Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dating and Courtship, Part I

Aside from my husband, I have been in three significant relationships. I guess four if you count the one with the guy I now refer to as "Creepy [Name]" but I prefer not to count a relationship that lasted about a month, was engendered mostly by boredom on my part, and ended because he was becoming abusive.

My first "true love" was in high school. He was a year older than I and we ran track together. I had a crush on him for most of my sophomore year. Towards the end of the school year, we went to an amusement park with friends and he asked me to be his girlfriend while riding the Ferris wheel. Can you get much more stereotypical high school romance than that? :-) Our first (and I think only) kiss was while watching a Veggie Tales movie with friends. We dated for about three months and then I didn't want to anymore. I still liked him, but I felt pressured by our peers to always know what he was doing, what he liked, how he felt about something. I didn't like the expectation by others that we would always spend our free time together. I wrestled with this (while he waited more patiently than any 17 year old guy should have to) and ultimately decided I wanted to break up. So we did. And within a couple weeks, I was very unhappy. We remained friends; in fact, he went with me to my junior prom. But he moved on and dated another girl and I... was just unhappy.

He came back to visit the team the following year, when I was a senior. I don't think we exchanged more than a polite hello. After that first visit, we barely had any contact with each other. Aside from letting him know his email had been hacked, we haven't communicated in years.

When spring comes, I often think of him and the fun we had with our team mates. Certain songs trigger memories of singing along on the bus or in the car. I remember getting lost on the way to the beach (which is a major accomplishment, considering we live on one of the Great Lakes). But all these memories are tinged with a bit of sadness because I don't know if he remembers, too.

I think it hurts because he meant so much to me and I don't know if it was mutual. Our friendship ended somewhat abruptly. Those who oppose dating would say that I gave a piece of my heart and never got it back again. To me, that makes me sound like a tragic heroine in some Harlequin romance novel. I don't think dating made me less able to love my husband, but it did leave me with some regrets. Does that make dating a bad thing?

More coming the rest of this week: dating in college, my courtship experience, and my concerns about both models.

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