EXES Are NOT A Good Trap
Recently, I fell into a trap. Not necessarily a foxhole type of trap, where you can’t get out. Instead, I placed myself in one of emotional entanglement. You know the one, where you get contacted by an ex-boyfriend, and you immediately go back like Scooby Doo hanging his tongue out for Scooby Snacks. This situation, however, was a bit different from just chasing someone.
Years ago, I was a mid 20 something that just wanted love. Just like in all of the 90s and 2000s romcoms we’ve all watched. I wanted to be just like Mia from The Princess Diaries, where I finally find the hunk crush of my dreams that makes my foot pop. So, I went out on a date after date, after date, and the cycle kept going until I met an Army Soldier. For privacy purposes, we will name him Ely. My life changed after that first meeting.
Ely was the same age as me, which didn’t matter. What mattered is that he was, in my eyes a war hero. He had just come back from Dubai within months of meeting me after completing deployment, and I thought that was brave and hot. For our first date, he picked me up and took me to one of my favorite arcades near my hometown. We played a few games, laughed, and I thought it was magical. He won a plush toy that was in the shape of a high cartoon mushroom that must have been Rastafarian. After, we played pool, and I could tell that with his lean frame, tall manliness and his quirky eyeglasses, this was a guy I wanted to be around for a long time.
For a short sweet time, things were in the honeymoon phase of a new relationship. Everything was enchanted. Even watching the movie Trolls was our special thing. Then, it all came crashing down when he moved in with his sister. The drama and the problems we had due to her presence was as cold as the month of January when they moved in together. From then on, it was pure hell. She and I always fought over who would get to spend time with him, and I always had to compete for attention against his annoying army buddies, his overly guarded family, and the security job that he hated. There wasn’t any time for me in his life, and soon, all we did was argue. Of course, everyone in his life blamed me for making him overly stressed.
When we finally broke up, we did so at his job. I wasn’t going to be one of those girls that he could just break up within a text while I’m sitting at his house, crying and desiring him. So, I drove up to his job and confronted him. Not my finest hour, but I can now say that I’ve learned from this lesson. Either way, the breakup ended in an awful way, including with all of my things being literally on the curb of their apartment complex. It was so painful, my parents had to go grab my things for me while I sobbed like a babe needing her mom. I was devastated, couldn’t eat, couldn’t talk, and barely wanted to keep living. I was a desperate mess of emotions on my parents’ couch, and since he never called, I eventually blocked him from my entire life. This didn’t help much, but I figured it would since it worked for every other guy before him.
Years went by, and even though I dated, had an abortion, and eventually wound up in a different relationship, I still dreamed of Ely. Every now and then, I thought about him, daydreamed about him, and secretly always wished it had worked out between us. I was playing a dangerous game with my emotions, and I was truly unable to love another person wholly because I still loved the Ely that got away and left me to go live his happily ever life. Even though I had another, I was still broken inside, with the tiny pieces of my figurative heart constantly breaking at any given moment, because of how I was treated in my past. Then something amazing happened after two years…I heard from his army buddy via Facebook Messenger.
She didn’t ask how I was doing and didn’t care about me as a person at all. Instead, she dropped a bomb on me about how Ely missed me, and how I should contact him. I played in bed that morning with my current boyfriend at the time, thinking that this was a mistake. My mind wandered to the possibilities of how a conversation between Ely and I would go down. Would there be yelling, screaming, tears, or would I just slap him in the face and not give a crap about his entire existence. I battled with this for a full blown thirty minutes. I decided to text him, hoping that everything was going well for him (although deep down inside, I really wished I didn’t care at all about him). He wanted me to come to a party at his house. After two bad arguments with my boyfriend about not cleaning up the cramped apartment we were losing in a week, I made to hard decision to meet up with Ely.
Dragging my best friend with me, we drove to the apartment complex where I recalled crying in almost every day just a few years back. My best friend asked me if I was truly prepared for the outcome of this. I said I was, knowing that my stomach was in knots and my mind knew that this wouldn’t end well at all for me. When I finally saw him, I realized he wasn’t the Super Soldier I thought he was before. He was just a twiggy guy. We laughed, spoke, cried about the abortion I had with his baby, and in the end, decided to try again. I immediately gave up on my boyfriend, who was a man child anyway and tried again at a love that I thought was destiny.
Within a couple of weeks, I recognized that all of the problems I had with him before came rushing right back. His sister was a cynical mess of being The Joker and also being a raging bitch that constantly drank and stayed high at all times. His best friend in the army was only twenty, and she had her own struggles of being stable, just like the rest of us women out there.
More importantly, Ely didn’t make the changes we spoke about before. He was still the same guy that everyone loved but didn’t really seem interested in my world. He was still the guy that couldn’t deal with arguing, didn’t want to ever go out unless he went out with his own friends, didn’t care to take me out on a date, had low self-esteem, and especially, wasn’t a good communicator. When I finally left his apartment after being there on and off for two weeks, I wasn’t asked to come back and visit him. We spoke about it, but he made it clear that I had to be the one to ask. He also never called me at all, and barely texted me. It became clear that my dream guy wasn’t dreamy at all. He was just an ordinary Joe who I thought was a god.
What I learned was that no man is perfect, or even the “one”. They all have their imperfections, just like women. The catch is not if he can make your foot pop like Cinderella or Mia. The catch is whether he fits your personality needs, your social needs, financial needs, physical needs, and spiritual needs. Ely couldn’t even reach most of these for me, which I finally realized after constantly trying to communicate and have patience with him.
Whether it’s just a few years apart, or 100 years apart from each other, a Tiger never changes his stripes. People grow, people change, but people’s personalities remain exactly the same. Don’t fall for the guy that makes you feel like a Princess. Fall for the guy that makes you feel like a real Queen because you are.