This dude was a real piece of work. I remember angrily texting my best friend to tell her the news: He just turned down my prom invite, and I’m going to have to go alone.
The year before, he’d told me that I was beautiful, one-of-a-kind, the kind of woman he saw himself settling down with. I stayed up all night talking to him. I’d find myself hanging out with him after youth group services, hoping he’d finally ask me out.
He was indecisive and unwilling to commit, and that was why we weren’t dating. But I took a chance and decided to ask him about prom anyway. All of my friends were going to senior prom with their boyfriends, and I wanted to bring my guy, even though he was still too chicken to ask me to be his girlfriend.
He told me no, and he did it via text message. He said he couldn’t afford it. I thought about offering to pay for his portion. I thought about bringing up all the money I’d seen him spend that month. But I realized he’d come up with another flimsy excuse and I’d end up embarrassing myself even more.
I did end up with a prom date (hi, JT!), but I spent hours wondering why I wasn’t good enough for the guy who I loved so much. A few weeks after prom, he told me he didn’t think we’d ever get together. “If it happens, it happens.” I cried in a Panera Bread parking lot. He wasn’t the first guy I had feelings for. I’d flirted with other boys and dated someone else, but this was the first time I’d felt like I found someone I’d be with long-term, and he was breaking my heart.
So what’s he up to now? I could check his Facebook to find out, but I’ll probably just call him to see what time he’ll be home. He promised to take me to brunch today, and I’m getting hungry.
YUP! I MARRIED HIM.
My husband is the most caring, compassionate and loving person in the world. He’s the kind of guy who dotes on me so much that friends half-jokingly ask if he has a brother or cousin. It would take an entire post to list off all of the kind things he’s done for me just this month.
But he’s also how the one who taught me the painful sting of rejection.
Our love story would take hours to explain in full, but I can sum it up in a sentence: He begged me to give him another chance, promising he’d change, and I begrudgingly agreed. If you ask me, it worked out pretty well.
So what did I learn from the first guy who broke my heart?
- I can never, ever find my worth in a man. I spent my last half of high school obsessing over Vagner Lage. I’d be elated when he wanted to spend time with me and defeated when he was cold toward me. Don’t ever give someone that power over your life.
- Redemption is possible. I’m wary of trusting others, especially when I have a reason not to, but our love story has shown me that taking a chance on someone can actually work out really well. Look for proof that someone’s changed instead of just blindly taking their word for it, though.
- Relationships are messy. Our first year of dating was a bonafide disaster. I didn’t trust him, and he was overwhelmed with guilt at how badly he treated me. I regularly told him that I thought we should break up, but we somehow weathered it together.
- God has a sense of humor. Much like many Christian girls, I wrote letters to my future husband. Most of them focused on how glad I was that it wasn’t Vagner Lage! I told my mythical future spouse all about the jerk who toyed with my emotions and how I couldn’t wait to meet my real soulmate. Little did I know…
So thanks to the guy who broke my heart for teaching me so much about myself. Also, thanks for becoming a kind, thoughtful, good-hearted person. I’m pretty glad for it.
What’s your non-traditional love story? I’d love to hear more about how you fell in love in the comments! xo
Ayana Lage is a fashion and lifestyle blogger based in Tampa, Florida with a background in digital media and content marketing. She’s worked for Bustle, the Tampa Bay Times, the Miami Herald, and numerous freelance clients. As a blogger, she’s worked with 50+ lifestyle, fashion, travel and food brands. When she’s not blogging, she’s focused on her day job in digital marketing, watching Queer Eye, or laughing aloud at tweets from @dril.