I guess we all adjust to the ones we’re with. Or maybe I just lack the backbone to be myself in front of other people.
Guy #143 was someone I fell hopelessly in love with. It was a kind of crush I hadn’t experienced since high school.
The year was 2015, I was 32 years old and life threw me my first and only high school crush. We had the best conversations, being with each other felt like we were the only two people that mattered. It was probably the first time I fell in love and saw it reciprocated.
When you fall in love for the first time you don’t know any better or it’s the single most important life event in the history of life itself. Every hug, every kiss, every app, all of it matters. When you’re in love for the first time, you don’t yet know you’re suffering from a psychological disorder that tends to prelude clinical depression the way Oreos precede a sugar crash.
At 32 I was old enough to know all that. I had been in love before. It had depressed me on more than one occasion. Yet for all my experience, I had never actually been with someone who was in love with me as much as I was in love with him. In terms of having a successful love live, the first month of my two month relationship with Guy #143 was probably my happiest to date.
Since Guy #143 wasn’t exactly open yet, he insisted we’d keep our thing under wraps. Not wanting to be without him, I happily obliged. If anything the secrecy only made our love more special, more meaningful, more like something people make movies about.
On the other hand, you don’t care about the future when you’re in love for the first time. Not even me, who had taken 32 years to finally enjoy life as a teenager. I wasn’t about to let go of that.
But I guess the future looks different depending on where you stand in life. Guy #143, as it turned out, saw it differently.
I will never know why, but one day Guy #143 went from saying I love you during sex to saying he needed to go home, instead of sex. All the enthusiasm, his sparkling personality and playful bedside manner…it all vanished into thin air. What was left was someone who kept all his feelings inside but would rather die than talk to me about it. No matter how hard I empathized with his issues, no matter what WhatsApp emoji I threw at him, it didn’t change anything about his curtness.
The joy I had felt during our first four dates was replaced by despair. As so often happens when you fall in love, it lures you in before it reveals its true nature. Butterflies turn into bats, birds and bees become vultures and flies, happy becomes black. It had happened to me before, but this being my first high school crush it came as a surprise nonetheless.
As weeks passed, the dates stopped coming, as did the emojis.
I was heartbroken for about a week, far from the worst sugar crash I ever had. I suppose I was relieved I could stop living life as a teenager.
Turns out people tend to lose perspective when they’re in love for the first time. Thankfully, I learned my lesson and never fell hopelessly in love ever again for well over a year.