This week in the Men Are Not Perfect series, which you can follow here, I describe my role and failure in letting a woman I loved get away (For the fellas who never got over their first (or second and third), I also recommend this article: I Never Got Over My First). As is always the case, there were a myriad of factors that ultimately contributed to our relationship’s untimely demise but the Men Are Not Perfect series focuses on my actions and shortcomings as a man. In this post, I recap one of the many lessons life has taught me. In this instance, pride and prejudice kept me from pursuing the woman I Loved at all costs.

All my exes live in Texas like I’m George Straight
Or they go to Georgia State where
Tuition is handled by some random n***a that live in Atlanta
That she only sees when she feels obligated
Admitted it to me the first time we dated
But she was no angel, and we never waited

And we never talk too much after I blew up
Just only “Hello” or “Happy belated”
And I think I text her and told her I made it
And that’s when she text me and told me she prayed it
–  Drake HYFR

Wouldve, shouldve, couldve…

She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever come across, but she wasn’t the first. By now, I had learned to temper my instinctive reaction towards beautiful women – fear. The key difference here is she wanted me, too. It was a mutual acceptance of lust at first sight, but the distance between us kept our more immediate primal urges at bay. We had no choice but to get to know each other better. A couple weeks would pass before we could finally meet up. In the meantime, I got to know her as a person and I realized I liked more about her than just her looks. I pushed these feelings aside. I had my heart ripped out of my chest about 9-months earlier and I had no plans on falling in Love again anytime soon, like ever. Regardless, me and her moved fast, literally.

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Between the teeth marks embedded in my shoulder and the sweaty strands of hair matted against her face less than an hour into our first face-to-face encounter, I wasn’t sure if we had just made love or had a violent fight that happened to end in O’s. Either way, I wanted more. I returned home at the end of that marathon weekend pretending it was nothing more than great sex, but I was denying the obvious. I was already falling in Love. My heart was simply waiting for my head to get onboard.

Coincidently, her lease was ending in a few more weeks. She had the option to renew but she wanted a change of pace. I had just graduated college and I was starting my first real job. I had a crappy one-bedroom apartment and an even crappier used car. I was broke, in debt, and all I had to offer her of value were promises of a better future together.

I was normally a practical guy. I didn’t take risks where I couldn’t accurately gauge the reward. This is why I wasn’t particularly fond of relationships, which, in my opinion, were filled with inherent risks I habitually avoided like the plague. Although I was still in denial about the potential longevity of any significant undertaking between us – and I can’t remember who volunteered the idea first – I jumped at the idea of us living together. In total, I had known her about 6 weeks. I didn’t care. I wanted her.

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Our multi-year relationship would become a passionate undertaking. We fought hard; made up harder; and loved hardest. By now, we had moved into a bigger, newer apartment together, bought two dogs, a big screen TV, furniture and a new(er) car to share. We shared expenses, food, and laughter and Love. Perhaps encompassing the episodic nature of our relationship best, I remember one of our more particularly intense arguments. I was passively paying attention as she yelled at me about a topic I had deemed of minimal importance almost as soon as she had begun while our dogs hid in their crates staring out at me with a look of fear or pity – I wasn’t quite sure. She had strategically moved in front of the TV, so as she busied herself screaming, I busied myself watching the heavy downpour outside of our glass door patio.

As she took a deep frustrated breath, I can only assume to transition between rants, I took the opportunity to finally make eye contact, “Have you ever done it in the rain?”

I watched as her eyes slowly transitioned from fury, to confusion, to curiosity. Minutes later, I was balancing her against the patio railing as the mist from the rain washed over us from the rooftop. We’d flinch simultaneously, then laugh, as the night sky briefly lit up before thunder rumbled violently around us as if jealously trying to intimidate us back into our home where we belonged. Our relationship was the kind of organized chaos that you read about in Jet magazine 50-year wedding anniversary summaries. I had plans to make her my wife, sooner rather than later. We had already browsed potential engagement ring settings, but then a series of events would quickly unfold that unraveled the fabric of our relationship almost as quickly as it had formed.