I was never one to settle. I thought more last night and today why I might have stopped loving “the one that got away,” and I realized that the answer was simple: he hadn’t changed.
When we were 18, I was in love with him. When we were 20, I was still in love with the feeling of being in love with him when we were younger. And, it was easy to feel that way because he hadn’t changed a bit. He was still in college, working part-time with his uncle; he was still sweet and kind and helpful and supportive; he still wore band T-shirts and hung up posters on his walls; he was still pursuing his dream of a music career, even though he couldn’t read music; and he still lived at home in his parent’s basement. When we were 18, I pushed him to move out and to be more independent. If he wanted to be a musician then I told him he should move to New York or L.A. and jump into the music industry. I also told him he should think about something doing more practical; he said he could be an English teacher. Eventually, he did start thinking more seriously about his career, and I like to think that I influenced him in his decision to go to grad school to study psychology. The problem was, though, he still wasn’t the independent, ambitious person that I wanted him to be. I loved him, but those two qualities were so important to me.
So, I found Ellis – my ex-boyfriend from high school who I’d dumped because my friend had a crush on him and because I didn’t care that much. Ellis and I reconnected in late 2009, and instead of seeing my love when I went to New York, I saw him. Ellis lived at home, but he had plans to move out. He was hard-working and ambitious. He worked full-time, and when he wanted to save up to buy a new car, he got a second job as a lifeguard – getting up around 4 or 5am to go to work for a few hours before he had to go to his main job. I loved that. Ellis wasn’t the one for me, but I think I must have decided then that those were the most important qualities to me – independence and ambition – because I left my love (again) and ended up with Ellis, who later moved to Florida to expand his business.
I think it’s hard to settle once you’ve seen that you can have everything you want. When I’ve had to choose between love and getting what I want, I’ve opted for getting what I want.
I left Ellis because, although he had some qualities I liked, I always knew I didn’t love him. Education had always been important to me, and Ellis had no interest in it. I pushed him to go to school, but he was older and stuck in his ways; he wouldn’t let me mold him into who I wanted him to be.
Then I met John – who was nice and funny and smart and sweet – and he’d do anything I wanted. He wasn’t in school, but he went to school when I pushed him. He lived at home, but he moved out when I asked him. He was young and willing to do anything I wanted to be the person that I wanted him to be. Except I didn’t want someone who would do anything I wanted, either.
I think I thought it’d be easier to find someone like the one that I could mold into my soul mate. So, in a way, I did settle. But, every time I was disappointed.