Monday, December 19, 2011

A Christmas Love

It's this time of year that always reminds me of my dating years with Jason.  It was around this time nearly 5 years ago that I finally knew and understood 100% that I had met the man I was going to marry.

I haven't dated much.  I've had a few of casual boyfriends, but only three (including my husband) that lasted well over a year or more.  I began dating a boy my senior year of high school that I would have sworn to you was the ONE.  No questions asked.  We had decided to try the long distance relationship while we attended different universities, and it definitely did not work out.  I'm no good at distance relationship, and major respect to those of you that can.  The boy I was dating was a very nice guy, and we are still friends today.  However, we were both feeling the stress of wanting to experience college without the burden of such a serious relationship.

I met Jason in the spring of my freshman year of college, through a mutual friend.  I was still dating my high school boyfriend, though things were already going downhill.  Jason and I became fast friends, and I liked him, a lot.  He was fun, he was extremely laid back, and he seemed to be the life of the party anywhere we went.  That was the type of relationships I had decided that I needed.  Nothing major, nothing serious, just FUN.

The relationship with my high school boyfriend ended, and Jason and I began to casually date shortly after.  I still felt in my heart that I would casually date for my college years, have fun with friends, and still eventually marry my high school boyfriend.

My first red flag that Jason was looking for something more when he wanted to bring me home to his family super quickly.  Not cool.  I dismissed the red flag, thinking I was reading too much into it, and decided to go.   I mean, we were just hanging out, enjoying the company of each other.  Right? Wrong.  Other similar red flags popped up here and there, and I finally found clarity that Jason wanted this to go differently than I did.  I still had these feelings that if I was supposed to be in a serious relationship, I should be dating my high school boyfriend, not Jason.  I was convinced that Jason wasn't my "one" and ended things.  He wanted to remain friends, which was very easy for us.  We had classes together, we had mutual friends, it was unavoidable to be anything but friends.

I reunited with my high school boyfriend for a few brief weeks in the fall.  I was eager for him to come home from school for the Christmas holiday so that we could figure things out and get our relationship on the track that I felt it was "supposed" to be on.  What I found was not what I was looking for.

We exchanged gifts that year, and I had thoughtfully gotten him tickets to a game of a college basketball team that he loved (and I hated) while he was home so we could spend some time together.  His gifts to me included a baseball cap of his favorite MLB team and a hooded sweatshirt from his college.  There was absolutely no thought at all.  I was pretty insulted, and I immediately began to analyze things.  While I understood that his intention was that he wanted me to learn to like the things he liked, I saw it differently.  He didn't think of ME.  He didn't think of what I would like, he thought about what he WANTED me to like.  It was a moment of complete clarity how he viewed our entire relationship.  I knew it was over.  Regardless of my relationship with Jason, this one was officially over.  What was "supposed" to happen didn't happen, and I really wasn't that upset about it.  We broke up about a week later.

A few days later, Jason approached me very nervously.  I hadn't told him about my thoughts about my relationship, and I didn't really feel like he needed to know.  He told me that he knew I was dating someone else, but he had found something that he saw that made him think of me and wanted me to have it.  He handed me a very small box that had two ballerina Christmas ornaments.  He told me that he remembered that my mom had bought me a ballerina ornament every year, and how special that collection was.  He had walked into a store and saw them, then decided that he wanted to add to such a sentimental collection.

Completely unaware of anything going on with my high school boyfriend, he had just shown me completely the opposite of what I had been shown just a few days prior.  Jason thought of ME, and considered who I was.  It didn't matter if he liked it or not, he understood what I needed/wanted.  Again, I had a huge moment of clarity of how he viewed our relationship.  No matter what his feelings were, he put me first.  He made me a priority when doing anything that involved me.  He saw me as important enough just as I was, and didn't feel the need to encourage me to like the same things he did.  It didn't matter to him if we had the same interests.  What mattered to him was that I remained my own person, and that I was happy.  It was that exact moment that I finally realized that the man that was supposed to be my casual boyfriend had turned out to be my one and only.

We didn't begin dating again right away, and it was nearly a year before I ever told him of my revelation that Christmas.  When I finally told him about it, he admitted that he had hoped that the gift would make me see that we belonged together, and allow me to realize on my own who I was supposed to spend my life with. He didn't want to tell me that he felt we belonged together, he just wanted to show me.  All it took to show me was one ugly (if you are reading this, sorry A, but you know it's true) university sweatshirt and two delicate Christmas ornaments.

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