I have recently come to terms with what it’s like to be the girl before the girl, y’all. And it’s not fun. In fact, it sucks ass.
The in-between, a practice run, an incredibly dysfunctional cupid.
Let me explain.
Last week, I got a call from an ex — a man I truly believed I’d one day see in a tux smiling at me from the end of a churchaisle. He’s been dating the same girl since we broke up two years ago, and the crushing words that came out of his mouth were ones I had secretly prayed I’d never hear: “Wendi,” he said, “I’m going to marry her.”
I promptly burst into all the ugly snot tears.
See, this isn’t the first time I’ve been the girlfriend before the girlfriend who
becomes the wife. It has happened — you’re not going to believe this — eight times (and I’m only 30)! It’s like I’m prepping guys for marriage to someone else. If you look on Yelp, my reviews are a solid 5 stars across the board.
An incredibly dysfunctional cupid.
By definition, I am the girl guys are with in-between serious relationships. They turn to me at vulnerable points in their lives without really realizing it. I’m a space-filler, a safe place to go because I am consistent and that’s what they need or are looking for at that particular time in their life.
I’ve heard all of the names: rebound, hookup, friend with benefits — but none of them seem to fit.
It starts out as something innocent. We figure it will be a one-time thing, especially considering he just got out of a relationship. Or he’s just not looking for something serious. Or we’re friends trying to test the waters, figuring out if we’d be good as more than that.
But then it happens.
We develop those pesky feelings.
And things begin spiral beyond our control.
We officially enter the grey area.
In relationships, that damn grey area is the worssssst. Are we friends? More than friends? Or just complete strangers who shared this undeniable spark, if only for a mere days, weeks, month? We’ll share laughs, smiles, inside jokes. We see the what could bes, and are swiftly moving in that direction. But then something happens that knocks me on my ass.
We’ll have an awkward encounter – or worse – a shitty text convo, and I’ll feel seasick on dry land because I have to face the music that I’m just the in-between girl. The end result usually being the inevitable droppage of the, “It’s not you, it’s me,” bomb.
After a lot of introspective thinking, and ice cream (just so much ice cream), I’ve come to realize that he’s actually right. It’s not me. It really is him.
It’s all of the hims who’ve said goodbye to a great relationship in place of another one. It’s not me.
It’s all of the hims who were unsure, confused or just not ready for a commitment. It’s not me.
It’s all of the hims who were perfectly good guys, just not the perfectly good guy for me.
The truth is, there is no manual for this, no “Dating for Dummies.” We’re all trying to figure it out as we go. For me, it’s been quite the trial-and-error process. There have been a lot of ups, just as many downs and quite a few in-betweens.
But maybe that’s all part of the process. Maybe we go through these trials in order to figure out what it is we actually want and deserve.
Maybe it’s all worth it?
Because one day, I promise you, someone will choose us first.