May is always a difficult month for me because it’s always filled with change. I’m moving to a new apartment this week, and I can look at the bare white walls of the place I’m moving out of and even they remind me of things. Specifically, times I made out with my ex-boyfriend against them.
We started dating around the time I moved in — I spent my first night there with him — and we ended our tumultuous off-and-on just now as I’m moving out. A lot of things happened in this space — three jobs, a bout of depression and a winter without heat — but it’s the memories that involve him that keep coming back to me now.
There was that time he got drunk drinking wine at dinner at my neighbor’s and still beat me at Mario Kart. All those times he was really nice and nonjudgmental when I had a hangover, and how he checked on me that one morning when I went went sleep on the cold bathroom tile. Nights we would eat popsicles and watch Friday Night Lights in bed.
I’m really uncomfortable with change, like a lot of people, and things just happen so fast. Just last week I was thinking that I was going to take a break from dating. Not one of those breaks you take when you’re purposefully trying to jolt yourself into independence or fix your bad dating habits. I just didn’t see myself being capable of detaching emotionally from my ex any time soon and so I was going to stop trying.
I don’t mean just keep loving him in perpetuity. Just, stop trying so hard to throw myself back into dating and to pretend like it’s something I could fix. It’s not, and it’ll have to happen in its own time.
Relatedly, I also decided to stop going on so many first dates. They were starting to feel more like job interviews and they weren’t really helping me meet people I felt connected to. So my new strategy was to just wait it out, hang out with my friends and do things I enjoy until I look up one day at this great new guy friend that I’m attracted to and then we date and live happily ever after.
I don’t know if that’s a realistic solution, but only a week after thinking I’d wash my hands of dating temporarily, I weirdly find myself ready to get back in the game. There were at least two cute guys at work that I found myself checking out in the past few days. My deadened, lukewarm heart (or sex drive?) had stirred slightly. It was a breakthrough.
So just like that, things are changing again. It’s scary to leave this old place behind, because it feels like I’m leaving my ex-boyfriend and all the good times we spent there, too. But maybe that’s a change that I really need.