It is better to be envied than pitied. -- Herodotus
Repo and I were enjoying a nice evening the other night. We sat in matching white rocking chairs on his front porch, watching the sun go down and the occasional car drive by. We rocked and talked and sipped on drinks. We had one of those conversations where you really feel you are getting to know the other person. We talked about our families and our goals and our lives. We were out there for at least two hours. It was really nice.
Then he dropped a bombshell on me.
"Hey, I have to tell you something," he said.
Oh boy. Rarely does something good come after this statement. "Um, okay," I replied uneasily.
"You know my ex? The girl I dated before you?" he asked.
Oh yeah, I remember hearing about her. The main thing I knew about her? Supposedly she looks like Jessica Simpson. And she was kinda psycho. I guess she has some issues: depression, anorexia, bulimia, constant drama, high-maintenance, suicidal tendencies, constant crying....you know the type. But no matter how much he emphasized that she has a lot of problems, all I could focus on was she looks like Jessica Simpson. And I don't. I'm not normally a jealous person, but when you hear that your man's ex is a dead-ringer for a mega-hot celebrity, it's kinda hard to just blow that off. For me, at least. Even if she is crazy. I could feel myself turning green.
"Yeah, I remember you telling me about her." Every couple has that Ex Talk sooner or later. We had not talked about her since February, to his credit.
"Okay, I never told you this because I didn't want you to freak out. I wanted you to get to know me first. But I wanted you to know that I was engaged to her. In fact, if she and I were still together, we would be married right now," he said, nervously gauging my reaction.
"Whoa," I said slowly, trying to absorb this statement.
"Are you freaking out?" he asked.
No. I wasn't. Just trying to comprehend it. "No, I'm not. I promise. I'm not mad or anything. I'm glad you told me. I appreciate your honesty. It means you feel comfortable enough telling me that. I am not going to think differently of you because of something in your past. I'm just having a hard time understanding it . Even though she was crazy, she was still so hot that you wanted to marry her?" I asked.
"No, in fact that is what made me break it off. She had too many problems. She pressured me into it and I knew I couldn't go through with it," he explained. "I always felt more like a father figure to her anyway. She really needed someone to take care of her. I just feel sorry for her since she's so messed up. We both agreed it would have been a bad idea. She gave back the ring and we called it off. She and I can talk now, and it's cool. She came the other day to get some of her stuff, so I thought I'd tell you about it."
It turns out that she had been storing some of her stuff in his storage unit, so she came by to get it and leave behind some of his stuff. They didn't see each other face to face. But they did talk on the phone to arrange the stuff exchange. I realized how great of a boyfriend I have. He didn't have to tell me about any of this. Yet he chose to do so. Because he didn't want me being left in the dark or hearing it from someone else. And it was probably hard for him. (I always tease him that he'd better be careful and not talk about relationship stuff or his weiner will fall off.) He had absolutely no idea how I would react. He thought I would be upset. I wasn't. I was just...becoming obsessed with one thought. I replayed it in my head over and over.
Of course, all you ladies know exactly what I'm still thinking at this point: So despite the fact that she's crazy, she's still getting marriage proposals because she looks like Jessica Simpson. And I'm not. What's wrong with me?
See, this really wouldn't be bothering me at all if it weren't for the fact that the last three guys I've dated were all engaged before dating me. I told this to Repo. He seemed relieved that my main issues had nothing to do with him in particular. But he wasn't getting what my problem was. "Quite simply," I told him, "I'm some sort of Rebound Girl. I'm the Anti-Fiancee. I'm the back-up singer. I'm a distraction when someone is recovering from a major relationship breakup. I'm cool enough to hang out with and date for a while, but never cool enough to get a ring. And you guys all swear that I'm soooo much better than your exes, but if that's true, then where are my proposals? I guess it's because I don't look like Jessica Simpson."
Yes, I was having an emotional melt-down. A huge What's wrong with me? moment. I never have these moments. I usually feel secure in my relationships. But to hear this news that Crazy Jessica Simpson can manage to get a proposal and a diamond ring from him and I can't even get Repo to say "I love you" or to stop drinking all my Diet Cokes was a big blow to my self-esteem. Not only was she hotter than me, but she was smart enough to get a ring despite the fact that she's crazy.
"No, you are cool!" he exclaimed. "My friends love you, my family loves you. You have no issues at all. There is very little drama with you. You are a really nice change, I promise. You have no idea how much better our relationship is than what I had with her. We had so many problems all the time. I'm so glad I didn't do it. And you don't have to worry about anything. There is absolutely no chance that we will ever ever get back together. That is one thing I can assure you of."
I felt better after he said that. And I believe him. I do feel secure with him and after this conversation I feel very happy being with him. I have calmed down tremendously since this conversation took place. Especially after he told me some details about her crazy behavior. (I guess after they broke up she died her hair jet black and bought a motorcycle.)
But I'm still hung up on this pattern I have in my dating life. What does it mean? What does that say about me that the crazy/ugly/bitchy/cheating exes can all finagle rings out of men and I can't get them to put the toilet seat down? I know they didn't end up getting married, but at least they must have reached the "I love you, will you marry me?" point. Where's my big romantic moment? All three guys have sworn up and down that I'm soooo much better than their ex. But if I'm so great, where's my ring?