My high school boyfriend wore eye liner and had self-pierced body piercings. He dealt drugs and somehow managed to acquire a not-for-hunting gun. He was also Sophomore Class President. He loved me as passionately as one sixteen-year-old could love another sixteen-year-old. And after cheating on me (as sixteen-year-old Romeos are wont to do), he carved an “A” into his skin, right over his heart. We had recently read The Scarlet Letter in American Lit. Did I mention he was passionate? We dated for four years.
My college fella was (and still is) an exceptionally good man. He came into my life without piercings or illegal guns. Not once did he carve anything into his body. But while we dated, we made each other laugh and learned to tolerate each other’s roommates, and he didn’t care when Top Ramen and frozen yogurt gave me an extra fifteen pounds of poundage. However. I was Irish and Protestant (not Italian and Catholic), and that was the ultimate deal-breaker, especially in the eyes of his sweet Italian, Catholic mother. He and I still chat on the phone and exchange Christmas cards, and for that I am grateful. We dated for three years.
My post-college beau was the aforementioned Fritz. I loved Fritz’s parents and sister, and aside from the two over-the-phone break-ups, Fritz was kind and smart. He probably still is, but I don’t know because we don’t exchange Christmas cards. I do know he is a urologist in Milwaukee and based on the fact that he named one of his daughters “Sarah,” I assume he spends a good portion of every day regretting that he broke up with me twice. We dated for eighteen months, including the Time Out in between rounds.
My current boyfriend doubles as my husband. We met when we were both living in Chicago, and because I am 5’4” and he is 6’4” (and because he tends toward obliviousness), I needed to push him down into a snowy patch of Lincoln Park, get his face level with mine, and kiss him; he needed to realize we should give kissing a try. We were engaged ten months later. He thinks I am funny. I think he is funny. He almost never annoys me. He has never broken up with me. He went to see The Sound of Music sing-a-long with me even though musicals are as painful to him as infected body piercings. He loves me through my bouts of mental illness and has easily won Best Father every year since 2003. He did, however, lie to me the first time we met, and it was a doozey.
“I love to read literature,” he said.
No, he doesn’t. If he reads anything, it’s non-fiction Malcolm Gladwell. We’ve been dating for almost twenty years.
When I look at the evolution of my relationships, it makes sense that my search for the Ms./Mr. Write-ing Partner has been no less epic, upsetting, challenging, joyful and meandering. It took me years to find the proper tripod to support me in my writing. I imagine the same has been–or will be–true for you, too.
Why is it so difficult to find a fabulous critique mate? [Read more…]