I wrote a comment on an April Fool post talking about loves past and present. Both her post and the comments are worth reading.

The subject got me thinking about one of the women I was going to spend the rest of my life with… and the one that I eventually managed.

All things considered, my ex Evangeline and I dated for way too long. Shortly after we got together one of her exes re-entered the picture. Things got messy when she left me for him, he left her for someone else, and I took her back. They never recovered. We rapidly found the locus of power in our relationship to be firmly on her shoulders. That made me feel powerless and her feel burdened. I was always mad and she was always aloof.

The biggest issue was that she stood me up over and over again. I eventually started keeping a spreadsheet. I can tell you with a reasonable degree of accuracy that in the last six months of the affair she showed up on time 12% of the time, 8% of the time she was within an hour, and 13% of the time she was within two hours. When she wasn’t within two hours, 7% of the time she actually showed, 41% of the time she did not show up but called to let me know she wouldn’t, and 52% of the time she did not show up, did not call, and most of that time (I don’t have stats for this) she would avoid me for a few days.

I’m not trying to demonize her. She was going through a lot herself. My behavior was not helping a thing. On one hand it was obvious that I was completely devoted to her. On the other hand I kept telling her that I couldn’t take it anymore. She said that she might start being more reliable if she wasn’t so worried about making me angry. I said I might stop getting angry if she’d stop standing me up.

So why did we both stick around? Because we loved each other. To this day I believe we did.

Flash forward a couple of years and I meet my now-wife Clancy at a Christmas party. It was a long distance relationship, but we made it work. The most amazing thing wasn’t how much I felt as quickly as I did – and I felt a lot, very quickly – but how easy it was. How she would come down on weekends when she said she would and she was able. How I wasn’t mad at all when she had to cancel. How problems were brought up and remediated quickly.

That’s not to say we never had disagreements. We still do. It’s also not to say we’ve always been perfect to one another. We haven’t. There were a couple times when we almost parted ways. The issues we dealt with were sometimes very difficult, but the relationship itself never has been.

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand is that relationships are not just about whether you love someone or how much you do. It’s about how you love that person. It’s about what that love motivates you to do. It’s about who it motivates you to be.

Within weeks of meeting Clancy, I realized that she made me want to be perfect. Or at the least as good a man as I could possibly be. From the moment I realized that to the day of our wedding day was a long, winding technicality.

Category: Coffeehouse

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