What If?

The first time we truly connected, it was strong. We’d met before, were acquaintances even, but it wasn’t the same this day. It was clear to me that we had something to pursue and it was exciting.

At the time, I was in a relationship that had fizzled out. I had already shared with close friends and family that I felt complacent…and how could I feel complacent at only 22 years old? I had my whole life ahead of me and figured complacency was a sensation you felt after being happily married for 20 years with grown kids.

We’d been together nearly four years, and it was time to move forward and seriously discuss marriage, or to move on. The idea of marriage with this person seemed normal, appropriate almost, but didn’t excite me quite the way I felt like it should. I would ask myself, “Is this the way it’s supposed to feel?” Sometimes I felt like everything we had going was good, it wasn’t incredible, but it was good. I had convinced myself that the only reason I was questioning what we had was because of the falsifications that movies and the media promote. You don’t need to be head over heels to be truly in love and genuinely happy. You don’t need to be regularly romantic with each other. I had a sidekick, a best friend, who was always by my side…but at the end of the day, it just wasn’t enough. I realized I’d been questioning the authenticity of our relationships for months and once I’d come to that conclusion, I knew it was truly over.

At this point, you and I had a spark. It may have been little, but it was something. I felt it on your birthday, but didn’t make much of it. Assumptions are often followed by foolishness, so I ignored the initial spark. Plus, I still had loose ends to tie. The next morning, we sat at brunch with some friends. Our eyes met several times and we exchanged a few flirtatious smiles.

We chatted sporadically for the following weeks, but only in a friendly manner. I had taken a week off of work to visit my best friend in Vegas for my 23rd birthday, only to return to finalize my break-up. Only a week had passed by and you asked me over for wine and cooked me dinner. I hadn’t felt butterflies of excitement in years. I didn’t even recognize the feeling at first. But a thought crossed my mind. Was it too soon? I had just broken off a relationship of nearly four years, and a week later I’m on a date with someone new who surely (I think) I have a connection with. The evening went on and I didn’t think much more of it.

A few weeks later and I found myself head over heels for you. I don’t ever remember feeling quite this way before. Sure, I’d been in a long term relationship prior, but it just wasn’t the same. This is the way I may have felt about my first high school boyfriend. Juvenile almost. So I let myself soak in the enjoyment of the “honey-moon phase.” We were kissing in public, drinking wine on a blanket in the park. We couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. We had become the couple that I’d always envied and and was, frankly, sickened by in the past.

Then it began. Rumination over the dreaded “what if.” Why was I worrying about what could go wrong when everything was going so right? How did I get to this pessimistic perspective on this newly found excitement in my life? Why was I trying to self-sabotage something that I genuinely wanted?

At first, I couldn’t answer those questions. I didn’t understand why after six months of spending time with you, a man I’d fallen completely and utterly in love with, I couldn’t trust that it was genuine. I trusted you, but not our love. Our love was too good to be true. It felt like an illusion.

Then I figured it out. It was two things: I felt guilt as a result of the bliss I had been experiencing, and I felt insecure as a result of my last relationship’s outcome. Why should I be happy and in a new relationship when the last person I was with is (possibly) still contemplating the legitimacy of our former relationship? Who’s to say you won’t end up feeling the same way for me that I did for my ex after four years? These questions crowded my head and left no room for practical thoughts. To this day, I’m still working on fighting these unnecessary and unrealistic thoughts, because I know that they are just that. I do deserve to be happy.

Still, at times I find myself looking for something that is wrong with our relationship. I often wonder if the minimal year we’ve spent together thus far will ever compare to all of the experiences you had with your ex, whom you’d spent 20% of your 32 years of life with. I wonder if you’ve truly moved on emotionally considering that at one point you’d longed to marry her and spend the rest of your days with her. Sometimes, unfortunately enough, I even I wonder if you really want to be in this relationship, or if you simply desire this relationship because I’m supportive of your aspirations…because it’s good for you and it’s the kind of relationship you should be in…because your friends and family are happy for you.

Ninety percent of the time I realize how unfair that mindset is to you, the relationship we both cherish, and mostly, to me. The other ten percent, I’m tirelessly working on.

I’m optimistic that at some point I will feel like the only girl in the world that you’ll ever love again, but in the meantime, I fear that my insecurities might damage the full potential that we have. It seems as though I have some emotional obstacles to work through, but then again, don’t we all?