Loves and Crushes and the fear of both

“Love Harder”

In 2015 I made it a goal of mine to love harder. At the time I wasn’t sure what that meant. What does it mean to love harder? I think for me it was to put myself out there and not be afraid to get hurt. I see it often with these stronger willed, independent women who go through life alone and are so afraid to love because they were once “hurt” that they put up these walls and barriers and never really let themselves be happy. I decided I can’t live life that way. After getting divorced and realizing the person I thought was going to be my person, really wasn’t my person, I was crushed. It took some time but I got over it, I met some wonderful people, but I felt then like I was unable to fully give myself over. So when I did meet someone who sparked my interest, I thought why not, live life and love hard.

See I don’t care about getting hurt. I guess we really do all learn from our mistakes and gain valuable life lessons from them. Sometimes it is not very apparent but they are there. One of my favorite quotes from a song is “I’d rather learn what it feels like to burn, than to feel nothing at all.”

Love…oh love, it’s that tricky word we are all afraid to say to people for fear of what may come. Is it reciprocated? Rejection? Is the feeling mutual? These are all of the things that go through our minds. Well what do you think? Did I “love hard” in 2015? Well I can honestly say this. I’m in love with three people and I have a crush on three more. I know what you are thinking…that can’t possibly be right or I’m some kind of weirdo. Well I am a weird, but let me explain and no I am not one of those who found my soulmate every three months. Of those three, only one person heard the L-word from me last year. Yes it was a serious relationship with a lot of potential. Unfortunately it fell short of forever, like really, really short. One person I grew to love over time. The last never heard those words from me until it was too late to salvage the relationship.

A small fling that turned to friendship, with whom I remained close with, we talk about relationships and life and cheer each other on. Will that ever lead to anything? Who knows, but right now I love her like a best friend and it doesn’t hurt that she is a hottie too!

So the third person should have heard from me, she should have been told, but like a lot of how things go, I dropped the ball. I’ll take the blame, I boast of wearing my heart on my sleeve and this time I just didn’t let her know before she walked away.

Now you know a little bit about that, but I am sure you are sitting there saying…but tell us more, who are these women? Where are they now? What happened? Are you okay? (Okay so I doubt anyone really wonders if I am okay…ha ha, but it would be nice you jerks)

I bet you are wondering what one has to do to date me, well basically you have to hit me over the head because apparently I am blatantly oblivious when it comes to these things. Seriously, like send me smoke signals if you like me or I just keep moving along. I had to re-evaluate what I wanted in a partner after my divorce. I wanted someone who had all of the interests I do from, scuba diving, snow skiing, and riding motorcycles to running races, OCR and traveling the country or the world for that matter. Yes you have to be adventurous, have a sense of humor and have a thick skin, you see this maybe a character flaw of mine but I was raised in a family where poking, prodding and making fun of each other was par for the course at our family cookouts. Re-telling old stories of our adventures and never letting anyone live down what they did…well, that is how we rolled. I am the same way, so if you fall, crash or do something that I think if funny as hell, no matter how embarrassing, well…EVERYONE MUST KNOW! Some call it picking on, but yes I am very sarcastic and I joke a lot. I mean I joke a lot; I am not serious unless I need to be. Life is too short to have a constant resting bitch face. I want to look old because I have laugh lines from always having a smile on my face. So that is me in a nut shell, so yes I can be picky and this year I basically only gave you the time of day if you met my extensive list of criteria.

So with that being said, at the beginning of 2015 I found myself in a serious relationship, let’s call her Austin. I was told I was “the one” and then I wasn’t. This relationship lasted until around April, it was sad because I was in love and I also loved her daughter. Not being able to continue that relationship was hard, but I understand. I hold no hard feelings and honestly, if she ever asked to sit down and talk and maybe date again, I would be open to it. I doubt that will happen, but never say never right? Without going into too much detail, we basically had a different opinion on the future, moving in together, where to live and stuff like that. So the plug was pulled in order to pursue our life dreams and goals without compromise. So everything has a lesson right? Here is what I learned about this whirlwind romance:

Lesson 1

For as much as I preached about no regrets and living life to the fullest and taking chances, I was selfish on some of the break up sticking points. Mainly over moving, I was stubborn and wanted my way and I realized after the fact I had absolutely no compromise what so ever. I needed to work on that. I’ll admit I was wrong…

Okay well now you know about the one I told. But what about the others? Well on to number two.

