When I was in high school, one of my favorite teachers told me that nothing worthwhile is easily attained. And I believed it — except when it came to men.
High school was a land of plenty for me. In my sophomore year, I began dating a series of quirky, heartfelt boys, each one something straight out of a John Hughes movie. There were lots of burned CDs, late-night make-out sessions and outside-the-box love notes. One boyfriend placed a Ziploc bag of red liquid in a heart-shaped container lined with handwritten poems comparing me to ventricles and the aorta. It was kind of creative, very creepy and totally romantic.
I was drunk on my newfound power. Why bask in the adoration of one guy, I thought, when there were at least two others who were also interested and waiting in the sidelines? "Boys, please! There's plenty of me to go around." My ego was off the charts.
I began to string a few guys along at a time. I started one semester in a relationship with a great guy, then replaced him two months in with a charming nerd who was double-majoring in Film and Computer Science. That summer, I got back together with the first boyfriend so I wouldn't have to spend three months not being worshipped back in my hometown.
Eventually I realized that some guys are special, and I shouldn't be changing them as often as I change my underwear. I would find a nice guy to commit to… but so many guys were nice. I decided I'd find a nice one until I found a nicer one. I'd become a serial monogamist.
When I moved to New York City at age 22, my college boyfriend, Sam, and I tried the long-distance thing for a few months. Then I met someone else and started acting aloof so Sam would break up with me. So, for those of you keeping track at home, there was Sam and then Marco and then Nick and then… I'm running out of aliases.
I finally fell hard for Chad. He was the first boyfriend who seemed to be marriage material, whatever that was. Things soured after about a year, and I broke up with him. I walked around the city, listening to sad music on my iPod… for about three weeks.
Then I started dating John.
If Chad was a hard fall, then John was a jump off the Empire State Building. He was smart, kind, and inspiring. We drove around the city for hours brainstorming ideas for creative projects. I'd never had so much in common with someone I'd dated. John and I read the same books, sang along to the same music, and shared the same values. We'd also never been single adults. I'd been in a relationship of some sort since I was 15. John had dated only three women. He'd had the same girlfriend through high school and college. Then he met me, his third girlfriend, while he was still dating his second.
That might have been the most significant thing we had in common: John and I were both serial monogamists. He was my mirror.
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