To The Man I Chose Over My Ex

Friends: The Complete Series
Friends: The Complete Series

We planned to meet in a dingy bar on Broadway Street in Nashville and to be honest, I considered ditching you. It was only about 11 PM and my ex had already texted me, asking me to leave the bars and come to his place. In that moment, I thought about it, I really did. I missed him and I wanted to be with him, but he just moved to Nashville and I knew it would never work. He wasn’t the type to put in the effort that a long-distance relationship requires and we both knew it was time for things to be over. But he had a way with me. To put it bluntly, I was like a cracked-out meth head when it came to him. It never mattered how pissed off I was, he always found his way back to me, smiling and pretending like nothing ever happened. He was like one of those damn pesky little Sour Patch Kids, first they do something really horrible, like set you on fire and laugh, and then they are cute and sweet and put you out with a fire extinguisher and give you a hug and a kiss. All it took was one look from his huge puppy dog eyes and a shit-eating grin that muttered in his thick Greek accent, “Pumpkinnnn… you know how much I love you.” Not this time though, decisions had to be made.

As I stood in the line of the bar I knew you were at, I chewed on the side of my cheek and weighed out my options: Meet someone new or go meet up with my ex and feel like I got hit with a train of regret the next morning. My friends were aware that my ex had texted me and they probably had money on me going to meet up with him. Before I decided to leave the tremendously long line into the bar, I checked my phone and you texted me, “When are we meeting up?” “Great,” I thought, “I’ll be the jerk of the century if I don’t meet up with this dude, and I’ve been stalling for like two hours now, so I better just bite the bullet, get over my fears, and at least meet him.” I walked into the bar and immediately saw you. The awkwardness of our first encounter with each other radiated so strongly from our bodies that I think everyone in the room sensed it, stared for a little bit, paused, and then proceeded to get drunk. You seemed nice and sweetly nervous to meet me. When we met, the first thing I thought was, “Now what? Now what do I do? I’m clearly awkward, and my facade of confidence is quickly crumbling.” My friends, who were acting as my support crutch, had ditched me and you were about to leave and go to a different place. You asked me to go with you and I almost said no. To be honest, I was terrified of what this night was going to turn into and anything out of my comfort zone gives me enough anxiety to paralyze my body. I was not even close to being drunk at this point, but I channeled my inner Drake and thought “#YOLO, fuck it, just do it, I made it this far.”

And buddy am I glad I did. I cannot thank you enough for being there that night. This night was a huge game changer for me, something that I didn’t even realize at the time. I loved how easily we talked, how we were very similar, but very different, how we were intrigued by each other. I liked spending time with you and I liked that I had fun and that I didn’t over think it. It didn’t feel like I was forced into having fun, which seemed like a new experience for me. That night I realized that this was a part of the whole process after you get your beating heart ripped out by someone that you loved. I could stay mad at my ex forever, I could bitch about him, I could dwell on what went wrong, or after the 809 month long grieving process, I could meet someone new and take a chance and see what happened.

What I learned that night is that moving on isn’t as scary as I thought it was. Meeting new people isn’t something to even be remotely afraid of. It is actually fun and it doesn’t make me a slut or a whore as my ex always used to tell me (classic line). It means that I made a choice to be happy, a choice to start over new with someone else because I wasn’t happy. It doesn’t mean that I never loved my ex, because I did… I don’t think any woman in the world will be able to put up with all of his shit and still love him as much as I did, well besides his mother. That night I realized… I’m fine. I’m not actually dying, and I’m gonna make it. In fact, I’m gonna more-than pull through, I’m going to live my life with a smile on my face without the help of Xanax, because life is just that good. Being away from him made me realize that he made me unhappy, he made me miserable, he made me loathe who I had become. I felt like a prisoner who had just been released from jail after serving 75 years in the slammer.

That night I ended everything with my ex and we have only briefly talked in a very casual manner. I have no desire to see him or start things over. I don’t miss him, I don’t think about him in the way I used to, and if he could be okay with me and prevent himself from calling me names and undermining me, I think we could actually act normal around each other. I’m extremely proud of him and all of his accomplishments because I was there with him when he was striving to be the person that he is today. I’m not mad or jealous that he has a new girlfriend, I’m actually really happy for him and I hope that he finds something in her that changes who he is and causes him to love her a lot more than he loved me, because she is in for one long miserable hell of a ride if he doesn’t. I would never wish that upon anyone. The truth of the matter is: I want him to be happy. We weren’t happy together, but there are other people out there that we can actually enjoy our lives with. There was no trust, too much anger, too much jealousy, too much possessiveness. I can’t be with someone like that. I’m an Aquarius.

I know if I would have picked my ex that night, I would have left his house sick to my stomach and yet again hating myself for going back. And I would have never met you. I’m so glad that I decided to meet you because I think you are amazing. I could rave about how much I like you, how awesome and talented I think you are, how incredibly attracted I am to you, how I secretly love that you are the biggest Auburn fan and you are tortuous to me about it (I went to the greatest university of all time for football, Alabama, therefore it is ingrained in every fiber of my being to hate Auburn), how you are supportive of what I do, and how I love that you are just as weird as me (maybe an “intsy” bit weirder). I could go on forever about it. I’m really sorry if it bothers you that I talk about my ex, he hurt me a lot and that is my way of telling you, “Hey, I’m kinda screwed up in the Trusting People and Being Open Department for a reason.” I can tell that you are very different from him and that kindness and understanding are innate characteristics of your personality, so you probably already get this about me. I love that you are a great communicator and you don’t let me shut down. All of this is new to me and even though I’m not sure if anything will come from this, I just want you to know that I greatly appreciate the person that you are and I thank you for being genuine with me (or Ginuwine). I thank you for helping me to realize that I have another chance at this whole thing, even if it isn’t with you, or even if it is, only time can tell that kind of stuff (with our schedules, it’s crazy). Regardless, a big change inside of me happened because I decided to meet you and I’m happier than I’ve been in a very long time because of it. I’m happier because I realized that there are wonderful people out there, and while my happiness doesn’t depend on any man, there are men that will bring joy into my life. All I’m certain of right now is that you bring a type of happiness that I want in my life and that’s the first time I can say that about someone in a very long time.

Humans crave to be loved and have someone to love, but sometimes our fear of what happened in the past prevents us from searching for love again. I love the innocence of falling in love with someone, how you look at that person differently than anyone else, how your life feels like bliss, how you feel safe and comforted by the fact that you have everything you ever wanted. I learned not to settle when it comes to love. I honestly believe you can’t just fall in love with random people. When you know you click with someone, you just know, and now I know what that feeling is like thanks to my ex. Love is a beautiful thing. It is also a terrifying thing. Yet, I still believe that being in love is something so amazing that it is worth taking the risk of getting your heart-broken again. TC Mark

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