Have you ever cared about someone and though that you could have a great time with them, but for some reason the stars were never aligned, but as time went on you developed feelings? It’s definitely an odd feeling because it isn’t that lustful type of feeling but it also isn’t like loving your sister. So to keep the innocent protected let’s call her Bombshell. So bombshell and I met in 2014 actually and briefly dated for a week or so and unfortunately, life was dictating (at least in my mind) that it wasn’t our time. We lived in different states, she has just quit her job and decided to go to school for a career change, taking a part time job to get by, financially everything was tight for her and she was pretty much committed to be there for about a year. Looking at the big picture, I was probably selfish and I self-ejected thinking that there is no way I could afford to fly out there that often. I kind of felt like a dick and I still feel bad to this day, but I have to say, we stayed friends believe it or not and have continued talking this whole time. We chatted during my relationship, my break ups, during her relationships, her break ups, life’s struggles and we still talk almost every day. So the bond I have with her now, I can honestly say I have a love for her. She is one of the few people I would do anything for and die trying to protect her (yes that is huge in my book if I am willing to take a bullet for you). Will we ever be anything more than pen pals? I am not sure; I am think that if it is meant to be then eventually everything will figure itself out. Until then, I am happy to have someone I can tell my thoughts to, give pep talks to and laugh with (or at sometimes!)

Lesson 2

                What I can take away from this is that again, I need to stop being so selfish.

So now we are down to lucky lady #3. My Sedona. The one I didn’t tell, the one I should have, the one that I let walk away for no other reason than because everything seemed like it was going to be hard. I just had a flash back to bombshell. Except the difference here is that we did do the cross country distance thing for close to 7 months. I know I am an ass, I will admit it. What was I thinking? Well in order to explain this, I need to start at the beginning, how it all started and how hard I have fought back the “feelz”.

Like many of my recent relationships, this one started over chatting and texting. This one actually if you want to get technical, started with “Happy Birthday” (in a Morgan Freeman voice) and a thank you led to small talk which led to 7 months of conversation. When I started talking and getting to know her, it was literally a laugh a minute with this one. One of the best things I think is that we actually went about a month before we ever laid eyes on each other. We didn’t just talk about sex and gibberish, we actually spoke about awesome stuff, and we played 20 questions, 5 at a time. Learning about someone first was a whole new twist on things. But did I think this was going to go anywhere? No, I didn’t…in my head right from the beginning I thought it would just be something fun. The distance thing initially had me worried and thinking everything I thought about the other relationships that started and stopped over the year. Plus I was just feeling the effects of starting to distance myself from one of my crushes. I met crush #3, spent about 5 days together and then everything was slowly fizzling itself out. While I wasn’t totally heartbroken and devastated, I was blue. Then Sedona entered the picture, soothed my soul, made me forget the sadness with long talks, advice on relationships and honestly…why she was better! Ha ha ha!

After a brief meeting in July, we went until September before we physically saw each other again. You know seeing someone basically two times in 3 months…I really had no expectations. At least that is what I kept telling myself. I tried to keep her at arm’s length, my mind tried to think of everything that would keep us apart. I think the most frustrating thing was that once I started getting the feels, I actually got angry that I couldn’t see her more. Being in Hawaii, talking when we could because of the time difference, wishing more than anything she was there to experience this with me, all the romance, sunsets, hiking and of course the race. Life was just throwing curveballs one after the other and I could never hit a damn curveball! Never! In high school they DH’d me because I could not hit the curve and they were tired of me striking out all the damn time.

Back to the story…by now you are wondering, so what does Sedona think of all of this? Come on I know you are, well she definitely had all the feels but we never talked about it. In fact, we never talked about the future, we never talked about what we were doing, and we never talked about being boyfriend/girlfriend. I always thought that was odd, but I didn’t push it because that meant I would have to talk about feelings. Then I slipped into a mini depression and I felt sorry for myself, I felt like a complete failure, everything I touch seems to fall apart at the seams. So of course I projected this outward and the effects of this rippled through the relationship.

On her last visit, one that was supposed to be totally awesome, ended up being a nightmare, ending up with her getting on a plane and walking away, basically ending everything. We had “the talk” as they say about the future and for me I just really wanted to know what we were doing, what was the plan, the long term goals. I was tired of not knowing when we would see each other, I wanted a plan. Part of the depression I experienced had a lot to do with finances and not having the funds to freely go when I wanted. I am a man damn it, I hunt and gather, I should be able to see my woman when I want to. Needless to say, in my opinion, I ended up telling her all of my wants and needs and she said nothing. She basically said she couldn’t give me what I wanted and thought it was best she didn’t waste any more of my time. We ended up talking for about an hour before she had to go to the airport. I quietly held her hand as we walked to the security gate, we said our goodbyes and I cried. Yes, I am not ashamed to admit it, most guys will, most guys are too macho, but then again I am definitely not most guys. (I’m a god damned unicorn remember!) Yes I cried over a girl, it was sad, I haven’t cried over any girls recently. Not when I broke up with Austin, no tears were shed there. So this is kind of a big deal to me.

