Sometimes the best times are the times when you’re feeling blue.
Not to worry, this isn’t a sappy post, rather, more of a reflective one on the most positive relationships I’ve had lately.
They always say you meet someone when you least expect it, and in my experiences, it remains true. I met my ex my second week of college and I stuck with him for five long years. Let’s be real, I wanted to let my hair down and enjoy being single. For anyone who is about to go to college, I’ve got some advice for ya, DO NOT DATE THE FIRST YEAR!! Go out. Make mistakes. Make out with that dude who you know your dad would hate. (Sorry Dad. Don’t read this part.) Don’t lock yourself down. It’s not good for either of you.
After we broke up, I was in a sad place. I had to pick up all of what I had left of myself and try to get myself whole again. This spring, I had just lost my first job out of college and I was devastated. I felt I had completely failed. I actually did fail. I failed an insurance exam (I mean, no one thinks of me and says, “yeah, she’s insurance savvy,”) so it made sense. Nonetheless, I was broken.
I went to visit my friend in Los Angeles because I had already planned the trip and at the time, I needed a good pick me up. I couldn’t have asked for a better time to see her and her friends because they offered such a different an open perspective and it made me feel less crappy for everything.
This was in the middle of my fun Tinder phase where I would just take a look-see at what was there and say funny stuff. Most of the time, it was garbage and dudes were totally vulgar, but I guess that’s what you can expect on an app like that. The LA market was no exception. Sure, there were dudes who had some flare, something different than Iowa guys who showcased their trout or their dogs, but there was one in particular who stuck out.
He was holding a case of Yuengling, America’s first lager, and that was a giveaway that, one, he had good taste, and two, he was probably from the East Coast. I had Yuengling on a business trip out in Ohio and instantly fell in love with its crisp and smooth flavor. I could have drunk all the Yuengling in the state and would have been alright with my hangover because it is literally that good.
I started off the chat with “Yuengling for the win,” and he followed up with witty banter. We exchanged funny pleasantries and I told him I was visiting LA, but had been there a few times. We talked about normal things you talk about, like lox. It was cute. It was fun. It was whatever. He asked me if I wanted to meet up for a drink later and by this time I figured he wouldn’t wear my skin to a birthday party, so I told him where we were going. (It’s just the Iowa gal in me. You want my social security number? Well, okay.)
He said he’d meet up with us and I thought, “Meh, whatever. If he comes, he comes.” Well. He really ended up coming and I was not ready for it. I got nervous and ordered a shot and a beer. My friend asked me if I was buying a round and I winked at her, held up my shot and said, “Nope, these are for Mama.” And down the hatch it went. I was ready to meet this dude.
We started chatting and instantly, there were sparks. I knew I liked him from the second I saw him. I had this weird feeling in my stomach and I thought it was the Fireball, but the queasiness actually turned out to be butterflies.
I hadn’t felt like this in a long, long time. We talked for what seemed like hours and I said stupid stuff because I was nervous. I overshared, I smiled like an idiot and I didn’t care. I couldn’t believe I felt like this again and I wanted the weekend to last forever.
We spent a lot of time together and he showed me places in Los Angeles I had never been. We held hands and shared stories and kissed at every stoplight. We listened to Sublime and drove with the windows down. I was so happy. It was pure and honest happiness I hadn’t felt for so long.
It was my last morning there and Jenny and I were going out for a farewell brunch before she dropped me off at the airport. I filled her in on the details and couldn’t wipe the dumb smile off my face and I didn’t want to. I was texting him and I said, “I just can’t believe he likes me.” I honestly couldn’t believe it. I never wanted to leave.
Because LA is LA, my flight was delayed. I immediately text him and told him. We got to spend more time together and I went to his hockey game. I called my mom and told her about how happy I was.
On the way to the airport, I cried. He started telling me how lucky he was to have met me and how wonderful our time was together. I felt the lip quiver and my crocodile tears come down. I knew it had to make me look crazy, but I couldn’t keep it in. I was devastated to leave him. No one had treated me so nice since the good part of my relationship. No one had said the things he said and I knew he actually meant them. No one made me feel like that.
We said goodbye and I accepted his Facebook friend request. I sat on the plane next to a guy from Louisiana who said he had never flown before. I was tipsy (maybe I knocked down a few at the hockey game, but that’s neither here nor there) and I was still crying. I looked crazy.
Back in Des Moines, I was a texty-two-thumbs for months. All we did was call each other, text and Skype. I was still so happy to have him. We chatted until the wee hours of the morning. I’d smile when I’d look at my phone. I’d smile because he was sweet, because he was funny and because he made me happy.
This lasted for months. We talked about everything. We shared stories and jokes and “It’s not fair,” became a part of our everyday lingo.
It wasn’t fair that he lived so far. It wasn’t fair we met when we met and it wasn’t fair that I couldn’t just fly out to Los Angeles and leave everything behind.
Everything he said was positive. He never got mad at me (except that one time I had too much fun at a happy hour and said something stupid) and he never made me feel bad. He was the one constant happy I had in my life.
Well, the distance became more of a reality as time went on and I got restless. I got frustrated because our lives weren’t as flexible as we’d like them to be and couldn’t visit each other whenever we wanted. We both did our own things, but would still text each other like we always did. I’d ignore him on days when I’d get grumpy and feel bad about it, but I didn’t know what to do.
We stopped talking and he actually called me to break it off. I tried to act like I didn’t care and tried to laugh it off or put up a wall, but I actually cried on my way to and from work and cried in my room and even did the cry-in-the-shower-like-an-Usher-music-video-cry. You’ve done it. Don’t act like you haven’t.
A few months went by and we talked again. I needed support and wise words and I knew he’d have them. One text stemmed into more months of texting and we both knew what we were doing. It was hopeless but at the same time, nice. It was nice to have the support and friendship and the whatever-the-hell this was.
While this was going on, I was doing my own thing, as you know if you’ve read the blog. He knew too, because he encouraged me to blog. I went on dates, I talked to dudes, I was out and about. He was too. Only with chicks. Not dudes. Last week I shared that I had recently gone on a date with someone I’d been talking to for a while and he was really happy. He shared that he had gone on dates too and while in my head, I knew he dated, I didn’t want to hear it. I got down in the dumps and grumpy about it, even though I did the same thing.
Today we talked about how happy we were to have each other in our lives and how lucky we were to have met and only have the best things to say about each other. While we were texting these things, we both knew without saying that it’s probably best we just let go.
Not let go of everything or how we felt or the friendship or whatever it is we have, but just move on and let someone else in.
It’s time for both of us to really, truly give 100% to someone who can be there. We didn’t say it, but we both knew.
I’m forever happy for what I have with him. Maybe he’s the one who got away. Maybe one day we’ll be in the same zip code. Maybe we will both meet in some serendipitous moment and everything will fall together. But wherever life brings us, I hope it’s only positive. If there’s one thing I’ll take from this, it’s don’t go on Tinder in Los Angeles.
It’s that hope springs eternal. Find the positive in every relationship and find someone who can make you feel positive and whole. Find someone who, in your lowest time, reminds you that you have something to give and that you are so much more than whatever it is that brings you down. A friend who is positive and makes you feel happy is the best thing in the world. Keep them as a part of you, and keep the feeling they give you.
**Disclaimer** Tinder in Los Angeles is fun, but please be aware that they if a guy tells you you’re pretty, he’ll probably follow up with something so terrible, you will consider gouging out your eyeballs with a rusty spoon.