Dating in the BOI: Ghost of the Ex

Being single — whether it’s in Boise or another city — there’s moments where you feel like there’s a ghost of boyfriend (or girlfriends’) past.


What do I mean?

Lately, I’ve been reflecting on my recent dating experiences and the takeaway from each one. I feel it’s essential given I’m not having the most positive experiences.

One common denominator is that none of them have elevated to a level of genuine seriousness like I had with my ex.


This is where ghost of boyfriend’s past comes in.


I don’t share much on my blog about my personal life, but I think it’s important for this post.


My most recent relationship was the one where I underwent the most change: love, adoration, pain, hurt, sorrow, laughter.


Backstory:

I met Mr. Handsome (that was my name for him in my cellphone) in late 2012, during my last year of law school. He was my escape. After being highly engaged as a student, I was in need of my own space from my law school duties.

Insert Mr. Handsome.

  • Tall (6’4)
  • Older by 3 years (which I prefer)
  • Dreads
  • Father
  • Worked in education

Over the course of November & December, Mr. Handsome and I had a connection that i hadn’t had since my last boyfriend.


We:

  • Talked on the phone every night during the week (he had his daughter on the weekend due to a temporary custody visit schedule)
  • Met up at a location between our respective places we lived ( i lived in Portland, ME and he lived in Auburn, ME)
  • Usually met either at the LL Bean in Freeport or a McDonald’s in Gray, ME
  • Talked for hours ( I remember he and I being tired the next day because we were out too late)

After about 6 dates or so, he asked me while we were packing up from a night of bowling:

Mr. Handsome: Can we be daters?

Me: Daters?

Mr. Handsome: Yes (shyly).


We’ve been on 6 dates (Mr. Handsome loves numbers and he would remember dates & periods of time).

I thought it was cute, because he was basically asking if we could be exclusive.


That was the beginning. During the course of our relationship, I thought I found my person. He was introverted but ideal for my outgoing personality, introduced me to his interests, we had our own language and ways of talking to each other, and our own routine.


But lots happened in between:

  • Met his little girl (took 6 months to meet her, which I’m proud about)
  • Met his family
  • Moved in together
  • He won primary custody of his daughter
  • Broke up
  • Moved out
  • Got back together
  • Broke up
  • Got engaged
  • Broke up
  • Moved away

Yes, did you catch that? We were engaged.


See, the thing is that our relationship was complex, filled with raw emotions, real love, and lots of back and forth. I thought engagement would be the best next step.

No, unfortunately not.


I’ll just say this: sometimes you can’t fall in love with the potential or hope of what the person will become.  I don’t question whether or not he cared for me, but he couldn’t reciprocate the love I needed in return.


Thus, broken engagement left me distraught and having to leave the life I built in Maine.


Now, I’m here in Boise, living a life where I’m Working in a field I love, traveling , and enjoying exploring


So why am I saying all of this?


I know a few of you who read my blogs (thank you!), whether married or single, go through the motions of relationships. If you’re single like me, there will be moments where you think of the times with those from your past.


Last year before moving to Boise, I wouldn’t entertain those thoughts. I buried them so deep inside, I’d forget about my time with my ex, the life we could of had, and the life I left in Maine.


With these recent dating experiences, I’m  realizing I’m attempting to absolve myself with any thoughts of my previous life. these dates have left me to feel empty.


The issue with this method is that nothing is absolved. It’s a temporary fix. None of them give me that feeling of Yes, I’d like to learn more about him. Maybe it’s a Virgo thing or maybe it’s my personality (or a little bit of both), I don’t quickly fall for someone. Honestly, it takes me quite some time to establish a real connection with another person. I do not share the “real” me until I feel they are worthy.


I’m using this post to celebrate what I’ve got from my past relationship with Mr. Handsome, and thinking of the days we’d meet again. Maybe to talk, maybe for closure. Not sure.


Artifacts from the Ex:

  • Enjoy watching English Premier league and US Soccer
  • Hard to listen to Bob Marley Songs
  • My jeep (his dad helped me select it when car shopping)
  • Blue Memphis sweatshirt
  • My gray calf boots (his mom gave them to me)
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Tirtles (his daughter loved watching the cartoon)
  • Drink Blue Moon (his fav)
  • Hard to look at lead singer of Rage Against the Machine (someone said he looks like him when he had dreads)
  • Appreciation for running (his fav way to stay in shape)
  • Learning that I cannot wait for the day to become a mother

When dating someone who has children from a previous relationship, it can be challenging if you break up. The hardest part of the breakup was saying goodbye to his little girl. I lived with her for over a year. My bond with her was deep, rich, and impacted me in ways I can never truly express in words. From her hugs to her personalized handmade letters, she gave me a snippet into what life may be like as a (then) step mom. Saying goodbye was heart wrenching and a moment of my life I would not want to re-live.


Moving forward, I plan to focus on my priorities. And I’ll admit (finally), dating isn’t one of them. I’m no longer interested in spending time on the whole let-me-get-to-know-you show. All I end up doing anyway is thinking about my ex; no one even remotely comes close to my connection with him.

  • Wasting time respond to a text
  • No longer responding to subtle attempts to seek attention
  • Deactivate my dating profiles
  • Cutting someone out the moment they play stupid & ridiculous games

I’m going to Date Myself.

Yes, that’s what I said.

Do things I’ve put in the back burner, such as:

  • Get back into running
  • Get back into reading
  • Get back to aimlessly roaming a city with no expectations
  • Get back to event planning
  • Get back to ME

Ghost of boyfriend’s past is a reality. I acknowledge it, and I’ve grown from it. Cheers to growth!

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