I have a theory that everyone needs a horrible romantic relationship at same point in their life. I'm not talking about abusive here, but rather someone who takes you for granted, is too jealous, is unreliable, even unfaithful.
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The reason for this? To find your boundaries.
We are all a little clueless when we first start dating. If you were like me, your role models were your "mature" friends who had boyfriends from 13 onwards (when I was still in the awkward caterpillar eyebrow and twelve sizes too big t-shirt phase), sitcoms, or Sweet Valley High. We are told it is supposed to a perfectly smooth ride, with talking on the phone all night every night and slow dances. We have no idea how to react when he doesn't like our friends or he doesn't want to go to the school dance with you. We don't know which of his quirks we think are adorable and idiosyncratic, and which are just plain mean. We have no idea how we are supposed to be treated.
As harsh as it may seem, being treated like a doormat, for most of us, will show us exactly how we don't want to be treated.
As such, even though I can say that my first serious boyfriend, Logan, who I dated for 10 months in Grade 10, is still one of the great dirt bags to walk the earth, he taught me a hell of a lot. Logan is the only guy who will ever treat me as miserably as that, because after him, I could see his traits in other guys from a mile away, and would avoid them like the bubonic plague. And if anyone ever started on any of his style trips on me? I have the faith that even my 16 year old self could have walked out the door.
Logan was probably everything a desperately insecure 15 year old girl should not have been kissing. Judgmental, angry, jealous, controlling, though mighty cute, funny, and seemingly dedicated.
He decided he liked me the way I was, and thus, I was forbidden to change. He would turn around and walk away from me, shaking his head in disgust, if he didn't like the clothes I was wearing. He would grumble angrily if my new CD didn't meet his approval. I even hid my class projects from him for fear of his disapproval, such as the time I did a biography on Drew Barrymore, as I knew he thought she was a "slut".
He was insanely jealous, and would try to fight any guy who was friendly towards me. When I tried to stop him, he would accuse me of wanting to be with them, so I learned to just stare at the ground as he shouted and shook his fists. He would also wildly confront anyone who expressed concern for me. He never hit anyone, but that was more to do with their skills at backing away and negotiating than a flattening of his temper.
I made the mistake of letting him be my first everything, losing my virginity on my bedroom floor. He then believed he had the right to me at anytime, as though sex was solely his decision, and I was merely an accessory to it. I distinctly remember sleeping in the same room as a friend, and him chastising me to tears because I wouldn't have sex with him there. I actually tried to curl up and sleep on the bathroom floor, as though the cold tiles were more peaceful than lying beside him.
My sister was stronger than me in all of this. Despite being all of 12 years old, one time after he had berated me over the phone, I left to walk to his house, she called him, this big 16-year old, and told him to stop being so cruel to me.
I actually set to my reminiscing about Logan yesterday over dinner, when my friend, after laughing at her distress at her first time being dumped, asked me what my most horrendous "dumped" story was.
I started laughing hysterically at how truly awful it was.
And I told her about how, in French 10, we did a fashion show. My friends asked me to be their model for a pair of shorts and a tank top. I asked them if I could wear a jacket with it. They said yes, but ended up giving away the jacket to another catwalker, so I strutted my stuff anyhow. I didn't tell Logan, but someone else reported back to him.
He asked me to meet him on the street, and proceeded to call me every name on the book. Slut, whore, tramp, you name it. In the midst of these slew of words, I was told he never wanted to see me again. The cherry on top was when I ran away, crying, he threw snowballs at my head.
I fell asleep in my parents bed, clutching my stuffed bunny.
And I took him back the next day.
One of the conditions of us getting back together is that I had to ask my french teacher to delete the video of me in the fashion show.
He dumped me four times in total. The fourth time, I didn't accept his pleas to come back. These pleas proceeded to bended knees, to tears, to persuading friends to knock on my door, to 3am drunken visits that began with poetry and ended with him storming off with vows to kill himself.
I still said no.
Perhaps a better victory would have been to say no the first time he broke up with me, or the first time he called me names.
But I'm still proud the final answer was no.
As painful and unfair as it was to go through so young, I am infinitely glad I went through it at age 15, rather than at 18, 20, 25, like I see friends going through now. It is almost like one of those diseases, like the chicken pox. At least if you get it when you are young, you are immune to its later, more dangerous adult form.
And, small town that it is, that was not the last I saw of Logan. Later that summer, his poor heart apparently recovered enough to sleep with a visiting friend of mine in my bed. On my 19th birthday, he was coincidentally at the same bar, trying to fight the ex-boyfriend I'd dated after him, still holding a grudge years later.
And just as I was wondering if I was holding onto my grudge a little too fiercely, I saw him at a friend's birthday party around five years ago in UndergradCity. He began hitting on my friend, but when he heard how we knew each other (she had dated the Ex's friend for a year-- a guy who was a bit of a ladies man in high school), he said to her "Well, if you dated him, I hope you got yourself checked"... as in STDs. He accused a girl he just met, and was trying to seduce, of having STDs.
Some things never change.