I was in a relationship for close to 7 years with a man who didn't want to commit. He rarely said "I love you," and was never romantic. If he wanted sex, instead of kissing me, he commonly tickled me. One Valentine's Day, I asked for something shiny and expensive (alluding to an engagement ring). He bought me a gun. He may have lacked passion, but I loved him anyway; his low level of romance became the norm for me. I knew what to expect and there was comfort in that. The only problem was I wanted marriage and kids and he didn't. This led to our eventual break-up.
After my ex and I split, I wasn't looking for anyone in particular. I had a lot of personal stuff I wanted to work on. For one thing, I walked away from my ex and my social circle, and I wanted to make new friends. After almost 7 years together, I had a lot of habits I wanted to change to help me move on and find Mr. Right.
I was almost 32-years old, and I was ready to settle down and have a family. With my biological clock ticking, I didn't want to spend another 7 years on another man who would never marry me or give me the family I craved. I decided I would spend a year getting myself in order and making a "shopping" list of the traits I was looking for in the next guy.
The funny thing is, after moving on and making new friends, I met someone else about two months after my break up. This guy HAD IT ALL. He was 36, handsome, successful, intelligent, spoke four languages fluently (including French), was into rock climbing, photography, and playing the drums. But even more importantly, he was kind, generous, a wonderful conversationalist, and he was looking for a woman who would one day be his wife and the mother of his kids. My family and friends adored him.
I hit the jackpot of men.
The only problem was, barely two months single, I wasn't exactly over my ex. Oh, I knew we were never going to get back together. Even if I had the opportunity to get back together with him I knew it wouldn't be good for us. For one thing, the only way we could have ever worked it out was if one of us compromised on marriage and kids. I didn't want anyone to have to compromise on something so large. It would have been far better for both of us to find two new people who wanted the same thing as us. So no, I knew my ex and I were over; I just wasn't over him.
What I still missed were the little things. I found myself comparing my new boyfriend to the old one in every way. It was completely unfair, but I couldn't stop doing it. The new boyfriend liked rock climbing, the old one shot guns. The new boyfriend ate vegetables, the old one didn't.
The new boyfriend kissed me and told me he loved me every time he left the house; the old one only said he loved me in response to me saying it first. The new boyfriend told me he wanted us to meet each other's parents; the old one only met my parents when they showed up unexpectedly one day. The new boyfriend told me I was The One; the old boyfriend told me he didn't like talking about those kinds of things.
Whenever I logically sat down and thought things through, I knew the new boyfriend was a gift from some higher being that decided for whatever reason to smile down on me. He was perfect in every way. He was the man I never thought I could get, let alone existed in the first place. So why the nagging sense of doubt and worry?
I began to worry about the strangest things. Maybe he was faking it. Maybe he didn't really love me. Maybe we wouldn't marry at all and this was one great big joke for him like in those teen movies where the popular guy goes after the poor, frumpy girl, only to break her heart and dump her in front of the whole school. My fears had become so irrational that at one point I began to seriously entertain the notion that my new boyfriend was really just a serial killer in disguise.
Half laughing, I eventually told him I feared he was planning on chopping my roommate and me into little bits one night. He took it very seriously. He didn't like being accused of planning a double homicide and asked me why I felt that way. I had no answer. I just couldn't explain it. The only thing I could think of was that he seemed to love me too much. He was too passionate. He kissed me too often. He brought me flowers, encouraged me in my profession, and genuinely seemed to care about my dad's ailing health.
He befriended my brother, chatted with my girlfriends, and petted my dog. He called when he said he would and was never late to dinner. It was all too much, therefore it must be some kind of overcompensation to conceal a wicked scheme.
The more I thought about it, the more I came to know it wasn't him, but rather me. The lack of affection, commitment, and romance from my last boyfriend had become the norm. Anything more than what my ex gave me seemed excessive in comparison. The funny thing was, the things I hated about my last relationship had become what I desired in the new one. How had this happened? Was it because I hadn't had the appropriate amount of grieving time? Should I have let my dream man walk when I met him because I needed more time to get over my ex? More importantly, I found myself wishing and hoping for a quick cure to move on from the past.
Logically, I know no such thing exists. The worst part of all is that I'm fully aware I'm not being fair to the new boyfriend. He deserves and can do much, much better than me. Should I break up with him so that he kind find a woman who won't accuse him of plotting mass murder for bringing her flowers? Or should I find some way I can grieve my last relationship privately so that in due time I will move on and be able to fully integrate into the new relationship?