Upon returning from my summer internship in New York after my sophomore year in college, I found myself incredibly bored.
Though I had a fantastic group of friends, a demanding associate editor position at the school newspaper, and a college town that welcomed me back with gold-and-black open arms – I missed my city, and nothing seemed to measure up to it. It took me a while to adjust and return back to a comfortable state so I could settle in for another one-and-a-half years of college. And to help me pass the time was Mr. Temporary.
That year for my sorority’s (yes, I’m Greek, no judging) semi-formal not only was I dress-less, but also date-less. Though I tried to project the impression that it didn’t bother me, I did hope that suddenly, out of the framework, someone would appear for me to dance the night away with. To my surprise, my sister, B, hooked me up with a friend of a friend whom she thought I would at least enjoy the company of for an evening.
She was right.
At first glance, Mr. Temporary had the stats of a promising boyfriend: tall, olive skin, green eyes, killer smile, and well-dressed. If you like the cowboy-type-of-thing (I’m not a huge fan), he had that special little twang that’s only derived South of the Mason-Dixon. He was also talented, had goals for himself, and he told me I looked beautiful when he first laid eyes on me. That’s a brownie point in my book.
However, as we continued to see each other after the semi-formal and I learned more about him – I realized how far from my type he actually was. Though he was very intelligent, he was closed-minded about the issues that mattered the most to me. He did want a career with children, which is admirable, but just the thought of New York made him want to gag. He had a very attractive physique, but his kissing skills were way below par for his age. Or really, for any age.
So why, sitting across him over Spicy Tuna and Shrimp Tempura rolls, I agreed to turn my Claddagh ring around, is beyond me.
Maybe it was being lonely and enjoying just having the company of someone, or the way he seemed to be smitten with me, or the safety net of not having to be labeled as single – but something, against my better judgement decided to be an item with a man who I knew would never be the one for the long run. While I really don’t feel like I have any regrets thus far in my life, I will say I made a very poor decision by being “exclusive” with Mr. Temporary.
In the two or three months we dated -I lost interest day-by-day. When we introduced sex into the relationship, I was horrified at how awful it was and how much it lacked passion. When I met his mother, who didn’t know how to stop talking for the entire time we were at dinner, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could stand to be her daughter-in-law. When I met his roommate for the first time, it took every ounce of restraint in me to not flirt with him – for he was miles more attractive than Mr. Temporary. And when it was time to celebrate Valentine’s Day and I knew the girlfriend-thing to do was to buy him something, I couldn’t find any card (even in the “I like you” section) that was appropriate for what I felt.
Mainly because I didn’t really feel anything. That is, anything but fear of being alone.
Sadly, the thing to release me from clinging onto something because I was so terrified of having seemingly-nothing, was the death of my best friend L’s mother. On Friday the 13th, the day before St. Valentine’s infamous day, she lost her 10-year battle with breast cancer, and after I received the bad-news phone call, I rushed out of class and back to embrace L. I sent a quick text message to Mr. Temporary letting him know I would be missing Valentine’s Day and the entire weekend - and then ceased talking to him for four days.
I didn’t even respond to worried texts or calls or Facebook posts because not only was I mourning the loss of a beautiful, wise, and strong woman, consoling L to the best of my ability (there really aren’t words you can say, even as a writer) – I was also using this time to liberate myself from Mr. Temporary. And perhaps, I took that liberation a tad bit far.
I happened to run into Mr. Fling right after the funeral, tears still slightly plummenting down my cheeks, and needing to get back to school for a newspaper meeting that I sincerely didn’t want to attend. He comforted me, held me close, and kissed my eyelids so very tenderly. And in that moment of weakness, in that second of sincerity and care that he offered me, I allowed myself to fall into him. A kiss led to snuggling, which led to a black dress on the floor, which brought us to…
Needless to say, with a million different feelings running haywire in my heart and soul, I knew when I returned back to school – the very last thing I needed was one more headache, especially when I knew I would be causing a heartache. And so, with integrity and honesty, I confessed what I had done and things ended with Mr. Temporary as easily as they began. I made no excuses for cheating and don’t accept them if it’s the other way around, but I was truthful by telling him the reason I strayed wasn’t due to him, but was completely me. I didn’t cry, I didn’t get upset, and I didn’t really mind him being gone. Because that weekend, I learned a very important lesson about life and about love.
It is true that life is short and if you ever enter a relationship with the mindset that it will only be an in-between type of love or someone to fill the cold spot in your bed – you are wasting your time (and their time). Even if you are not seeking a forever partner, marriage, or happily ever after – if you’re allowing the romantic part of your soul to be captivated by someone who doesn’t satisfy, excite, or really match you, the ending will only be hurtful the longer it continues. While some relationships are not meant to last, our hearts are built to endure pain, and the intensity felt at midnight isn’t always as strong when the sun peeks above the skyline – in terms of love, if you know before you even get started that it is fleeting feeling, save yourself the trouble.
Break free of the bounds of fear, of those nagging voices in our heads that tell us that Mr. Right Now is acceptable if we aren’t having any luck meeting Mr. Right, and of our bodies who lust for attention and petting, even if it isn’t the most enjoyable of experiences. Allow the love you have for yourself to gain momentum, take pride in the ability you have to depend on your own person, and for his sake, don’t lead Mr. Temporary on. Especially if there is a Mr. Fling readily available.