For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you’ve probably heard me mention D — the guy who I generally refer to as my first love. If you aren’t caught up yet, you can read the short version of our history here. But basically, D has been in my life since I was 17 we have had the most tumultuous relationship/friendship possible. I’ve tried to just walk away so many times, but for some unknown reason, I can never let him go. So now I just take it for what it is. I feel lucky I have a guy that makes me smile when I see him, that makes me feel less lonely, and who I truly know and understand. He is a guy, who after 8 years, still makes me nervous when he calls.
The problem, though, is that I am always afraid he’ll hurt me again. I don’t worry that he’ll do so intentionally. In fact, I trust that he won’t. But unfortunately, he has some demons to deal with (as we all do) and in the past, I have sometimes suffered as a result of him needing to figure his shit out. As much as I’d like to think that I am so much stronger now, as recent as last year he made me so angry that I literally couldn’t sleep. On this particular occasion, I told him to fuck off and that I never wanted to see him again. He didn’t take me seriously, which I understood because frankly I had told him that before. But this time, I was dead serious. And when he texted me the next week and I told him that I was still uninterested in ever hearing from him again, he was livid.
To be truthful, I was actually flattered by his reaction. I had no idea I was able to elicit such a strong response from him. But I stood my ground. I had come to the conclusion that D would never change and that my only option would be to cut him off once and for all.
But then, two months later, D did something that completely and totally surprised me. He did something that neither of us have ever done. He called me up, in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, and apologized. Repeatedly. His sincerity was evident and he completely admitted he was wrong. He also told me that he wanted to apologize to my face.
I was stunned. You think that when you know someone for 7+ years, they can’t really surprise you anymore. And yet this was completely unexpected.
At the time I was dating Mr. Cute but Whiny, so I initally declined his offer to apologize to my face. But then about two weeks after that apology, Mr. Cute but Whiny was pissing me off – yet again – and so I called up D and told him that if he wanted to drive the 30 mins to my house, we could go out and have a drink/talk. He agreed and came right down.
This was yet another change. I had always, always gone to D (which was dumb). In my defense, when we were first getting to know each other I was in college and I’d only see him when I was home for breaks and living at my parents house. I certainly wasn’t about to have him over there. But regardless of why, we had established this pattern of me going to him and it had just stuck. In fact, prior to this night, he had only been down to my house once and it was on my 22nd birthday. So him jumping-up to come down to my house, was a pretty big deal and a major change.
And then the fact that we were going somewhere – also new territory. Again, I met him when I was so young and long before I was going on dates and our hanging out had always been at his house or friends’ houses.
So that night, he and I went out and talked for 3 hours. By the end of the night he was telling me that he thought maybe it was time he and I tried the “dating thing” for reals. I had already informed him that I was dating someone else, but I couldn’t believe he was actually suggesting that. This is a guy who had never once told me he even liked me. And, in all honesty, I had never told him that I had feelings for him either. We both had always had our guards up because we were always constantly hurting one another. And really the only way I’ve ever known that there are feelings there was by watching his actions. So to hear him saying it in words… well it was a surreal experience.
Since he didn’t want to drive home after having a couple of drinks, I offered him my couch – and I actually made him sleep on it. I think he was shocked, and frankly so was I, that I didn’t let him share my bed. But I didn’t want to fall that easily back into our pattern. So, I let him kiss me (I couldn’t help myself!) but then I locked my door and went to sleep.
The reason I am telling you this is because I’ve hung out with D a couple of times in the last few weeks and things have been really different. If I didn’t know better, I’d say D actually changed. Are we together now? Uh no, obviously not. But the way we interact is completely different. We are nice to each other. And polite. And there is trust and friendship there. It still sometimes weirds me out when he is affectionate towards me, but I am starting to get used to it. For the first time, I am not afraid. I am not just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I love spending time with him and I love the way he treats me.
I am also working on conciously noting the changes he’s made and reciprocating with changes of my own. He’s still D, and there are still a million reasons we wouldn’t date, but I love that we have found a way to make us work.
Most of all, I love the life lesson this taught me. I now know that nothing is unchangeable and you don’t have to just accept things the way they are. Did these changes happen over night? No. But they happened. And that is something I will remember for future relationships too. It also taught me that while you can’t change the other person, you can change your behaviors. And sometimes the changes you make might just lead to the other person changing themselves. In the end, I don’t care whether or not I changed D or he changed on his own, I am just happy he changed.