Sorry for the lack of "Thursday Threads" yesterday. I forgot to take any pictures. Womp. Instead I'm going to write about Ryan and I. This is going to be kind of a long post, and it lacks in pretty pictures, so if you want to jump off this ride at any time, feel free.
It's always a little awkward when people ask how I met Ryan, because the answer is a pretty simple one: "In a bar."
For the record, as a twenty-something who refuses to date coworkers, doesn't go to church, and rarely shows up for class, there are only so many venues to meet dudes. I guess I could tell you the short story: he was a friend of a friend and we were all there for my friend's birthday. But that is just so not interesting and doesn't even begin to describe the craziness and intensity of the last seventeen months. That's right, we had only been together for a little over a year when we got married.
But this story started long before that. This story starts in June of 2010, when I've just had my heart stomped on into a thousand tiny little pieces.
You see, Ryan's not the first guy I've ever loved, and I'm not the first girl he ever loved, but that's his own story and he doesn't have a blog so I guess you'll just have to ask him about it if you really want to know. Two years before I met Ryan (it's really creepy how dates are going to start lining up in this story), I met a guy. Let's call him S. I met this guy, you guessed it! At a bar. I wandered in after work one evening to get some grub (I was in the "I only know how to make PB&J phase" of my life) and plopped my rear down in the only empty seat, next to some dude.
If you've never been a girl, in a bar, by herself, then let me fill you in on a little something: it's really, really awkward. Usually guys hit on you because you're clearly pathetic and miserable and in desperate need of some misguided and poorly placed chivalry. I am not any of those things. I hate being hit on. It just makes me feel... cheap? Well, I'm also a huge hypocrite because I don't want to go somewhere by myself and have no one to talk to, because I'm a social person. So I attempt to make conversation with "some dude" sitting next to me. He wasn't really all that verbose (turns out he was really nervous), but then his snarky, chatty friend turns up and "some dude" decides to set me up with "snarky friend." Somehow they both end up with my number.
I politely wing my way out of going on a date with "snarky friend" but "some dude" asks me to hang out. And I do. Let's get something straight: I was NOT attracted to "some dude." I was NOT looking for a relationship. He just seemed like a cool guy, and he was really, really funny. So we started hanging out. A lot. When it got to the point that he hadn't tried to make a move, I decided he didn't like me so therefore I liked him (I'm a sucker for unrequited romance). That night he kissed me. And "some dude" became S.
About a week into our relationship, I swear to God I had this fleeting premonition that S and I were going to grow old together. A week into our relationship, I was head-over-heels in love. We were crazy about each other from the get-go. I'd never been so happy in my life.
Let me just say this: underneath all the sunshine and roses, there was something really, really wrong. You see, not only was I in love, I was obsessed. I was unhealthily fixated. I'm pretty sure I was co-dependent. But none of that mattered. Because S was my dream guy and I loved him and he loved me and that's all that mattered. Even though I was working and in school full-time and S had TWO full-time jobs and we never saw each other and we argued and I started questioning the relationship and whether or not this was what I wanted and whether or not I could keep doing this. We were in love, man! And love conquers all, right?
And then the bomb dropped.
Nine months after that first kiss, S and I came home from a night out with friends and he told me he couldn't do it anymore.
My earth shattered. It didn't matter that I was having doubts. That 24 hours before, I was thinking about ending our relationship. Anyone who's ever been dumped can tell you that not only is it humiliating, it turns you into a completely irrational person.
There were days I didn't get out of bed. I couldn't pay my rent because I drank away all my money every night after work. I threw myself at any guy who glanced my way. I cried and cried and cried. I'm amazed my friends put up with me. I seriously thought about killing myself. I wondered if I'd ever stop hurting. I was sure S and I would get back together, because of that damn "premonition."
We stayed in relative contact. I'd send him a pathetic text message, he'd (maybe) respond. It was just enough to keep stringing me along. He'd tell me he missed me, he couldn't explain why he ended it, maybe things would work out. It was torture. He was all I thought about.
We broke up on June 6, 2010. It's weird that date sticks out in my mind. Exactly a year and a half later, on December 6, 2011, I married Ryan. But I'm jumping ahead of myself.
Fast forward three months to September 16, 2010. I'm at a well-known college bar/club for my friend Caitlin's birthday. She's dating a guy in the Navy, so there are a bunch of his sailor buddies there. I'm kind of wandering around, talking to Navy guy's friends, most of which I know by now. I'll be honest, I was on the prowl. Then there was this guy I didn't know. And he was cute! We ended up chatting beside a very large, loud speaker. I think it was my idea to go sit at a table so we could chat more.
We sat and talked for THREE HOURS! Ryan told me later that the first night we met, he could tell we had some kind of connection. He walked me to my car. He asked me for my number, and of course I gave it to him. He said his phone was dead but when he got ready to leave, he'd put it on the car charger and text me. I'd been fed a lot of bullshit by guys that summer, and figured I'd never talk to him again. Me, setting myself up for failure.
He kissed me.
I got in my car and left. Now, here's the kicker: I'd done a lot of drinking and slumming around that summer. And I felt so ashamed. I had this huge hole in me that S ripped out, and I was trying to fill it with another guy. I'm pretty sure one guy told me, to my face, that I was "emotionally damaged." Every time I kissed a new guy, I cried. "Sobbed" would probably be more appropriate.
When Ryan kissed me, I didn't cry.
And he texted me, even though I thought he wouldn't.
The next night, we went on our first "real" date. We walked along the beach and he held my hand and told me about his family.
I really liked this guy. Neither of us expected for this to be a long-term relationship. I was just biding time until S came around, he wasn't looking for a girlfriend.
Well, S did come around. Ryan did get a girlfriend, and I generally made a mess of things.
Ooooh, the suspense! Stay tuned for "The Breakup: Part 1"