After she left, as I do after every relationship, I over analyze everything and dissect it. Then it hit me, this was possibly the silliest breakup I have ever had. You have two people who are madly in love with each other, who never actually told the other person how they feel, decided to walk away because life threw a roadblock. But a roadblock which is actually easy to overcome. I started thinking about my list of demands…again back to lesson one and being stubborn. What was I thinking? Why am I not trying to be more flexible if in fact this is someone I am in love with? It did not compute in my head.

The more I thought about it, the more I knew I had made a huge mistake. I constantly preach about taking chances, not being afraid, just jump feet first into the deep end and guess what…I failed to do any of those things. I failed myself. I knew what I had to do, I had to change this, and I had to fix this.

Unfortunately this is easier said than done, I tried to reverse the damage, but she wasn’t having any of it. The more I dissected our last conversation, all I kept thinking was, I told her what I wanted, but she never said what she wanted. All she said was she couldn’t give me what I wanted and would rather walk away instead of proposing ideas on how to overcome these obstacles. I never did get a straight answer.

So the thinking had begun, I racked my brain and I came to one final conclusion and this is going to be the deciding factor moving forward in all my relationships, nothing really matters, money, living arrangements, moving to what city or state, in the end all that really matters when you love someone is that you are with that person. Sarcastically, I would be happy under a bridge, in a cardboard box if it meant I was with my partner in crime. So I went with that.

I bet you are reading this and wondering why I am putting all this out there for everyone to read, I know I should keep my private affairs private and not show the softer side, the vulnerable side of me, but I honestly do not care. It’s kind of therapeutic for me to write. I have hand written numerous love letters as therapy and never sent them, some of which I look back thinking how pathetic I was. Just when I think the world has ended, someone else walks in who is just a little bit better for me.

So how does this story end? Well with a grand romantic gesture of course! I couldn’t let this non-closure thing happen. It is easy to stop texting, calling, etc when you are 14 hours away. But I refused to believe what I was getting back on text messages. I wanted her to tell me to my face to move on, go away and never come back. (I know a little dramatic, but hey, that is how I roll) The hopeless romantic in me thinks it will end up like one of those movies; you know where you break up, spend time apart and realize you can’t live without the other person and you end up outside the window with a boombox over your head! In my case, I did something just as good.

I couldn’t take the distance, when you talk to someone every day for 7 months, not talking, hearing their voice and seeing their face, makes you do crazy shit. So I jumped in a plane, found out where she was going to be at this conference and SURPRISE! I felt as though worst case scenario, I needed closure for myself. No regrets, not even one single letter!

So what happened? Well, that is another story you will have to stay tuned for.

On one final note, I mentioned I had a few crushes, this is true. But I think it is healthy to have a crush or two. One I actually spent some time with in-between my romances, which is why it was hard to initially fall for Sedona, but she has a ton going on and trying to rein her in was almost impossible. So it is what it was and just another adventure to log in the books. The other two are just as tricky because crush #2 has no clue and lives at a great distance as well. If you noticed the order, then you have noticed that my crush #1 is mentioned last and that is because she is someone I met over a year ago, something about her caught my attention, but she was never interested. I think she is beautiful and it would be cool to get to know her, she actually lives in DFW. Right now I am in the friend zone, which is hilarious, but that is okay, I am a great person and a pretty good handyman!

Would I pursue them if this doesn’t work with Sedona? Possibly, you never know, but probably not since it would mean another long distance thing or putting myself out there and I am not sure my poor heart could take that. But then again, you never know, I might just jump.

 

One Final Lesson:

So what did I take away from all these relationships this year? I need to not focus on the future and what could happen as much as I need to focus on the present and making things happen. I still think breaking up because one person won’t move is one of the craziest experiences I have had, but again I need to stop being so selfish. I get I need to be selfish to a degree, I know what I want for my future, but honestly it doesn’t mean I can’t compromise or at least work on solutions before bailing. I cherish the experiences I had in 2015 and would not trade them for anything, heartache is just another experience which I am glad to work through because I have a ton of memories that were pretty awesome too.

My Name is Travis and I wear my heart on my sleeve!

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