Just another story to learn from my mistakes…you’re welcome.
Recently, I started talking over champagne (where all good conversations start) with an old friend about a recent article about love that had gone wrong. My friend, who was around during “the *Ben era,” pondered our conversation and said, “What DID happen there? You guys definitely had a connection and you were crazy about him.”
With champagne thoughts and a heavy heart, I reminded her that he had met someone else around the same time and had chosen her. I forced myself to have a grown up moment and added that he seems really happy with his wife and I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. Then she said something that has had my head spinning for days… “Did you ever tell him how you felt?”
(Enter sound of car screeching to a halt!)
What was this logic she was bestowing on me? You mean I was actually supposed to tell him that I was crazy about him? That I had wanted him to stay? That I wanted to see if we could take this amazing connection and witty banter, that was so good that it could stop time, to the next level? That there were options and I was one of them?
I spent the next couple days in a Ben haze thinking back to this guy and our “thing” and all of the time that I spent feeling rejected and sad that he had chosen someone else over me. At the time I was devastated. I recovered by making the very mature decision to date a mutual friend while secretly pining for Ben the whole time. I rock, right?
Looking at it now, I have no idea how it would have turned out. Ben very well could have chosen his current adorable wife and things could have played out the exact same way EXCEPT I would know in my heart of hearts that I actually gave it a shot. Played the game instead of watching from the sidelines, a victim in this story I made up in my head about being dumped. I was never dumped….I never even let myself even be considered.
After further evaluation, I realized that this was a pattern for guys I really cared about. Whether it was guy friends that I had mad crushes on or guys I was kissing and actually wanted it to be more, I found it so much easier to just sit around and hope that they liked me. I was waiting for that romantic movie moment where they blurt out their feelings in a fumbling John Cusack-esque type of fashion, making sure to include an adorable listing of “all the things they loved about me” monologue being the perfect amount of qualities that make me feel smart, funny and pretty.
After years of waiting…it turns out that doesn’t really happen because usually they are just as nervous as I am about being vulnerable. They are just as scared of the rejection as I was and would eventually move on to a woman who made them feel good and could tell them what she wanted, instead of confusingly giving them the mixed signals of kissing them and then teasing them because I didn’t want them to think I liked them, if they didn’t like me. I am frustrated just thinking about it.
Even when I would get past this confusing phase of “I like you if you like me,” I would still not speak up in my relationships in a way to make them grow or move forward. I didn’t talk about what I really needed from them. I didn’t say, when something was not ok with me. I just hoped that my interesting placed silences would tell them everything. They didn’t.
Not until I was able to step back and do some of the hard work, choose an amazing guy who was able to care for me, slowly tear down my own wall and let him in, did things really change for me. It was me who wanted love but always kept them at a distance hoping they would magically read my mind and figure out what I needed. Guess what ladies? It took me awhile to realize it, but everything gets a lot easier when you tell them what you need and then allow them to actually give it to you. I know, genius.
Looking back, I realize that I never regret the boys that I told how I felt. Even if it blew up in my face and the end results were not what I was hoping for, eventually the embarrassment would pass and the knowledge of where I stood allowed me to move on to bigger and better things. So when I finally had someone in my life who was smart, funny and incredible, I vowed to never hold back those feelings again. Never leave him wondering how I felt, where he stood or how life changing he is in my life. Because something as beautiful as love should never be kept a secret.