I should not read romance novels. This is something I remind myself every time I finish one, and yet, I end up picking up another cliché pile of pages, the cover adorned with a too good looking couple on a farm or by the water, and I find myself engrossed in the same story again. Because, let’s face it, every dime-store romance follows the same basic formula: boy meets girl in some wacky way, boy and girl start falling in love (and probably don’t admit it), boy and/or girl screws up and they part ways, boy and girl realize they can’t live without each other, boy and girl live happily ever after.
My romantic life has strayed from this formula quite a bit. Being a stupid, hopeless romantic, I strive to have the relationship that these books portray, but I have yet to obtain it, though it’s not for lack of trying. I’ve had three longterm, committed relationships in my adult life, all of which were laughably loathsome.
Let’s start at the beginning, with my ex-husband. He and I worked together, and in hindsight, should have never taken our friendship to the next level. I moved in with him two days after our first date, and we were married a bit more than five months after that. Yeah, yeah, I know. But at the time, it seemed like a good idea. At first, it seemed I had finally found my romance novel—he was good looking and sweet, and I ignored the constant glass of raspberry gin and grape juice or the joint that was in his hand. And then we moved to the small, redneck town that he grew up in. And his drinking and the drugs got even worse. And I started to get used to seeing him for about a half hour a day when we were getting ready for work. (Seriously—I spent my 30th birthday alone, in tears, because he was out with his buddies.) And I got used to broken promises. The divorce came, and the abuse started; I was told I was fat, a bitch, not a real woman, and many more choice names that I won’t mention here (from both him and his new fiancée). I’m not sure what I was expecting—I mean I did go into the marriage knowing I was wife #4 or 5 (I can’t remember which).
Next up was the mechanic. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson with the ex-husband, because I ignored his past as well (in this case it was full of cheating) and jumped in. And guess what? He cheated on me. Shocking, I know! I won’t say much more about that relationship; it’s not worth my words. But it left me heartbroken and I was single for years after the mechanic—between the ex-husband and him, I was left very leery of love and the opposite sex.
Fast forward to about three or four years ago. I signed up for OkCupid (read my thoughts on online dating here) and connected with a man that seemed to be “the one”. Everything seemed great—he was kind, generous, had two adorable kids that I started forming a bond with, and I thought I had found in him what I was lacking in my previous relationships, so I began knocking down my walls and letting him fully in. But, surprise, he was whack. His walls turned out to be indestructible and no matter what I did, he refused to remove even a few bricks. And proving he was a complete emotional idiot, this man (who is over 40) broke up with me via text message because he “couldn’t face” seeing me. Yup, I wish I was making that part up. Don’t worry, my eyes are rolling too.
And that, my friends, is where the journey has come to a halt. I broke up with OkCupid Guy over two years ago, and have remained single. Which may be for the best; my life is in a bit of a weird place, and I wouldn’t be too appealing to many men. (Grammar check wants me to make that a question, which I find interesting.) Instead, I spend my time reading stupid books that fuel my romantic fire, the smoke of the inferno going up my nose and into my brain, making me believe that, even with these horrible experiences, soul mates and true love do indeed exist.
What’s some of the best, or worst, dating advice you’ve received? Does anyone have any hysterically horrible dating stories to share?