I was itching to write something today, but I was coming up empty when I tried to think of a topic. In hopes of finding some inspiration, I texted my little sister:
Me: I need your creativity! I can’t think of anything to blog about. Can you think of any funny old stories or memories I could write about??
Within ten seconds her reply arrived:
Jamie: Worst boyfriend ever
I knew exactly what she was referring to — no further explanation needed. Of course, there was no mystery about to whom she was referring (there can only be one Worst Boyfriend Ever, after all), but I also immediately knew which cringe-worthy anecdote she thought was perfect blog material (and there are a lot to choose from!): The Birthday Breakup.
I dated my WBE about ten years ago, at a time in my life when happiness was scarce and self-esteem was scarcer. As a result, my screening process for potential boyfriends was…flimsy. You like the same music as me and find me attractive? Great, let’s go out! What’s that, now? You have no job and no intention of getting one, you’re irresponsible, wildly immature, disrespectful, and insanely jealous? No problem, let’s not let that stop this love connection!
As you can imagine, this led to some relationships that were perhaps a shade shy of healthy.
Now, to be fair, WBE wasn’t abusive or a drug addict or anything — just sort of a jerk. There were a lot of problems right from the get-go, but one of the most troubling red flags was that he didn’t like me hanging out with the twins (my little sisters, for the uninitiated). He complained that I “acted like a teenager” around them (I was 20!) and was prone to rolling his eyes and getting snappy whenever he was in our midst. He once barked at us for having a little too much fun singing along to an AFI song in the car (apparently we weren’t giving Davey Havok’s soulful screeching the respect it deserved); another time, the twins and I all purchased some cheap matching rings at a thrift store and he was appalled by our immaturity (irony!). He wasn’t outwardly rude to the girls (most of the time), but it was clear that he was not a fan of our closeness.
Perhaps we were annoying when we were together (and by “perhaps” I mean “we absolutely were”), but I think it’s more likely that he could see that I had a far better time with them than I ever did with him, and it made him uncomfortable.
Regardless of the reason, his attitude towards the girls really, really bothered me. I was very meek (read: pathetic) in those days and rarely stood up for myself, but I certainly wasn’t going to stand for any mistreatment of my precious twinsies. I never let him talk me out of spending time with them or including them in our activities (not that we were taking them on dates with us or anything creepy), and I always stuck up for them when WBE got sassy or rude around them. Unfortunately, it never sunk in: WBE continued to be threatened by our sisterly bonding.
By June of 2003, my relationship with WBE was hanging on by a thread, but we were still an item. I was sick of the relationship and knew it was going nowhere, but I was having trouble finding the courage to actually split up with him. I knew I didn’t want to be with him anymore, but the prospect of breaking up with him and dealing with that mess seemed scarier and more difficult than just keeping the status quo. I needed a push, and on June 28th, I got it.
That day, he came to pick me up for a date of some sort. It was the twins’ 15th birthday, so I waited for him to come to the door rather than dashing out to his car — I assumed he’d want to wish them a happy birthday before we headed out (I lived at home at the time, so WBE was accustomed to visiting with my family whenever he came by). He apparently didn’t want to come in, though (he honked his horn repeatedly instead), so I dashed outside. When I got to his car, we had a brief but life-changing conversation:
Me: Don’t you want to come in and say hi to the twins? It’s their birthday, remember?
WBE: No, why would I? What have they ever done for me?
And that was the end of that! I did not get in the car. We broke up right then and there, in the driveway in front of my house.
Five months later, I met TFW and my entire life changed. TFW was and is everything the WBE was not. I had never dated anyone like him. He had a college degree! And a real job! And he was kind and funny and sensitive and uncomplicated. It was a shock to the system, if we’re being honest. I am so, so glad I met him, and I am so, so grateful I had broken up with WBE and was single and ready to mingle when our paths crossed. Sometimes I think of what my life might be like if I had never met TFW, and I feel physically ill at the very thought.
But we are together, and life is beautiful.
And yes: he loves the twins.
the twins and I, circa the WBE era. not pictured: the annoying matching rings