I was out because it was Friday night and he was out because he was out celebrating his acceptance to law school in far away Ohio. I was pretty tipsy when I met him but I remember a cute blond guy making me laugh hard. We had our first date a week later and I was smitten.
The 3 months I spent with Ted 2 were to this day the happiest amount of time I spent with any man in the last 5 years. I can’t call it a fling because we both fell too hard too fast despite our best mental intentions to keep it casual. During those 3 months, Ted 2 got accepted to the University of Arkansas Law School with a full scholarship. It was an offer that he couldn’t refuse. And so we said a terrible good-bye in early July 2010.
I made a lot of mistakes with Ted 2. I’ve learned now to avoid men that are knowingly leaving the city you live in (a tactic that played out well with a certain male friend with benefits a few years later). I’ve learned to put up a lot of barriers to not get too close to any man too fast. Yes, this tactic might be biting me in the ass now, but at least I’m not the devastated girl I was 3 years ago.
I also have the gift of retrospect 3 years later.
The thing that I know now is that I was so unbelievably miserable at my job in mid-2010 (and it didn’t help that I was financially unstable enough that I was still living with my parents) that I latched onto to the one thing that made me happy – which was a man. It also didn’t help that many of my close friends at the time had boyfriends, so I was ecstatic to (sort of) jump on the relationship bandwagon. I was part of a couple for the first time in years! I had a standing date to bring to parties! I didn’t have to sit home alone on Saturday night while everyone else had date night!
Ted 2 was a man that made me laugh but it’s also likely that in my unhappy state, I fabricated him into a much bigger being than he actually was and I latched unto a feeling, not a person.
Plus, he was a man who voluntarily left me (and San Diego) for the state of Arkansas. Ew.
Moving forward, I’ll reference them as T1 and T2. Yes, just like the Terminators, they did a nasty job of breaking me apart.
Suffice it to say, whenever I meet a Ted in a bar, I run far, far away.