I know a few people that could tell me, “I told you so,” but I won’t mention any names.
It’s obvious that finding a lasting relationship has been difficult for me. I tried online dating, I’ve tried being introduced by friends, and I’ve tried going back to a prior relationship; the latter being the most recent of all. I’m sad, I’ll admit it but I’m not worried, not like last year.
Last year, I had to move out with my daughters in tow while dealing with the sudden death of a friend. Last year, I had to find beds, couches, a washer and dryer, and put it all under a roof I didn’t have with a deposit that didn’t exist. Last year, I didn’t have a fork to my name, and the guitar I did have ended up getting stolen. When I say I had nothing, I had nothing, except the unconditional love from two very special girls and a handful of friends and family that helped me get through it all. With that, I had everything one needs to get through anything.
The pattern reemerged over the last few weeks, the space and distance that “not talking” creates. I didn’t know what it was that I did, what I was doing, what I wasn’t doing or how I was contributing to it. At times, I’ve been told to give space. Other times, don’t. This time, I guess it was a coin toss. I called heads. It was tails. It was over.
I wouldn’t say I’m a lazy boyfriend, and I’m definitely not interested in playing video games or getting stuck on sports. I’m a helper, I know that. I’ll do the dishes, I don’t mind; especially if you cooked dinner. Folding laundry doesn’t bother me at all. Putting the laundry away is another story; that rarely happens. If I remember to take the trash out, I will. I still get a little scared that Freddy Krueger is behind me at night, speed-walking back to the house. I’ll never get over it; it’s childish, I know.
I do these things to make her life easier, and though there is no more her, I’ll continue to do them for the next her. I think it goes back to Gary Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, a book I’ve read a few times. That is how I show love. I help when and where I can. The weird thing is that doing things is not how I receive (and accept) love; it’s how I give it. You can lay out a red carpet, walk me to a brand new plush king-sized bed you bought for me, and feed me grapes in a bikini and I’m not buying it. It doesn’t move me. It could move someone else, not me. I’m a words kind of guy. Call me a cheap date, if you will.
After another failed attempt at trying to talk, I knew that we weren’t ever going to be married; I knew we wouldn’t have a child together, specifically a boy (I want a boy); and I knew we would never live under the same roof again. I give and receive love differently than she does. I’m not right and she’s not wrong. Trying to rekindle a relationship never works if you don’t make forcible change it needs, and it needs to be admitted. We needed to learn new languages that we never did. Our relationship was as fragile as it was before, and more delicate. It was easy to break.
There were fabulous things about our relationship, things I loved about her and her ways. For the most part, we got along great. I made her laugh a lot, did plenty of goofy things, and would do the dishes together quite often. Over the two (almost) years, we created plenty of memories. We ate ice creams and watched Netflix when we didn’t have kids. We supported each other out at the baseball fields. We’d pick up or watch the other’s kid sometimes. We’d complain about the “other parent” when we needed to, or offer advice on how to respond to their ridiculousness. I never had a problem when she wanted to go out with her friends. It gave me time to write, or sing and play guitar. I have no regrets and no negativity in my heart towards her. She is an awesome woman and mother. I can’t argue with that. No one can.
I’ve written about what I want in a woman before. Maybe the biggest mistake I’ve made is not creating the friendship first. Maybe I’ve always jumped straight into the man vs. woman relationship, creating expectations from the titles of boyfriend and girlfriend. Maybe I’ll put every woman I meet, from now on, in the friend zone and treat her like I would my friend Thomas, shoving a habanero pepper in her mouth when she least expects it, wrestle her to the ground, and hold her mouth shut. Maybe she can teach me how to play video games, and I’ll teach her guitar. Maybe she keeps an empty Nachos Bell Grande container on the floorboard of her car for a week at a time, next to her gym socks. Maybe she’ll camp out on a mattress in the living room with me. Maybe we will make a rule and sleepovers will require footie pajamas, no exceptions. Maybe we’ll give each other new footie pajamas each year for Christmas. Maybe we’ll start our own traditions. Maybe I’ll force her to fart in front of me, or we can no longer be friends. Maybe we carve our initials in someone’s oak tree and then toilet paper their house. Maybe I’ll tell her the truth about her cooking and she’ll throw some at me. Maybe we’ll go have pizza after we clean up our mess. Maybe she can be a complete klutz and gives me ample opportunities to make fun of her. Maybe I’ll take a joke too far, which I’m known to do. Maybe she’ll yell at me for it, or tell me I hurt her feelings. Maybe she’ll tell me her secrets. Maybe I need someone I can actually talk to, without the use of thumbs, a Send button, or the opportunity to filter.
Maybe I just need a friend. It seems that finding a woman has become so last year.
By the way, FRIEND, I’m still raising money for Genesis and could use your support. Sharing this blog post will help and so will clicking the Genesis Butterfly and contributing any amount you’re comfortable with. Find me on Facebook at Full-Time Daddy. Follow me on Instagram @FullTimeDad. I’m kind of over Twitter, but if you want, @FullTimeDaddy. Thank you for reading – Jon Vaughn