This is a tale of three boyfriends. The first was smart, funny, fun and driven. The second was smart, funny, fun, gorgeous, maybe not quite as driven, but who knows? -- and whimsical. The third was Darrell. We'll get to Darrell in a minute.
The first two boyfriends overlapped with each other a bit, but don't look for any scandal. I was in what Dan Fogelberg might have called my innocent age. There was nothing about either relationship I wouldn't have told my parents about, put it that way.
The second boyfriend knew about the first, but the first was oblivious to the second. That should've told me something right there, where I stood on his list of priorities if he didn't even know I was spending so much time with someone else.
Looking back, I wonder if that was some of the appeal. Red flag! Red flag! Isn't that what rubs so many women wrong about so many men, that part of the attraction is not knowing if the chase will end with a prize?
One thing I'm sure about is that I was attracted to driven men. It made me feel safe. Like there was a future together -- and even if I couldn't figure out a way to make the money I wanted to make, he'd have some. Isn't that terrible to admit?
When the first boyfriend found out about the second, he wasn't crazy about the overlap.
Exit Boyfriend Number Two, stage right.
I didn't have time to miss him, because Boyfriend Number One became much more attentive (someone had pointed out what he had in me). We dated, pretty much blissfully, for years.
It's probably worth noting that when Boyfriend Number One and I were in a lively discussion with (ex-) Boyfriend Number Two about some big drama in our residence halls, Boyfriend Number One pulled me aside to say, "Are you sure you want to keep dating me? Because it's just so obvious you click with this other guy."
I've thought about that for decades. And only recently I told Darrell -- remember Darrell? -- what I thought was the problem with (ex-) Boyfriend Number Two. He liked me so much -- so completely, with so much abandon -- that it felt wrong.
Isn't that sad?
Well, no. Because there's more to the story. Within 24 hours, I realized the other problem with (ex-) Boyfriend Number Two. He was too much like me.
That's fun. That's really fun. For a while. For a while it's such a kick to have someone tell you to just keep talking, because you were going to say what he was thinking anyway.
Then you realize you need something more.
You need someone not quite as much like you.
Enter Darrell. We click in most of the important ways, we rub each other wrong in a couple of ways, but mostly we crack each other up constantly. We stayed up all night the night we met, talking -- and that isn't a euphemism for anything else. We talked.
We haven't stopped. When we're in our 90s, he'll be the guy across the breakfast table making me spit out my milk in that bite of Post Shredded Wheat because I'm falling off my chair laughing at his latest observation.
So the other night, after I'd reconciled all this, I crawled into bed with my sleeping husband and thought, "Yep. He's the one."
And then, "Good thing!"
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