For the last few months, I've wished I had a time machine. I wouldn't want to go back too far - 10 years outta do it. I would love to go back to the year 2000. That was the year the X-Factor and I went on a "break." He wasn't sure if I could fulfill his needs. He thought our differences might get in the way of us enjoying a lifetime together. He also knew I was a monogamous kind of girl and he wanted to play the field - "sow" his oats (as he put it).
That was in August of 2000. We had tentative plans to meet again 3 months later to see how we felt. One month was enough for me.
I questioned myself. Couldn't I try harder? Couldn't I be more of the type of girlfriend he wanted? So, I asked him out on a date in October. We went back and forth until December, when I demanded that he make a decision between me and another girl he was seeing.
He chose me.
If I could go back 10 years, I would go back to that break period - I would have dated more people. I would have gone out more with my friends and family. And maybe, just maybe, I would have been better off if he had decided three months down the road to stay with Allyson.
See, I think I wasted the next 8 years holding on to someone who wasn't right for me. That point really hit home last night when I was reading "Mars and Venus on a Date." I don't even know why I bought it, really - it was at the Goodwill store and seemed like a bargain for $1.99. In the first chapter, John Gray said, "Sometimes love is not enough."
Yes, it's an old saying. He's definitely not the person to coin the phrase. However, he clarified it by going further, deeper. He said, and I paraphrase, that one of the biggest mistakes men and women make in a relationship is that, after falling in love, they don't acknowledge that sometimes love isn't enough. They don't want to admit that, even though they may love each other, they are not right for each other. That they won't be able to build a future together.
I know this was my mistake.
See, I remember the X-Factor saying this often - that love was not enough. And I acknowledged he was right, but then added my own justifications and protestations: We had what it takes. We were working through our problems - we would get there. And the worst one of all: I could change.
The truth is, I couldn't. I mean, I did all that I could. And I know I changed some - but never enough for him. And I hate to say it, but I don't know that I have a right to be angry with him about that. Oh I definitely have a right to be angry at him for other things - for lies. For the way he strung me along. But the other? Yes, that was my own doing.
In thinking about this further today, I realized that part of the reason I hung in there was because I am more of a romantic than I ever thought I was. I always poo-poo the notion of romance. I'm a realist. I know that romance dies slowly after the honeymoon stage. It kind of peters out slowly... and then before you know it, it's gone.
And yes, while that may be true about romantic gestures and words, the truth is that I had this idea that, even though I KNEW love might not be enough, that it actually was enough. I can't believe I fooled myself in that regard. And I know some if this isn't as simple as I make it out to be - I made allowances because of his disability, of his actual inability to understand someone else's feelings. But still... I thought that love could see us through his disability.
I realize that his current girlfriend is probably a better fit for him. Another book I got from the Goodwill is "Why Men Marry Some Women and not Others." (I know! What's wrong with me? I guess I can't pass up a book bargain - even if it is a relationship book.) The author states that men marry women who push/guide the relationship towards marriage. Women who press for a commitment. Sure, they might not marry every woman who pushes - but it's the pushing that forces them to evaluate the partner and decide if they want to go further or not.
I never pushed.
Should I have? I wonder. I remember a time after our engagement - I wanted an October wedding, and every time I brought it up, he would panic. So, I stopped bringing it up. I told him he could have time to process and decide. Wrong choice to give a procrastinator. He never decided or made a choice.
And so our relationship lasted almost a full eleven years. I would say anything past the first two years was a mistake. The break we took in 2000 should have been the breaking point. I never should have moved to Nevada to follow him, especially without a wedding date in place.
But I did.
Is my life better because of it? In some ways it is. My spiritual journey really took an intense and interesting turn when I got here. But in other ways, this move has been one of the worst things I ever did in my life. I had my own home in California. And savings. I lost both in the move - the home, and the savings when I couldn't get a job in Nevada.
Do I regret what I did?
It's difficult to say yes. It's difficult because I have better friends here than I had in California. I have more learning opportunities when it comes to spiritual things. And I can finally have what I always wanted: straight hair. The dry air here allows me to straighten my hair and keep it that way, without worrying about frizzies or unexpected curls.
Yes, that's a silly reason to like it here. I know - but for my hair, it's a dream come true.
The thing is, there's another saying that holds true: Don't cry over spilt milk. I did what I did, and it kind of doesn't matter - it's done and over with, now I have to deal with it.
"When life deals you lemons, make lemonade." And I guess I have - against all odds (my shyness, the transient nature of the Reno/Sparks area), I have made a life for myself here. I have some wonderful friends. An active women's group. A home I enjoy.
If there really was such a thing as a time machine would I get in it, knowing what I know now? Surrounded by this life I carved for myself? The answer is yes, but in all honesty I'm glad there isn't such an easy fix available. It's kind of fun to make lemonade.