There’s this guy I dated (to put it generously) who I think of fondly and often because even though he was never my boyfriend, though we never made any commitment to each other, he treated me better than anyone else before or since. He taught me to accept more love than I thought I deserved.
And I’ll tell you how he did that.
First he pissed me off. And I started crying and said
“You don’t have to be here you know? You’re not my boyfriend. Leave if you want to leave. Go to bed. Wake up tomorrow and pretend this didn’t happen because I am not your girlfriend and you are not required to sit here with me and listen to some stupid girl cry.”
And he looked at me and he said “I know. If I wanted to leave, I would have left.”
He was never my boyfriend, we went on one date and a week after that conversation I didn’t see him again but the fact remains. Someone out there wanted to spend time with me while I was my worst, cruelest, ugly-cry-est self.
Sometimes you meet someone and they are exactly what you need. Even if they aren’t any of the things you think you want. Amusingly, this guy keeps coming up randomly and each time I’m reminded of how kind he was to me and how much better a person I am for having spent time with him.
What I learned from him is that what I have to give is worth while and that the compassion, tenderness, kindness, consideration with which he treated me is the baseline of what I deserve and should expect.
There should be a word for someone like that. Ex doesn’t seem to fit because a) ex-what? He was never my anything to now be an ex- of. And b) even though we don’t see each other anymore, even though he’s probably going to marry his current girlfriend some day, even though he isn’t physically in my life, the things I learned through him are in my life. Currently. And to be honest those things are so much better than his hand would be.