Published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose. Chris is known as “Jason” in the I Heart stories.
While traveling down the 101, he put his hand and on my knee and gave a big squeeze, and shot me a grin.
“What’s that smile for?” I asked.
Endearingly, Jason said, “I want to know about your past relationships.”
Really? All of them?
I am perfectly fine not knowing much about his. A-OK.
Yes, we’ve touched on the subject but to ask him to rattle off former lovers sounded like an opportunity for my insecure girl ego to take over and subject me to psychosis.
He was married before, that I knew.
His last relationship was a significant one; I get it.
He also had a serious relationship with this other girl and blah, blah, blah.
(Ladies, you get me. Right?)
For me, in this situation, ignorance is bliss but I guess this is what mature people do to get to know each other better.
But do we really need all the details?
I do realize to be with someone at this time in life (I’m 34), means you both will have past love lives (some may call it, “baggage”) that you have hopefully learned from to become a better partner for the next.
“Well,” I began. “I’ll start at the beginning…”
I told him of my first love in high school, a fairytale relationship that ended during the fall of my freshman year of college like many teenage relationships do – because you’re too young.
Then came the soulful boy-next-door with whom I traveled the country and broke it off (and his heart) when he wanted to take it to the next level.
Next was the intellect. Kind of an ass but the conversation was stimulating and he made me laugh.
It ended because, well, he was an ass.
After that was an Old World romance with a gentleman from England.
He was poetic and kind and showered me with love letters and red roses.
When he wanted to get more serious, I freaked out and broke it off.
(Yes, I’m noticing a pattern here.)
“Geez,” I said. “I sound like a …” He cut me off before I could finish.
“No, you don’t. It’s part of your story. Just keep going.”
Wow, this dude is so grounded.
His maturity makes me feel vulnerable and safe at the same time. I gave a big sigh and kept going.
The following relationship was a grand departure from the last.
He was an immature party boy who I found painfully cute and his child-like quality was something I longed for after the serious bout with the Brit.
It ended because it had to. Partying took a toll on both of us and after that unhealthy relationship, I took a break.
A very long, much needed, five-year break.
It wasn’t until I moved to Santa Barbara that I fell hard for a much younger, spiritual man who opened my heart back up the way it desperately needed to be.
After he moved from town, I began dating men from all backgrounds (also the reason I started this column!).
It was a great crash course and learning experience about what I really wanted out of a partner and myself.
I looked over to Jason and with an admiring smile I said, “And then, I met you!”
Traveling back through relationships gone by made me realize that each person I dated was what I was seeking in myself at that time.
All the previous relationships – the good, bad, and ugly – were just dress rehearsals for a bigger and better show.
It seemed going “through the trenches” allowed me to truly appreciate what I wanted out of life.
I admit I do give mad props to all the women before me who made Jason the thoughtful person he’s grown to be.
And if who we choose to be with is a reflection of who we want to be, I guess you could say, that goes the same for me.