Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Objects in the Rear View Mirror

I thought I loved him. I was excited. To meet his parents, to go shopping with his mom, to be immersed in the family activities. More acutely enjoyed, I expect, since my own family was so far away. It was nice, it felt real.
But there were problems, just like any relationship. There was the criticism for one. The constant comments about my diet, the nagging to eat better, the reminders to not order that second glass of wine, the disapproving looks if I were to partake in any form of carbohydrate. After all, HE was the professional athlete. He knew best.
Then came the fights. The temper. They were my fault, of course. Everything was always my fault. It was exhausting, living on the edge, not knowing what would set him off, doing my best not to make him mad. But these problems were, in my mind, no different from any other relationship. He told me he loved me, so he must. And when it ended after nine months, I was sad. And I was hurt when he told me the reason: because I wasn’t “motivated”. Because I wasn’t 12% body fat. Because I wasn't working hard enough to get there. Because I spent too much time with my friends.
I cried. I cried for not being enough. I cried for not trying harder. I cried for loneliness, for yet another failed relationship. For being 25 and still single! But alas, after the tears had stopped falling I did what so many women who have found themselves tossed and tumbled on the side of the relationship highway have done and will continue to do. I dusted myself off, touched up my makeup and moved on with life.
He wasn’t one of those ex’s with whom we stay in contact. A casual text, a brief phone call, a drunken hook up. No – this relationship was deader than a morgue resident with a toe tag accessory. Never to be heard from again. Fast forward 5 years to last month when eHarmony and their 27 degrees of crazy…er, compatibility – posted none other than Footballer up on my “New Matches” list! What’s more, he “requested communication”. I was confuse. Slightly amused. Contemplating only two possible scenarios for this sudden outreach from a man I now considered to be of little more significance than a well learned lesson in controlling relationship behavior.
Douchebag Scenario #1: He had no idea who I was. Didn’t remember us dating. Just saw the red hair (a weakness) and put no more thought into the communications request. This would just make him an idiot.
Douchebag Scenario #2: He knew exactly who I was. In which case he was playing a game. Instead of just sending me an email to say, “Hi, Scarlett, it’s been a long time, how are you? Etc. etc.” he’s playing a warped, immature game of “getting to know you”.
It turned out we had encountered Douchebag Scenario #2. I don’t know why I decided to meet him for lunch. Morbid curiosity, perhaps? He looked the same. Still cute. Still built. But he was flattering. He was amorous. Complimentary even. It was absolution, pure and simple.
If any bit of my psyche still remained scarred, if any shred of my self-esteem was still bruised, if there was any hint of uncertainty left over from the misfortune of dating a man who dumped me because of my weight…it was now vindicated and then some. Because, unlike the woman who dusted herself off, moved on and continued to excel at life, this man had definitely stalled along life’s highway and was forever staring into the rear view mirror.
Forced into the ranks of the NFL-injured, he had early retirement thrust upon him and had little to no desire to move forward. And after the waitress screwed up his lunch order, I realized, he was still the poster boy for anger management, entitlement issues. Still annoyingly particular about everything. Still the ever suffering hypochondriac. Still the “my way or the highway”, “take me or leave me”, “its obviously your problem and not mine”, “my mother thinks I’m perfect so everyone else should fall in line”, “by the way, let me tell you how to live YOUR life” touting prima donna has been that he was circa 2005!
The only thing different at that lunch table was me. Not a change in weight that tipped the scales, but a massive shift in both self confidence, self worth and self awareness that I found so dramatic.
Frankly, it was so incredibly satisfying.

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