Somebody once told me that relationships were hard. I don’t remember who the initial person to drop that bombshell on me was, but I’ve heard it regurgitated time and time again. Relationships are hard. They are work. You will hate each other at times.
Great. That sounds just great.
Before Mike, I had never actually even made it to a full consecutive year with one person. The closest was probably a guy named Steve, who I dated for 11 months, he ripped my heart out (and I locked myself in my bedroom for two weeks straight), and then we got back together for about half a year or so. (And to be honest, we would have meandering little hook-ups for years after that. You know the kind where you were finally both 21 and would see each other at the bar and that was that. The drunken, sweaty loins of an ex have cured many a night of loneliness.)
I can’t really say much bad about Steve, nor do I want to. He was funny, cute, had a big.. ahem, and I loved the guy. Truly, honestly loved him. When he broke up with me the first time he was just doing what he thought he had to, and he was right, even though at the time I thought he was the most evil person in the world. The day he drove up to my mom’s house with a letter begging me to reconcile and get back with him was in my eyes at the time, the greatest day ever, and like any lovesick 19 year old, I was beside myself with happiness and this overwhelming feeling of “meant-to-be” and fate. The second break-up would prove to be amicable and more of a “oh, this is what people were warning me about.” I still see Steve out and about every once and a while. If I see him at the bar, he usually buys me a drink on his tab, which I don’t find out about until he has left and the bartender alerts me. We generally stop and talk for a bit. There are no hard feelings involved. (I think the emotional stability of any person who holds onto hard feelings from a relationship that began a decade prior should be checked.) I’ve happily moved on with school and a slew of boys. He’s happily moved on with a nice, young lady and a bouncing baby boy.
That’s not to say, that up until Mike, I didn’t compare every man I dated to Steve. I believe for the most part every person has someone that they compare all others to, and for a long time, Steve was my comparison. He was also the reason that I was sure I did not need a relationship. Relationships hurt. Relationships were work.
As I’ve said many time before, and can find no reason to harp on all of them again, I had blindly stumbled through a bunch of mistakes up until Mike entered. Each one ending for their own reasons and each one teaching me a lesson that I would unknowingly take with me into my relationship with Mike.
When I first met Mike, he was actually in a relationship with some other chick. As one of the lessons I had learned was that philandering behind a lady’s back, usually ends with a gun pointed in your face, I had no intention of making a move, but that didn’t change the fact that I thought he was adorable. Have no fear though; someone else would swoop in, do all the dirty work, and break them up for me. I still had no indication to think that Mike and I would ever be. The person that broke up his dying relationship was a friend of mine. This friend however, was the kind of girl much like me, that didn’t keep interest in a dude for very long, and would eventually blow him off, all while creating one of the most ridiculous girl vs. girl over a dude battles I have seen in the whole of my life. (The ex of Mike would post stickers that she had taken the time to create all over southern Vermont insulting my friend, smear her at any chance she got, and just exhibit one of the overall most emotionally unstable examples of ‘I’m hurt’ ever seen.)
Regardless of the craziness that surrounded the three of them and their domestic issues, I really had no intention of trying to get with Mike. I had no intention of getting with anyone. I would see Mike out and we’d talk, but that was about it. Hey, how ya doing type shit.
It wouldn’t be until one night when I had decided to stay in that things would change.
Text from Kyle: Dude. Why are you at home? Mike keeps asking about you. COME HAVE A BEER AND GET LAID!!!!
My response: Dude. I’m in my pj’s watching baseball. I have no interest in coming out.
Text from Kyle: Dude. He keeps talking about you. He totally wants to f in the a!!!
My response: Dude. He’ll have to wait. I’m comfortable and not going anywhere.
Text from Kyle: Dude. I’m giving him your phone number.
And… she did. She also gave him a six pack of mine and instructed him that he had to deliver it to me. My phone rang an hour later, it was Mike, and he informed me that he had a delivery. I rolled my eyes, both praising and cursing Kyle at the same time.
Mike showed up that night. I had decided not to change out of my pajamas. He handed me my six pack. We talked a bit. We hugged. He left. It was nothing out of the ordinary.
He called me the next night. We talked until 3 in the morning.
He called the next night. He asked me out. I stopped in my tracks.
I hadn’t really thought this far ahead, but there was an issue. My friend, the one who had broken him up from his crazy ex, popped into my mind. Although their relationship had been fleeting, and she had blown him off entirely, I still felt I had to mention it to her before I started anything with this guy. So I asked her, and whether she cared or not, she said she didn’t.
All systems go.
The rest is sort of history at this point. Mike taught me a lot about how a decent guy treated a girl. No man has ever taken care of me the way Mike has. No man has ever let me be myself the way that Mike has. No man has accepted me so entirely the way that Mike has. No man has ever helped me make so many positive changes in my life the way that Mike has. He’s the type of guy that makes dinner every night. He’s the type of guy that will massage my back any time I ask… even if it’s 15 minutes after the last time. He’s the type of guy who has never told me I had to quit something or change something. He’s a really good guy.
At the same time, no man has taught me how much work a relationship can be as much as Mike has. The past year of our relationship has been the two of us struggling to stay together; sometimes succeeding, sometimes failing. We’ve broken up countless times, only to get back together to break up again. I would assume that my friends’ heads are spinning at this point. It’s a tiring process, as most work can be, and last night solidified the inevitable.
I moved out.
It was a shot-gun sort of move. Mike crossed a line, as many a frustrated lover has, and within 24 hours, all of my things were packed and moved into a friend’s spare room.
Relationships are work. Somebody once told me that. I just didn’t get it. Mainly because, I went into this job under experienced and I don’t know how to fix the problems that keep popping up…
So we’re clocking out. One thing’s for certain though. Steve is no longer the guy I will compare every new dude to. It’s now Mike and those are going to be some seriously difficult shoes to fill.