The land of missed opportunities

posted by Jeff | Tuesday, February 17, 2004, 9:15 AM | comments: 5
So I chatted briefly with a friend last night about missed opportunities. It came up with a friend who found her first "love" and is persisting a long-distance relationship during her freshman year of college.

I've been there. I kick my own ass every day for doing something similar. Sure, I was "happy," but I would've been a lot happier if I was dating around and meeting people at the time. I didn't know myself, let alone how to know other people in all of their glorious diversity.

After that year of trying to persist my long-distance relationship, I had a lot of chance encouters and interests. I never consistantly dated anyone in that time (unless you count hanging out and making out "dating"), but I did see that love and sex had little to do with each other and that with an essentially clean slate for life ahead of me, I needed to figure out myself first.

People have this thing where they need someone to feel complete and whole, or happy. That in itself isn't a problem or a sign of weakness. I think we do need that. However, no one ever teaches us that for us to effectively enjoy a relationship we need to enjoy ourselves first. Experience... with people, lovers, jobs and life-learning... are what makes us whole for ourselves first. The passage of time is the only thing that provides that.

I was lucky. I finally started to "get it" in the last part of my junior year in college and the following summer. By the time my senior year rolled around, I was ready for anything. I got into this physical relationship with no expectations and saw opportunities all around me in terms of "hooking up." Despite a lot of ups and downs, I ended up marrying that girl six years later.

So to put it bluntly, you miss opportunities to grow if you have to be hooked up. I didn't know what the hell I was doing in college, and even to this day I'm not always sure. What I did know is that I had to be on solid ground before I decided to stick with someone who would be a major part of my life. You'll never answer all of the questions, but you won't acquire data to answer any of them if you blindly commit yourself to relationships early in life.



February 17, 2004, 9:10 PM # Amen.

Although, how do you explain to someone who is very young and "in love" for the first time that they shouldn't tie themselves to one person so quickly?

I see my son and his GF and think the same thing, although theirs is not a long distance relationship. If she opts to go to the University of Michigan in the Fall as Ian is, I'm not sure how things will turn out. I suspect if she opts to go to a different university, one or the other may find themselves straying.

I like Donna a lot. She doesn't take shit from Ian (hence the "Bite me!! I've had a long, rough day!" comment she gave him a week ago in my presence). She's also low maintenance, which, if Ian is anything like his father, is required. But I still wonder if they are both going to miss out on a lot of opportunities by tying themselves down so soon.

Then again, you never know. I've also seen a lot of first loves turn into very long lasting marriages too.


February 17, 2004, 11:42 PM # There is such a fine line between experiencing your youth with someone you love, and missing out on the goods that the world has to offer. In my opinion, the best option is experiencing the world with the one you love.

The experiences I could be having with other people have always made me wonder if they are worth missing. Then my head turns to Beth and I think about what I would change about her to concoct a person that would equal better experiences than the present. However, the more I try, the more I am unable to find something I would change. She is such a great person that fits into my life like that last piece of that huge puzzle you worked on for the last month.

So, I agree that you have to be mindful of what you are missing out, but you can certainly experience more if not more with a person that you are very close to.


February 18, 2004, 4:45 AM # That's because you're young and don't have that same frame of reference.

I knew a couple that were high school sweethearts. First loves/sex partners and whatnot. They were divorced in less than a year. She was shocked even to find that sex could be great when she dated another guy later on. Better to have that realization early on in life than after you have kids and a mortgage.


February 18, 2004, 1:59 PM # People change as they grow older. The ability to accept those changes and work through them is what keeps marriages together. I think the younger you are, the more changes you have ahead of you, and the less experience and patience you have in dealing with them.

Eight to ten years down the road, both find separate interests. Things they did together before, one or the other is no longer interested in, and I won't EVEN go into how much adding kids to the mix changes the dynamics of a marriage.

There is also a huge difference between dating/loving and living in separate homes than living together 24/7. Even those who date long term before committing to marriage can have problems adjusting when you find yourselves living in the same house and having to put up with all those little idiosyncracies that never bothered you before. It's worse if one or both are living with parents because chances are good that mommy is doing the picking up, cleaning and cooking.

Needless to say, I'm a big proponent of living together before marriage, and it's not my 60's upbringing that makes me say that, but the fact that my first marriage failed. I figured out 6 months into the marriage that I'd made a big mistake. Had I lived with him first, I would have figured many things out and would never have married him. It was that very strong Catholic upbringing that kept me from living with him first.

So, against my mother's wishes, I lived with Gordon for two years before we married. I knew exactly what I was getting into, but even then we had some major issues to overcome 12 years later.


February 18, 2004, 2:43 PM # Linda:

Do you have some crystal ball looking into my/our lives, because if you do... put it down. You're scaring me.

Beth brought up a hypothetical situation to her parents of us living together at college, IF seperate housing situations didn't work out. Her mom immediately took that idea, tore it in half, spat on it, and ignored the pros. It was definately a religous/moral issue, which I won't judge against because I "should" believe in the same. However, what is the difference if Beth and I are living together, or sleeping over every single night? The difference is that her/our parents wouldn't have to deal with the "What would to do I tell people?" factor.

I brought the idea up to my Mom and she was torn because I think she realized the potential benefits, but didn't want to have to tell her parents that we were living together. I accepted that answer, but then my traditional Dad said, "Why do they have to know?" That answer blew me away.

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