Looking Back On...My Girlfriends

If you follow this blog closely (and if you do, get some help!), you may have noticed that I have a "running series" called "Looking Back On..." (that sounds like a soap opera). The first one dealt with my hair, and the second one focused on my guitars. This installment will go through the relationships I've had in my life. Being a father I'm eventually going to have to help Hayden out with the joys of dating, so this post is a good way to help sort out the "joys" I've had in dating.

I used to think that I never dated a lot. Actually, when I sat down and thought about it, I counted 12 people that I've dated, which I define as going out to dinner and/or a movie at least one. In other words there was some kind of attempt to get to know one another without any other friends around. Of those 12, I was "serious" with 6 of them, meaning that we started dating exclusively. Here's how they went.

Gretchen I was a sophomore in high school when I dated her...for all of a month's time. There really isn't much to say about this, other than she was the first person I really dated. I took it way too seriously and I shouldn't have, because, hell, I was 15! I was moody and depressed when she broke up with me for no good reason, but, again, it was my first relationship, and weren't people supposed to be sad when they got their heart broke? I don't know what happened to her, and if she was sitting in front of me right now I wouldn't know it. Frankly, I can barely remember anything about her other than her name.

Dawn I dated her for 2 years during my last year of high school and my first year of college. It was a typical high school relationship, but given the length of it, it was pretty serious. Unfortunately this was during my Christianity phase and we both dealt with (as "The Simpsons" so eloquently put it) "throbbing, biological urges" in the dumbest of ways - we felt guilty about it. If there's something I want to teach Hayden about sex, it's this: Use protection, good judgement and common-sense, but don't feel guilty about it. That's insane. It's part of being human - be smart about it, but don't deny it either. I was also a moody guy during this time and I'm sure she hated being with me during my moodiness. All in all, from what I remember about Dawn is that she was nice, but I doubt I'd be able to pick her out of a crowd. I haven't seen or spoken to her in nearly 15 years.

Tammy I dated her off and on during my college years a couple of times. As a friend, I really liked being around her. But when we would try to date, it never worked out. She didn't have a great childhood so she was fairly tough at times, but I liked being around her. It just never worked out. I haven't seen her in nearly 11 years.

Marlo Talk about a train at the end of a tunnel. We dated for 3 years when I was in college - in fact, we got engaged when I got my bachelor's degree. We got along really well and we had shared interests. We were making wedding plans and whatnot (it was going to be a long engagement because we both had to get through graduate programs) ...and then 2 weeks before the winter holidays of 1994, she drops a bomb on me. Not only did she have doubts about us, but...she also found someone else that she knew was her "soulmate" (who she ended up marrying). Looking back on the whole thing, I knew something was up before she told me because she just wasn't acting like herself, but I never figured it out. Needless to say, this devastated me for a long time, and I also handled it extremely poorly. If something hurts, well, it hurts and you have to get through it, but I chose not to get through it and move on, so I let it wreck me for just over a year. That's one year I'd like to get back out of my life :). I haven't talked to her in over 10 years, and out of anyone I ever dated, I'd like to keep it that way. I'm don't have any feelings of ill will towards her anymore; I just don't ever want to see her again!

Becky I actually met her through my sister when I was 16, and when Marlo broke it off we dated for a couple of months. That was dumb, not because of Becky (she's a nice person), but because I was in no shape to date anyone. Needless to say, it didn't work out, but through our relationship she got to be friends with a guy I knew in graduate school (Rich) and they ended up getting married, and I'm happy for both of them. Even though Becky and I didn't work out, at least I feel good that they met each other through me. We still keep in touch.

There's more details I could get into about each person, but the key piece of advice I can distill from these relationships is this: Be happy with yourself first. Being in a relationship is risky. You're letting someone get to know you, and you have to be content with who you are to do this. Otherwise, if the relationship falls through, the damage can be unnecessarily severe.

Of course, the last one on the list is Liz :). The one key difference I see with her out of anyone else I was involved with is that she is my best friend. It's so natural to be around her and with her - I don't even think about it. There may be other people in the world I could be in a long-term relationship with, but I already found one, and I don't need or want anyone else :).

Tune in next time for a look back on...um, I don't know yet. As soon as I figure something out I'll post it!

* Posted at 06.15.2006 11:08:53 AM CST | Link *

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