Friday, November 30, 2012

How We Met: The Prequel

I've been out reading a lot of "How We Met" stories on mommy bloggers that I follow and I thought that I might record mine and Matt's. It may not be exciting and fantastic... but it is important. Important to me, to my husband, and to my children, because it is the story of how our little family began.

But, to tell our story, I'm going to have to take you back a little farther, to before I met Matt, so that you can see why I met Matt the way that I did. And perhaps, unfortunately, that means that I'm going to tell the story of the guy before Matt, the one that didn't pan out (thankfully). It is kind of an embarrassing story for me, because I was stupid. And when I tell it, you will probably think, "Man, she is stupid, what is wrong with her." But, I like to think that I had to be stupid and have the bad relationship before I could recognize a good relationship.

It was the Winter of 2005, I was in my senior year of college and was living at my sister Marie's condo in Provo. I was attending a singles ward that included a couple of sets of condos and a lot of homes in the area. Some students lived in the ward, but it was mostly made up of adults who had graduated from college and were now full into their careers, but still unwed; and laze about townies that were not in college and just were not inclined to move far from home

So, instead of trying for one of the successful, diligent men who had their lives planned out, I fell for a laze about. I met him at church and he was everything that I had already dated before: shy, quiet, tall, had never had a girlfriend, and needy. I don't know why I kept going for this type of guy. I had dated 4 of these already, but I kept going back to this personality because I suppose it was familiar and comfortable. I knew how to be a fantastic first girlfriend. I knew how to get guys ready for the next girl. I don't know why I didn't learn that this was a bad thing... sooner.

I don't remember anything about our early courtship except that we started dating exclusively quite quickly, and after two weeks of being boyfriend and girlfriend, I was thoroughly smitten and confessed my love. And then... things got... complicated.

In my mind, I started planning a life with him. I would graduate from college and we would get married and live in Provo and be joyously happy. He, on the other hand had no idea what he wanted to do with life. He couldn't make plans for the next week let alone for his life. I only had one semester left of college and he had not attended college at all. He was unhappy a not small amount of the time and was very negative about me, about our relationship, about his job, and about life in general and his negativity really pulled me down. 

I became not myself. I was crying all the time, I was sad all the time, and I started to pull away from my family and friends because they consistently would tell me that this guy was no good for me. My sisters would tell me to dump him and move on because he obviously did not make me happy. They also told me that he was weirdly quiet and reserved; like he was withholding things (they secretly nicknamed him Frankenstein). And I would scoff and say, "What? I've never been more in love and he is wonderful." The relationship I had and the one in my head were not the same thing.

So, I prayed because maybe, just maybe, my sisters might be on to something. I prayed one night and asked Heavenly Father if life was supposed to be this hard. Was I really meant to be this miserable and confused all the time? I asked if I was really supposed to end up with gloomy gus and the answer I got was, "You can do it, but it won't be easy." But in my mind, I heard, "You CAN do it." Awesome, I can do it, I'll make it through, I'm capable of making it work with this guy because I love him even though he is mean to me and makes me cry all the time. (See, I told you I would sound stupid.) 

Retrospectively, he was a manipulative and verbally down putting guy who used sly and cunning words to make me think that I was the problem, not him.

So, I stayed with this guy, I put my all into the relationship. I tried to do MORE thoughtful things for him. I tried to get gifts and do service and plan dates and parties for him and give him everything that I could think of. But, it didn't seem to be enough. He still told me that he didn't know if he saw a life with me. He really just wanted to see if there was anything better out there, and would I please wait for him while he did that? 

I was offended. I had been an amazing girlfriend (in my opinion), and he wanted to see if there was something out there better than me? OF COURSE THERE WASN'T. I'M AWESOME! Really, I'm grateful that he said this to me because it is really what kind of snapped me out of what seemed to be a cloud of cunning words and sweet kisses that kept me deluded into staying with this fella. So, I gave an ultimatum. I said either we needed to be moving forward toward something, or we needed to break up. We took a break.

