Lately, I've been getting a lot of questions about whether or not I'm dating anyone, or if I'm still dating "that one guy" (which has been used in reference to both the man I stopped dating about a month ago, and the other fellow I stopped dating over a year ago), or simply condolences that things didn't work out with some relationship or another. These questions and condolences are often coupled with the idea that I'll "find the right guy soon," or "I met my husband right after a break-up," or that "if it isn't right, it isn't right." And while I don't disagree with any of those statements, I also feel that these relationships and subsequent breakups, as painful and at times devastating as they've been, haven't been nearly the tragedy or waste of time that these condolences imply.
I have this tendency (and I've noticed it in others as wel) to think of dating in terms of the end-goal: marriage. That bwessed awwangement...that dweam within a dweam...The only problem with this kind of thinking, is that if a relationship happens to not end in marriage, it was a complete waste of time. Not only does that make starting any new relationship one hundred percent terrifying, it can make looking back at old relationships downright depressing. I mean, about half of my four years in college have been spent in exclusive (or at least semi-exclusive) romantic relationships. And yet here I am, as single as the Pope. Does that really mean that those two years of my life were one hundred percent a waste?
I don't think so. In fact, I think I've gained (and continue to gain) more from my exes than from almost any other group of people in my life. So I want to take this quick opportunity to thank these guys for being in my life (I know at least two of them are in my "readership," and the other two might be as well.)
Jeff: Thanks for being my best friend freshman year. Thanks for being somebody I could always talk to, for staying up late driving around Provo with me, for sharing inside jokes with me, and for always making me smile. Thanks for the red baseball cap. Thanks for taking me to hit balls over the gorge (I still have the golf ball from that day). Thank you for the mix CD you made me on my 16th birthday, and for teaching me how to cuddle. And thanks for inviting me to free pie the other night and for giving me a ride home. I love ya, buddy. Let's go snowboarding sometime soon, k?
Brenton: Thank you for that time we walked around Provo until 4 am. Thank you for trusting me and teaching me how to trust you. Thank you for teaching me guitar and for helping me conquer my fears of both kissing and ducks (not at the same time, thankfully). Thank you for introducing me to Broken Social Scene, Interpol, Sigur Ros, and Arcade Fire, and for overall helping my musical taste to mature (I haven't been able to even get near a Rascal Flatts album since dating you). Thank you for Zak, my stuffed giraffe. I found him the other day and he's now sitting on a shelf in my room. And thanks for being an awesome email pen-pal over the past couple years and swapping music links with me (which reminds me, I've found a couple of bands that I think you'll love. I'll have to email them to you soon).
Mike: Thank you for all of the times you listened to me cry and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for being patient with me. Thanks for inspiring in me a love for other languages and cultures, and encouraging me to travel. Thank you for the many political/philosophical discussions, for the adventures in the mountains, and for safely driving us through that storm a couple of Thanksgivings ago. Thank you for not being visibly weirded out when I kind of chased you down on campus the day after we broke up, and for continuing to be my friend despite the initial strangeness of it all. I think you are fantastic, and also that you have one of my favorite blogs in existence. (Also, thank you for introducing me to Firefly. I think its safe to say that I'm borderline obsessed with it now).
Andy: Thank you for taking me on adventures: slacklining, rock climbing, doubling with a gay couple and exploring Lake Powell. Thanks for indulging (and fueling) my obsession with used bookstores and introducing me to the wonders of Bollywood. Thank you for being open with your thoughts, opinions and philosophies, even when they were perhaps different from the norm. And thank you for listening as I sorted out my own thoughts and opinions. Thanks for giving me one of the best birthdays I've ever had, and for sharing your amazing family with me. And thank you for your friendship this past month, even when it felt like we were on an awkward "second first date," and when we weren't sure how friendship was going to work. You're one of my favorite people to talk to, and I'm glad that can still happen.
In short: yes, I've been in relationships that haven't ended in marriage. But in the end, just the fact that I got to meet these guys, to spend time with them and learn from them, feels like a net gain on my part. So...thank you, guys. For being good boyfriends, pseudo-boyfriends, and just....really great friends.