Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mistakes I've Made

Although I'd like to think I'm perfect, let's get real.

Just 98% of me is.

But seriously, I've noticed how quick I am to point out the faults of other people, particularly the guys I've dated, without even touching on my own imperfections. No failed relationship is solely the fault of one party, so I've been thinking about my role in all of my relationships.

First off, I know that I can come on too strong when I'm really into someone. How can you blame me? I'm a former valedictorian who graduated college a year early. When I wanted to make varsity cheerleading in high school without ever having done it, I did it. When I wanted to play fast-pitch softball even though I'd never even attempted hitting a ball, I made it happen. I'm a go-getter, so why wouldn't I treat dating in the same ambitious manner?

Here's why: guys are bachelors and not bachelor's degrees. They are people, and all of those accomplishments I sought after so fervently in my life were clear attainable goals that didn't rely on the complicated emotions of another person.

Case in point: I failed miserably in keeping my high school boyfriend interested in me despite my unnerving attempts at mind games, manipulation, lies and bribery. I think I got the hint that my perseverance wasn't working right about the time he took a new chick's virginity in the back of his truck.

Creepy, immature girlfriend tactics aside, I think the lesson there is that you can't make someone stay with you or love you. There's nothing you can say or do that will just magically make it happen. It's all up to timing, chance, readiness and willingness (and there's no way in hell I'll use the word "fate" here - that's just Nicholas Sparks bullshit).

My next fault - not coming on strong enough.

Yes, this is a contradiction to my first point, but this really applies more to my recent years in the dating world.

In years past, I've struggled at playing it cool, but I definitely succeeded at it for the better part of a year when I dated the ex. I held back everything. In the beginning, I thought this was best because it meant I was giving him his space and letting him fall in love with me naturally. But what it really meant was that I had a year's worth of feelings bottled up. That was a lot to carry around.

I remember the exact day and moment when I realized I wanted to tell him I loved him. It was insignificant, really. I hadn't been able to sleep because of loud roommates, and I called him upset. He invited me over, and when I got there, he had a pair of his pajamas laid out for me to sleep in.

After we broke up, I though not telling him how I felt meant that I'd won - like I hadn't given him the satisfaction of having my heart.

But now I regret not telling him - not because I think it would have made a difference in how he felt about me, but because it shows a lack of courage on my part.

Dating is not just finding someone with all of the things you want in a partner - it's also discovering what you want for yourself. And for me, I want to be the kind of girlfriend/fiancee/wife who opens her heart completely without fear. I think when I meet the right one (not to be confused with "The One" - again, that's some Nicholas Sparks bullshit), it'll happen. I want to fall in love wholeheartedly. I think Carrie Bradshaw said it best in the last episode of "Sex & the City":

“I'm looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can't-live-without-each-other love.”

OK, a bit melodramatic. But I want that kind of love where I can just say anything without feeling scared - none of this holding back hooplah for fear that I won't be loved back.

Another fault of mine - carrying baggage.

This is a classic Tracy move. I tend to take a long time to get over people - not randoms, but the couple guys who have really made me fall for them. It's pathetic, really, but I can't help but continuously go down Memory Lane after a failed relationship and wallow in my sadness.

The good news is that I didn't torture myself so drastically with this last break up - I felt sad at times, yes, and there were some tears. But overall, I moved on with my life.

The downside is that sometimes I've brought great people through my wreckage with me - perfectly decent people who deserve my entire attention, yet due to timing, have had to witness me going through a time of healing. And sometimes, it ain't pretty.

For example, a guy I know is one of my favorite friends. We met soon after I broke up with the ex, and he and I began dating right off the bat. In retrospect, this was not a smart move on my part. I should have given myself time to decompress from the last relationship, but instead I jumped head first because I didn't want to just let this good guy go.

I quickly backed out of it pretty soon after we started dating. We may have only dated briefly, and are thankfully still friends to this day, but I can't help but still feel guilty for putting him through my weird getting-over-the-ex-but-still-trying-to-be-his-friend-even-though-I-know-it'll-never-work phase.

I truly care about this guy - he is the reason I still have hope in the male species, to be honest. I don't know anyone funnier than him, and he has a heart of gold. I've been thinking about him a lot lately, and I always wonder what it would be like to give things with us another shot. He treats me better than any guy ever has - despite my quirkiness and hang-ups and confusing nature. But then I get scared - I don't want to keep putting this guy through things with me, and if it doesn't work out, I will feel horrible.

Ugh, it's all so confusing. Here I was, all content with my single life, and now I start to question my choices. I'm just hoping that things will work themselves out as time goes by. For now, I'm just happy to have this guy in my life. I have absolutely no clue how he feels about me. I'm sure he's put up some sort of wall given my brush off this last time, but who knows.

My main hope is that the more mistakes I make, the less new ones I have to make in the future!

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