The Girl Who Came Before

A few months ago at a wine bar in Chelsea, I nervously fiddled with my phone, texting some friends who thought I was crazy, and rightfully so. I mean, I was meeting the ex-girlfriend of a guy I had dated, a woman who I had heard time-and-time again “I was just like.” I had read her blog, followed her Twitter and knew her name – but I didn’t know her. I only knew second-hand information, the words of someone who had been hurt and disappointed, but yet was a someone I cared deeply for.

So why was I here, sipping wine with a lovely, tall brunette who was chatting away and reminding me more and more of myself by the minute? Well, maybe Mr. Something-or-Another was right. Could it be true that there was another me out there and we both happened to deliberately move to New York to be editors? To live in tiny apartments, happily (well, most of the time) meet and date Manhattan men, go sailing on the weekends, chase pigeons, and share a certain dislike for pickles? (Though I can eat them fried – but I’m Southern, so I’m allowed.)

The similarities were startling at first, but as time passed and a friendship developed, it stopped being so strange. Emails turned into Gchat, texting into being Facebook friends, drinks into events and figuring out the things we have in common that the Mr. never discovered.

Before meeting her –we’ll call her K – I had an idea in my head of what she would be like. I, too, had her up on a pedestal of this unattainable, heart-breaking dreamgirl. But what I have learned from her was the exact lesson she hoped I would when she reached out to me the first time: that she wasn’t that maneater at all. She was like me – another lady in New York who dated a guy and it didn’t work out. There are two sides of every dating story and then there’s the truth, but there’s also truth in the fact that if people really have a type, there’s a good chance you may like the girls a guy used to be with. Hell – you may even be similar to them, so why build them up to be something more than what they are?

Now, K is a magazine mentor, but more importantly, a friend. I like to think of her as my dose of reality and a voice of reason when I worry about my career, about boys or really, about anything. She has a strong grasp on the city, often serving as my go-to for recommendations when I’m planning a night out. In a lot of ways – she’s where I see myself in a few years and chatting with her, as the Mr. always predicted I would, gives me some hope for the New York life I’ve yet to live.

Today, as we were talking, we stumbled across the topic of my blog and she said something that stuck with me: “It’s funny, reading your blog. I think you’ll be interested, reading it again in a few years. You’re going to have all the same realizations over and over again in different situations.”

A little over two years older than me, K has experienced everything and more that I’ve written about on these pages. And some topics I haven’t posted, but we’ve discussed (I may get to chatting about more risqué topics eventually). And while going through a 12-step program to cure a love addiction I diagnosed myself with seemed like a great idea nine months ago, K and some other friends and characters have taught me that maybe, I misdiagnosed myself.

Could it be that I’m just normal? That K, too at my age in the situations I faced, perhaps acted the same way? Felt with the same intensity? Or any of my other friends who happen to be 20-something women who want to find love as much as they run away from it? Anyone who has ever been disappointed by a man or has fallen in love with the wrong one, as K said, “over and over again”?

It isn’t love addiction – it’s being a woman who experiences normal feelings, thinks thoughts similar to the gal next to her and has characteristics like the girl who came before her.

We may not all have a twin – physically anyway – but if you look, or if you happen to meet a reader who figured out your blog’s riddle – you may realize a comforting notion that if you’re going through it right now…you’re not the first. You probably won’t be the last, either. Addicted to love or just growing up learning lessons you’ll learn again – rest assured there’s someone close by who’s right there with you. And someone who has done it before and someone who will do it again.

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5 thoughts on “The Girl Who Came Before

  1. Lindsay, I love your message with this it’s so true. When you go through any relationship from beginning to end. Sometimes we often forget the past relationships of what our significant others had before us. Or what they become attracted to over time as well. That’s so true. I’ve noticed it even with some of the boys and men I may have dated in the past too. I agree the best thing to do is to feel your way out with the ex-girlfriend. Knowing too much can scare you, but hearing the positive qualities always helps though.

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