Okay, he’s not really famous. He’s more of a D-list celebrity at this point. But when I have to see his face on TV when I’m trying to get my drink on at the bar, or when I’m reminded of his existence while dicking around on the internet, he feels very famous. Hey, any famous is more famous than I am.
We met at a bar my sophomore year of college. He was a freshman extremely eager to fill his Blackberry (this was the well-known, but hardly spoken of, Blackberry era) with girl’s phone numbers, and I had just watched one of my friends make out with the guy I had been hooking up with the previous semester, so I figured why the hell not. This night marked the commencement of three years of absolute nonsense.
First of all, it took about six months before the little snot asked me to be his girlfriend. I should have heeded this warning more than I did, but college relationships are generally stupid. I knew he had been talking to (I say “talking to,” but I really mean “banging”) other girls when we first started dating, but in my head we weren’t “official,” so he could do whatever he wanted. After finally growing what I thought at the time was a backbone, I told him to make an honest woman out of me or I was hittin’ the road. I don’t think I used that exact terminology. I did, however, scare him into a relationship with me. He was finally my boyfriend.
From then on we had what I would regard as a decent relationship. We did normal boyfriend-girlfriend things; movie and dinner dates, trips to visit each other’s families, even vacations to Disneyland. But then there were the not-so-normal boyfriend/girlfriend things.
Not-so-normal boyfriend things:
- Breaking up with me on two separate occasions to sleep with other girls
- Never complimenting me…literally EVER. I’m not even sure that he found me attractive
- Never speaking to my friends/roommates except for the odd “hello” when forced into a situation with them
- Never leaving my bedroom except to pee
- Giving me a curfew when I went out with my friends
Not-so-normal girlfriend things:
- Doing his homework so he didn’t fail out of school
- Doing his laundry
- Packing his bags when he went on trips
- Cooking everything for him while he watched tv/played video games
- Watching hours upon hours of said video games
I’m not even going to try to defend myself here because I know staying in a relationship like that was pathetic. Judge away, thought catalog world! I judge myself looking back. But I promise there were many things that kept me around. He was cute and funny and he cared about his family in a way that really got to me. He was awkward in a painfully adorable way, and was the most carefree person I had ever met. We balanced each other out.
I knew that when it really came down it, he didn’t treat me the way I deserved. I thought, as many girls think (and perhaps some are even right), that he was going to change—that he was going to grow up and become my knight in shining armor. Somehow in my microscopic world we lived happily ever after.
A huge part of our relationship was hockey—he played for the school we went to. I spent countless hours sitting with him in silence when he had a bad game. I talked to him when he felt like he wanted to give up. I dealt with game day rituals and superstitions. I went to every game I could. I supported him with everything I had because I knew it made him happy. I supported him even though he never supported me.
Fast forward to graduation. I moved back in with my mom and he was still unsure of where he would be playing hockey, but he asked me to wait for him. He asked me to wait to get a job so that I could move in with him wherever he went. (As you can probably tell from the pattern developing here, I listened to him.)
Being apart for this period gave me a lot of time to think. I asked him who my friends were going to be if I followed him around for the rest of our lives.
“I don’t know…the other hockey girlfriends and wives.”
Wait. What? What did you just say? Did you just call me a “hockey girlfriend”? What the fuck is a hockey girlfriend?
I realized that at this rate, that was what I was going to be for the rest of my sad little life. A hockey something—a hockey girlfriend, and then a hockey wife, and then a hockey mom. I pictured my gravestone with my date of birth and my date of death separated by a hockey stick.
I finally asked him for some space, but he didn’t want to give me it. He told me that if I wasn’t 100% sure that I wanted to be with him, then he didn’t want to be with me. But I wasn’t 100% sure, and so he broke up with me. (Please keep in mind the several occasions in which he explicitly expressed his uncertainty in our relationship over the past three years.)
Being broken up with fucking sucks. I truly believed that my life was over. I thought I was never going to get back the pieces of my being that I had sewed into him while simultaneously realizing that he had never really sewed any of his being into me. He didn’t seem sad, certainly not as sad as I was. I felt like such a throw away. I quickly realized that I felt like a throw away because I had acted like one.
Within a month of breaking up he was playing in the NHL. Everything I had helped him through, all of the sacrifices I made and support I gave finally had helped to add up to a successful career—a successful career which I was going to have no part of. I know that I wasn’t the one training every day or working relentlessly to prove myself in a sport I wanted to play professionally, but I’d like to think I made it at least a little bit easier for him. I was never with him for the money (obviously because there was none when I was with him), but I couldn’t help but feel a bit cheated.
Trying to get over someone when you’ve just moved away from all your friends, you hate your job, and you’re in the awkward stage in between graduation and a career, is hard. Trying to get over someone who became wildly successful right after breaking up with you is really fucking hard.
Every once in a while, usually when I’m having a particularly good day (as if he has a radar on it), he calls me. He calls to vent about how lonely it is—how he doesn’t have any friends and nobody to talk to. He only calls when he feels empty. He doesn’t call when he’s feeling on top—I assume he has other girls for that now.
I’m not angry that he’s making hundreds of thousands of dollars and I’m struggling with my student loan debt. Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning, but at least he’s not holding my head under the water anymore.
I know that in an alternate universe we could have coexisted. He would have supported me as much as I supported him. I never would have forgotten who I was for him. But in this universe it didn’t work. In this universe I am left to pick up the pieces of the person who lost themselves in a relationship and glue them back together with the lessons I’ve learned.
Last night his team lost in the playoffs and now his season is over. It’s 9am and my phone is ringing. I guess it’s easy to forget the little people until you feel like one again.