For the From Left to Write Book Club we read "The Stuff That Never Happened" by Maddie Dawson, a novel about a woman who runs into the man who has held "the one who stole her heart" title, their sordid history, and her relationship with her husband.
The point of this book club is to read a book and then write a post inspired by that book, which is the thing that I love the most about it. But, for a book that deals with relationships out of a marriage, the "one who got away," and the reminders and memories of former relationships and our partner's reactions to them. Well, it's tough to write about what it really inspires... Right?
Of course, you want to honor the person you're with and not get all gushy and romanticize those of your past. But, if a book like this didn't make you think about them, then you're lying.
That's the thing with blogging: It's a fine line between determining what you want to put out there and being honest. I always promised honesty, but nothing that would get me fired or create problems in my relationship or make DCFS come knocking.
In the spirit of these guidelines, I won't post about the one person Matt asked me to cut communication off with or about my version of "the one who got away." Those aren't things that I need to go into here. It's just not appropriate for me to post the details. But, of course they were thoughts when I read this book.
Instead, I decided to talk to Matt about it and tell him the concerns it created when posting as a "mom blogger." He said it very well: "I'm glad you had relationships before me. It gave you practice on having an adult relationship. Maybe you should have had more of them."
He's probably right. I was in a relationship from my senior year of high school until a year out of college (with a few "breaks") and learned some really bad habits. The worst being that I could do pretty much whatever I wanted and would still have a boyfriend. I took advantage of that one, knowing all the time it was a relationship of convenience and he deserved better. I'm not proud of the version of me who was in that relationship and I don't blame him for not speaking with me anymore. After that, I jumped into another relationship with someone seven years older and totally unwilling to deal with my bulls**t. Good for him. Smart man. It forced me to take a step back.
I learned that I just needed to spend some time by myself and "saw" people without a commitment. It was easy to meet people as someone in my early 20's, living in the city, working in advertising and bar tending for extra cash. When I met Matt I was "talking" to a few different people. Nothing serious. And the first day we hung out to watch an Iowa game I ran into four guys that I had some sort of current situation or recent history with, from the "one date and I'm out" to the "I don't like you that way" to the "I kinda like you, let's meet up on the weekends." It was hilarious. And it was relationship karma's way of giving me a big old middle finger for the way I treated my ex-boyfriends.
But, despite karma's personal attack, Matt liked me anyway, and, of the guys we ran into, I realized I liked him best of all. The others fell somewhere into the history of my life and then Matt quickly became the future.
It's not that I don't think of some of them every now and then. We all think about people from our past everyday, because they shaped who we are today. We just don't have to divulge details on our blogs. And, trust me, the details aren't nearly as romantic or exciting as the relationships in this book.
This post was inspired by The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson, which I received complimentary as a part of From Left to Write Book Club. See how other bloggers were inspired by this book here.