Thursday, July 29, 2010

The One That Got Away

This past Saturday, Andrew Cohen wrote an article about a woman he used to date who was marrying another man:

Some readers found it touching and others found it creepy. Columnist Lizzie Skurnik weighed in here.  I found it a little bit of both, though I have to agree with the critics who found the article more about Andrew than his lost love, and who thought his offering her "worldly absolution from any guilt or sadness she felt between the time she said no to me and the time she said yes to him" was a bit superfluous, seeing as how she was marrying another man, a circumstance most people would accept as evidence that she had moved on.

But mostly I found it puzzling, because I have a hard time identifying with the idea of the one who got away.  I must admit, my romantic life has been far from typical. The only relationships I have had that lasted longer than 8 weeks  are my two marriages. I'm not sure what that says about me, maybe that I'm very good about not wasting other people's time? The other thing is that the only break-up I initiated was my divorce from my ex-husband. In all the other cases I was the one dumped. Nonetheless, I categorize the relationships as Narrow Escape 1, Narrow Escape 2, Narrow Escape 3, Narrow Escape 4, Sweet Jesus, I actually married that man, what was I thinking, Narrow Escape 5, three mostly platonic friends one of whom was probably gay and then Hubby! Yay, I finally did something right! Okay, to be fair, Narrow Escapes 2 and 3 were nice guys who had the sense to realize we weren't right for each other before I did, and Narrow Escape 1 was as young and immature as I was. But Narrow Escape 4 put up red flags I didn't recognize when he complained about how his mother stuck him and his father with "her jobs" while recovering from her hysterectomy and Narrow Escape 5 lived with what looked like post-college surroundings into his late thirties, an inability to treat himself well that suggested maybe he wouldn't have treated me any better in the long run. Besides, I suspect if ex-hubby and I had broken up before we married, I would have remembered him as a nice guy who had the sense to realize we weren't right for each other instead of knowing him as the abuser he turned out to be. 

I actually ran into one of the mostly platonic friends about four years after my marriage. We looked at each other for a bit saying, "You look familiar" before recalling we had actually had a few dates. He had also married and we managed to congratulate each other on having found happiness without adding out loud "with someone else, thank the Lord". I doubt any of the others remember me, but if they do, I'm Narrow Escape number whatever. Fair enough.

Hubby, fortunately for me, is the one who didn't get away. We have the same values, the same political views, the same attitude toward money and spending, and just enough differences in personality and in taste in music, movies and the like to keep life interesting. If I hadn't had the good fortune to get dumped by all those other dudes, I might never have found him.  

Sometimes I get all the luck.