Right there in the middle of Disney World, a family was walking towards me with A&M shirts on. I thought about stopping to say Howdy (that’s what we Aggies do), but just as I was about to, I did a double take. Is that my ex-boyfriend? My FIRST boyfriend? [GASP] That IS my ex-boyfriend!
That’s him in his crew cut, jacked biceps, and proud chin. And that’s the girl he dated after me — the one who gave him what he wanted (and what I wouldn’t), the one he married. And there are his two children–super cute kids.
I wanted to say howdy, but then where does that conversation go? Hi… I’m the girl you dated for two weeks freshman year, like 15 years ago. Remember? Oh, you don’t? Probably because it was just two weeks for you. But you know what it was for me? My first major rejection from a guy. My first heartbreak. My first time of wondering whether I should sacrifice my purity and my values for the affection of a man. Thankfully, you didn’t give me that choice…you coldly dumped me at a party before I could make that choice. But I always wondered if you would have loved me if I did give you what you wanted? Because I know your cute little wife there did…and you put a ring on her finger…after the fact.
How many times I’ve wondered what it would be like to see him again. And now here’s my chance! What would I say? What did I want him to know? That I was doing great, was (still) prettier than his wife, was successful, had cuter children than him? While all of that might be true, I know he’d never agree with me about my children being cuter… And what was the purpose of stating the obvious? Make him feel bad? I didn’t want that.
Did I want him to regret breaking up with me? Regret letting me go simply because I wouldn’t “go any further”? No, I didn’t want that. Regretting ending our relationship would simply mean problems in his marriage.
Did I want to re-connect, share a laugh, thank him for his military service, be “friends” on Facebook? No, I didn’t want that. I’m totally not interested in staying in touch with a guy I knew for a second 15ish years ago.
In fact, as I sat there watching him lift his little girl up to give her a piggy back ride, I realized that he wasn’t as bad of a guy as I’d let myself believe. While he wanted something I wouldn’t give, that’s pretty typical for 18 year old guys. So he went and got it somewhere else–predictable. But then he also married that girl–a girl he started dating freshman year of college (not typical). They’re still married (also not typical), and he has served our country for over a decade. All told, with the hindsight of 15 years, he seems like a pretty good guy who actually is prone to commitment and selflessness, rather than gigolo-ing self-centeredness like I thought.
So what do I really want for him? I want him and his family to be blessed. I want their marriage to be strong. For him to be safe when he’s deployed. I want his kids to have a great relationship with him. I want things to go well for them. And none of these things would be furthered by me stopping to talk to them here in the middle of their family vacation.
As I passed by in anonymity, I thought of Niki and smiled. How grateful I am that I was spared a relationship that would have cost me so much and instead given a husband who gives me so much.