Last year I wrote a piece for Too Damn Young directed to my future boyfriend. However, it isn’t a prerequisite to read because I graduated and am done with all that silly “pre” stuff, but it was fun to go back and read it and then start this column. So in that piece, you met my checklist of what a boyfriend should look like; now for my new column, meet my current boyfriend, D.
I’ll start at the beginning, we met in a grocery store. I was upset because I couldn’t remember how to make my mom’s chicken pot pie and his cart bumped mine. When he tried to apologize he was confused why I was crying. Little did he know I wasn’t crying about him bumping my cart, but I was crying because I couldn’t decide what kind of broth to use. After explaining this, he called his mom and got her recipe and then I invited him back for dinner and it was love ever since.
Not. We met on tinder.
And while that phrase is slowly becoming more acceptable to say in public, I still tell my family that we met online to sort of, soften the blow.
When I first matched with D, he spouted off about a bajillion acronyms for his personal training certifications all because I said the words, “I used to teach a fitness class.” Which in no way translates to “I speak National Academy of Sports Medicine,”(NASM in case you were wondering about how to use the acronyms) but that’s what D thought. Regardless of his overly enthusiastic response about matching with someone who knew her way around a gym and who owns more articles of fitness clothing than regular clothing, he actually kept me interested enough to continue texting him. I say that not because I’m the high maintenance kind of girl that has to be entertained in order to respond ( well, sometimes I am…), but rather because I really hate the meaningless conversation about “how your day was when we haven’t met” and you are uncertain if there is any chemistry. Like, why would I waste my time texting you if I’m also not fantasizing about kissing you the next time we meet? In other words, 8/10 of the guys I matched with on Tinder never made it to a date and fizzled out within four days. So, let’s just take a moment of silence for those poor guys I very adamantly avoided kissing with the “duck and move” tactic. It was obvious and painful for them and for that I am (not) sorry.
Unlike the others to come before him, D kept me entertained and I was eager to exchange phone numbers very soon after matching. We went out for our first drink about a week later.
Now, historically when I would go out and meet a new guy for a date my getting ready routine looked something like this:
6:00: Call mom and ask if I should just cancel because I don’t want to waste my time
6:05 She would tell me to go anyway and remind me that I can just be friends if I don’t like him.
6:10 Pour a glass of wine
6:15 Fix lipstick and continue to complain about how much I hate dating
6:20 Promise to call my mom in the morning and tell her how it went
Unfortunately, I don’t get to go through that ritual anymore since my mom, well, isn’t exactly “around” anymore. She died two years ago which makes every situation ten times more difficult when it comes to figuring out this “adulting” thing, or even the barely-adulting-thing of dating.
D was the first guy to make it to a third date (I normally give the average guys at least two dates) and he is also the first official boyfriend I’ve had since I lost my mom- which I think is more monumental than graduating (like I HAD to graduate from college, but boyfriends were the first to get cut when things got hard). Just ask my ex, A. He got the boot when I found out my mom was dying.
He said something along the lines of “I can’t make it to the funeral when it happens” and then I stopped dating him.
D has made it to month six. He’s put up with my crazy, ever-grieving self for half a year. God bless him. He managed to keep me calm through my grandmother’s death, the time after we watched “Revenant” when I got really sad because of the dead mom in the movie, and even on the two-year anniversary marker of my mom’s death. He’s put up with my nightmares, with my questions about what happens to our energy (energy, not soul because I have very specific questions) after we die, and even puts up with all the Cheryl Strayed articles I send him about feelings and emotions and grieving. (And if you haven’t read Cheryl Strayed anything and are trying to cope with loss, go do it now).
I wish I could say that these things listed above were the only times I get a little post-mom crazy. Being in a relationship has brought out new challenges when it comes to figuring out who I am in this world without the guidance and support of my mom (who for me, was 120% the Lorelai Gilmore to my Rory.)
I opened myself up and decided that being vulnerable was going to be ok with D around. Which doesn’t make being this open any less terrifying. He still ends up pulling out whatever is bothering me with pliers and that definitely doesn’t mean I have this new “girlfriend with a dead mom” role figured out, but I’m working on it so, and my guess is so are a few of you (kudos for making it that far! It took me two and a half years!) So, welcome to my attempt to be the Carrie Bradshaw of grieving girlfriends and grieving single ladies just trying to figure out the dating and relationship world post-loss.