It was Easter weekend, so I went up to stay with my parents in Eagle Mountain and lament about our fight and our break. My Mom told me that she was concerned about this guy and the way he was treating me and that she noticed red flags in our relationship and that it was the right choice to move on. ... And then he showed up at my parent’s doors with flowers and an apology and I fell for his sweet words all over again. My family indulged me and let him spend the holiday with us though I think that they were secretly cursing  his name and wishing that he had stayed away forever. But, we got back together... for two weeks.

Two weeks after Easter, my Mom called to tell me that my Dad was in the hospital. I went to my boyfriend’s house to find comfort and it turned into a conversation about him…and then into an argument. He told me that he had signed up for school at UVSC and that he was going to be a music major. I was in shock and hurt. Hurt because he had made a huge life plan without consulting me at all and I was here thinking that his apology meant that we were moving forward and that we were going to spend a life together and make plans together and he was making plans without me. I told him that there was no way that I was going to be one of those girls who put her man through school because he was too stupid to not go to college a long time ago (this is funny now... cuz look at where I am). I also told him that music was a stupid "non-major" that would be a colossal waste of money and time and would never further a career for him. 

And then he dumped me...possibly I was a little too blunt and possibly, I was upset that he was fighting with me on the same day that I found out my Dad was in the hospital. But to me, it felt like I was myself again. I was finally saying what I meant and not just taking the criticism and mean things that he would say to me all the time and going home to cry about it. I was me! Tactless, blunt, confident, ME!

And then, because he dumped me, I lamented. I went into what I refer to as my "dark post- breakup" period where I write a lot of poetry and listen to sad music and watch a whole lot of Buffy and Angel. My roommates were very familiar with this Becky. And, because he was in my ward, I still had to see him every week at church and ward prayer and at ward activities and explain to everyone in the ward that we were no longer together. And all of the extra time together possibly made my lament go on longer than it really needed to.

And after a whole month of lament, I decided it was time to move on. I decided to erase him from my blog which would be a symbol of erasing him from my life. So yes, you can go back to 2006 and look for the posts on this fella, but you will not find them. You might find some really bad poetry in April of 2006, but you won't find posts of our time together and you won't find pictures, because I deleted them all. I cropped and cut and edited him right out of my blog and therefore out of my life and it was refreshing.

At about this time, Gloomy Gus, as I am now calling him, came asked if I would talk to him after a ward function. We sat on the swing sets outside my condo and he talked. He told me a lot of things that I wish I never knew about him, and other things that made a lot of sense as to why our relationship didn't work. He also told me things that made me realize my Mom was right, there were red flags and I just didn't see them. He had serious problems with abuse. And, he was still trying to overcome many of the faults of his past. He told me that he lied to me again and again because he was trying to tell me what he believed that I wanted to hear. (Girls never like to be lied to, just as a note to all you fellas out there.)

He told me all about what I had done wrong in the relationship and why I had broken things for us. He asked if we could be friends. I said that there was no way that I could go from loving someone to being their pal. He got really mad and told me that my attitude was the reason that our relationship failed. He blamed it all on me and said that if I had just waited for him to date other people and worked on our friendship for a few months, that we could have succeeded. I told him he was crazy pants and obviously didn’t know anything about relationships… or girls.

He also told me that that day back on Easter, when he came to my parent's house to apologize, he actually came with an engagement ring and intended to propose to me, but stopped himself from doing it (thank goodness because I probably would have said, "yes" like a dummy).
After this conversation post break-up where he revealed his true self to me bluntly, without sugar coated words, I felt free. I felt so free to be out of what was a continually negative and hurtful relationship. I am so glad that he dumped me and set me free.

In the month of May, at the end of my lament, I started dating again. Of course, I started falling back into my pattern from days of old and got back in contact with my "guy friends" who I had neglected during the 6 months of my relationship with Gloomy. I started going out with my good friend from high school (the happy Mexican) who I had always had a kinda crush on though we had never officially dated. He was fun, constantly happy, and was complimenting me all the time. He really helped pull me out of my break-up funk. He made me feel good about me again. He had liked me since high school, and I always thought he was a lot of fun, but I knew that he wasn’t right for me. It was entertaining to go on dates and talk about old times, but it was also... something that I had already done before. I was doing the same thing again, returning to my same old habits and I finally realized that this would yield the same results as before. 

