Dear Urban Gyal, I am really hoping my ex sees this story!
I was eighteen. He was twenty-eight. We met at a party during college when he came up to me and asked me if I was Brazilian. I attributed his question to the long tresses of Brazilian curly weave I had freshly installed and thanked my hairdresser silently.
My answer was a coquettish “No,” which I followed with a compliment to his own curly locks. I touched one of his curls and asked him where he was from. He answered that he was Spanish, with the signature Spanish lisp introducing itself to my ears.
He looked at me as if he was dazed, a huge smile plastered across his face. No one had ever looked at me like that; it made me feel strangely demure and magnified, all at once.
We flirted and talked; somewhere along the way I revealed that I lived with my best friend who was Bolivian, and I convinced him to walk me home. He did so gladly, and after some late night conversation between the three of us, he excused himself, asking when he could see me again. I gave him my number and we began to hang out casually.
We went to the beach together, cooked together at my house often it was unbelievable. I finally found man unselfish enough to want to please a woman and leave himself entirely out of it, he was definitely a man worth keeping. At the time, due to my childish inexperience, I just thought he was weird.
One night he took me out to a beautiful restaurant in Malibu where he ordered a bottle of wine and I felt delighted that I wasn’t carded due to his age. As I spoke to him about my life I noticed how actively he listened to me. He never once tore his eyes from me as I spoke, and just smiled at me sincerely.
I wasn’t used to it, and I asked him directly, “Why are you just staring at me like that?” His smile widened and his response left me speechless, “I’m mesmerized. Your eyes are so dark and sparkling… You are so beautiful.”
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I gaped at him in silence. He couldn’t be serious. I felt like I was in a movie. I didn’t know how to feel. I was used to such insincerity that when presented with a genuine man, who was mature enough to know what he wanted, I was caught completely off guard. I started to feel afraid. He was very sweet; he gave me all of his attention, took me out on wonderful dates, was accomplished, athletic and creative. He was everything that I could have wanted. So why wasn’t I head over heels for him?
Although I was attracted to him, I was used to a lifestyle of partying, and pretty much getting whoever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I wasn’t trying to be in a relationship when I met him, and because of the ten year age difference between us I didn’t think he could possibly want something serious with someone as young as I was.
I began to think of all the reasons why I didn’t like him. In my mind I became picky about everything from his lisp, to the fact that he didn’t have a six-pack, to the fact that he wasn’t as tall as I wanted.
I realize now that I had a fear of commitment at the time because I had just began to discover myself and the world. I had left a very strict home environment to go to college 2,000 miles away where all of my former boundaries were removed and everything and everyone in the adult world seemed new, exciting and enticing.
I had only lost my virginity a year before, and I thought about my goals of escapades with all the foreign men I would never get to sleep with if I got into a relationship with a man who was probably looking for something very serious.
Afraid that he was in fact, too perfect and that because of his age he would within a year or two be looking to walk me down the aisle, I convinced myself that he was not the one for me for all of the wrong reasons.
I invited him over during a house party we were having and avoided him the entire time, like a five year old. When he pulled me aside to tell me that he wanted to talk to me privately about something, I panicked and blurted out,
“Look, I don’t think it’s going to work out between us because I’m not ready and I know that you’re probably looking to get married pretty soon and I’m not ready to get married.”
It was stupid. It was childish. It was completely unwarranted. He didn’t even respond. The look on his face was that of disgust. I looked away, because I couldn’t bear to receive what I deserved from him. I felt ashamed. He knew I was lying.
I didn’t want to tell him that the truth was that I was selfish, he was too perfect, and I was just not ready for him. That was what he deserved to hear. He walked out and I haven’t seen him since.
I think about him now that I just recently ended a seven year relationship with a guy who was my eighteen year old self. I guess that’s karma, but if he is out there, somewhere, reading this, I want him to know that in my own way, I was trying to save him from the heartbreak I knew would have eventually ensued due to my immaturity.
I want him to know that I eventually became the woman he thought he saw in me, and the one I couldn’t be when he wanted me to. I want him to know that I’m sorry I was too immature to see this simple fact, and to even say it.