It Started With A Wedding…
The night before caravanning to Santa Barbara for a close-friends intimate wedding, my thoughts lead me down a rabbit hole; reflecting on my life choices, my relationship status and coming to terms with my reality. It’s a lot different than what my 20 year-old-self thought life would look like at 31.
My mood may have been influenced by my recent birthday; that time of the year puts me in a reflective state. Or maybe it was the fact that this was the second man in my core group of high school friends that was about to step into marriage. What gets me is that both of my boys had so much conviction in their decision. I don’t even know what that would look like or feel like, or maybe I do and I missed it.
I’m no stranger to weddings; from best man, to groomsmen or simply an enthusiastic guest. I have participated in the celebration of love at more than 25 of my friends weddings. It’s not on some 27 Dresses type shit, but there is definitely a difference between someone from your immediate peer group that you’ve known longer
than their spouse as an individual than as part of a couple, verses someone that you’ve only known as part of the couple (#AboutTimeJoe). For friends that I’ve only known as part of a couple, it’s a natural assumption that marriage would be on the horizon. But for friends that I’ve seen go from dealing with heart break and growing pains to standing at the alter I always ask, “How did you know, what was different this time?”
I Always Do this…
I would be remiss not to acknowledge the moments of vulnerability when my thoughts lead me to thinking about past loves and relationships, and questioning if I let “the one” get away. At least 3 of the women I dated, all whom I considered proposing to, in my 20s have all gotten married and started families or at the very least engaged. Since the obvious constant in each of those relationships is me it made me question myself. Did I not invest enough into the relationship to allow her grow into “the one”? Did I love her where she was at in life? Was I expecting her to change? Was I loving the idea of simply being with her and not embracing who she really was? Am I too selfish? Did I not stand up for myself? Did I dodge a bullet?
All these thoughts, and then some, usually stay in my own head. It can have a way of letting that feeling of loneliness creep in. Then little triggers that spark memories are more heightened, and if you’re like me, you start to miss your
past love ex. That leads me into a whole other layer in questioning my decision to end those relationships. Then I stumbled into a conversation where someone shares with me how they are struggling with the same thoughts. Its almost relieving when I’m reminded that these thoughts are normal — we’re only human. Over time I’ve learned those feelings become less potent, but they’ll probably always be there. And that’s okay, missing someone is not necessarily a sign that they were “the one” that got away. Often times I find that I miss my friendship that developed within the relationship, more than the romantic relationship itself.
Accountability and Encouragement
Thankfully, I have a solid foundation in the people I surround myself with. They keep it all the way real and they let me know when I fuck up. They help me recognize my faults, so if I choose to address them it’ll be before its too late for the relationship. When my memory gets foggy and I start questioning why the relationship ended when the memories are so good, they’ll kindly defog it for me. Most importantly they remind me of what the reality was as I have a habit of looking back on past conflicts or issues with the knowledge and experience I have now. They remind me that it’s unfair to think about how 30 year old Randy would handle something differently than 25 year old Randy because I hadn’t learned the lesson necessary to thrive in that moment. I can only use that knowledge moving forward.
Now I’m not saying that I live by what my friends say or suggest, I simply find it beneficial to have an outside perspective. It is important to note that I use my best discernment with who I approach for help; iron sharpens iron.
When Did You Know?
But all of this still leaves me where I am today; not necessarily searching actively for “the one,” but not neglecting the desire to know who she is either. Part of my issue is knowing more of what I don’t want than what I do want in a woman. Which was recently brought to my attention when my Tia casually asked, “what are you looking for in a woman?” …and after stuttering out, “someone nice,” I quietly excused myself from the dinner table and haven’t revisited the conversation since.
But nonetheless, I can’t help but wonder what that chapter of life will look like. As any true millennial would, I took to Facebook in search of some perspective. And yes, I know Facebook is not always the best place for advice. Surprisingly, the responses were very sweet and endearing — especially from Justin and Joy of The Love Jays. You can hear their story in the episode of their podcast titled, How To Know When You’ve Found “The One.”
So if you haven’t shared with me already, when did you realize your partner was IT for you? I’d love to hear your moment of clarity, and feel free to share in any form or fashion in which you’re comfortable. I’d love to hear the stories. And who knows, maybe your story will help more people than just me.