Then, my Mom told me that her friend Linda was in town for the weekend to introduce her new fiancé. Linda, is my Mom's age and had already been through two marriages (one divorce and one death) and had met her third hubby to be online. "Online?" I thought, "That's pretty weird." I thought that that was where people met crazies and fell in love with that crazy and then got killed in their sleep. But then I met Linda's fiancé and I thought, "Holy cow, this guy is super nice and Linda is really happy... If she can find someone awesome on a dating website and she is like 50, then why don't I try it and see what I find... it could be fun."

And so, I made a profile on because I was ready for something different. I was ready to meet someone new. I was ready to not date the same shy guy who had never kissed a girl and never had a girlfriend and didn't know how to act or how to treat me and I just let them treat me badly. I thought that maybe, just maybe, I deserved something more, someone better than the guy who had just treated me like crap. It wasn't him who needed to see if there was something better out there, it was me. And this dating website was my way to do that. But, I must admit that I was a little embarrassed that I had resorted to using a dating website. I thought, “How lame am I that I can’t meet quality guys on my very own.” But, I really wasn’t having luck meeting a different kind of guy I just kept circling the same groups, so I had to try something.

After a week of playing on the website; writing up a funny profile, uploading cute pictures of myself, taking a compatibility quiz, and perusing other guy’s profiles, I started to get some hits on my profile. I would get "flirts" which are basically little pictures that say, "Hi," "You're cute," "I like your smile" or some such other silly things. And then I started getting messages, but I couldn't read the messages until I signed up for an account. So, I signed up for one month of service. Little did I know that my future husband had also signed up for one month of service because he got a free one month voucher in the mail.

Knowing what I do now about Matt, I am very surprised that he signed up for a dating website. It is so very not in his personality to do something like that, nor to meet people online. It just isn't him. So, I like to think of it as fate, that we were always meant to meet. That whether it was on the website or somewhere else, we were always meant to find each other, but the website is just the way that it happened.

I had been on the website a couple of weeks when Matt sent me a flirt. I checked out his brief profile and it had all the things that I always told myself that I wanted in a guy, but never dared to go and try and get that kind of guy. It just said that he was a return missionary who led an active lifestyle and held a job. So, I sent him a flirt back. We ended up sending messages back and forth on the website until our memberships ran out, then he sent me emails. I liked him even before I met him because his emails were funny. I definitely like me a funny guy because... well, I think that I am funny, so I need someone funny to match me. Also, his emails were honest. Not just frivolous "what's your favorite sport" kind of emails, but he would describe his day to me and tell me what he thought about his day. It was refreshing. 

I found myself checking my email a lot to see if he had sent me a new email. When I would get it, I would quickly send my reply and then I would have to wait days again for his reply. It is possible that I was a little more into the emailing than he was. Something about the written word, I love it. Perhaps because I'm a writer, I find it more precious to be able to look back at the emails that we exchanged and actually read what our first conversations were. I didn't have to replay memories in my mind again and again because... I could just read about it; which really saves on memory space. If anyone knows me, you know that my memory is really really bad.

After two weeks of emails, I sent him my phone number and told him to call me. When I first heard his voice, I loved it. It was deep and manly and he just called me after he got off work and talked to me about his pet tarantula and for some reason I was so attracted to that voice. After a week of phone calls, he asked me out on our first date and that was the beginning of the beginning. Which, I will save for next time.


Sarah said...

Hmmm...this is definitely the worst part of your story, but it is well told. I like to think that pretty much all f us date an emotionally abusive shmuck at some point. You got Frankenstein, really too bad.

Jasmine said...

This is fun to hear, since I wasn't really around during all of this. :)

Marie said...

Yeah, I had to tell you to break up with a few of the guys you dated. Luckily you found Matt and were able to be happy instead of sad. I agree with Sarah. We all went through dating a bad guy, but luckily we all married good guys.

Laura said...

This all goes back to my philosophy about the givers and the takers. People who are selfish, self-obsorbed and takers look for kind, loving, givers so that they can continue to take, take, take. Unfortunately, after time, it wears down the givers and makes them unhappy because they can never give enough to make the takers happy. I'm just glad that you didn't marry any of the schmucks. I am eternally grateful that all of my girls found wonderful husbands and good fathers to my grandchildren. Many blessings. :)