|Free poster from Anton Darcy|
I was a serial monogamist (now I’m just a married monogamist), so I’ve had my share of “close calls” [=almost engagements and an unrequited desire to be married] and difficult breakups. And historically, I’ve been confused about what I wanted in life, though I’ve had a pretty good sense of what I didn’t want. In sum, I’ve loved men who wouldn’t have made me happy in the long run, but through fortune, fate, or sheer force of will those relationships ended before I met my husband. J is smart, handsome, funny, shares my disdain for conventional lifestyles, brings out the best in me, is excessively strong and thus very useful around the house, wants to go to a museum in every city we visit, has a CD binder from the late 90s that contains all my favorite CDs from the late 90s, and says things like “my 401k did really well this past quarter” and “once we [x,y,z], you should take classes at UVA just for fun”.
My goodness. Just thinking about this makes me want to marry him all over again. But this post is about past mistakes and narrow escapes, so on to the exes:
- College boyfriend
- Length of relationship: Five years (off and on)
- Practical issues: He dropped out of our private college and had himself tens of thousands of dollars in debt, got evicted from his pricey apartment, and got his car repossessed before I even graduated.
- Where is he now: Selling real estate in Maryland
- Where I would be if I were still with him: Working as his receptionist and looking forward to strip mall franchise restaurant dinners and new episodes of House
- Antepenultimate boyfriend
- Length of relationship: One year
- Practical issues: He believed that being in debt was part of being an adult, and that reason he needed to find a good job was to be able to afford nice things (that he could presumably enjoy on the weekends and two weeks a year). At the time, I wanted to join the Peace Corps and do two years of service in sub-Saharan Africa, but I figured I could skip that for him and we could start a family.
- Where he is now: Globetrotting as a trailing husband
- Where I would be if I were still with him: Tied up in a cubicle with a corporate teat lodged in my throat, getting milked for mortgage payments on a townhouse in the Northern Virginia suburbs and waiting for my Williams-Sonoma potato-washing gloves to arrive in the mail
|Too much stuff can weigh you down. Picture from Mihnea™|
- Penultimate boyfriend
- Length of relationship: Four years (off and on)
- Practical issues: He dedicated a lot of his expendable income to purchasing video games and computer equipment. He all but stuck his fingers in his ears whenever I brought up savings or retirement and we both lived paycheck to paycheck without saving a dime. I told myself that it didn’t matter if we didn’t have the same goals, priorities, values, or dreams because we were in love. When I realized that being in love was costing me the kind of life I really wanted, I had to make the difficult decision to leave.
- Where he is now: Last spotted two years ago at a bar in Shanghai.
- Where I would be if I were still with him: Teaching English, making dinner, doing the dishes, drinking, and daydreaming about having health insurance