Our Story

9 Apr

Today I have been thinking about “our story.”  You know what I mean – every couple has one – the fairy tale story of how you met, fell in love and ended up together.  Without even meaning to we often sugar coat things, add in extra layers of romance, and make the meeting seem like this super important, time-and-heart-stopping event.  Maybe it is that way for some people – maybe they don’t have to exaggerate or leave out the ugly parts because it was that special and wonderful and not a single thing went wrong that night or ever since.  It wasn’t “perfect” at all for me and my husband, but somehow I concocted a cutesy, lovey-dovey version of that night for myself and my friends and family.

Here it is (as it appeared in our engagement book – and yes we had one of those) with a few minor changes:

“On November 2nd, 2007 I headed out to spend an evening on the town playing darts with my friend.  We met up at The Bar, our favorite place to relax and unwind after a hard week at the office.  I hadn’t been out in a while, and I was looking forward to having some fun and releasing a little stress by throwing pointy things at the wall (a.k.a. darts).

After staking out the best table in the corner, we headed up to the bar to grab a drink.  Almost immediately my friend spotted someone who she hadn’t seen in a while, my future husband.  She introduced us, and I noticed right off the bat how great and genuine his smile was.  He was updating his new cell phone and put my friend’s name and number in next to a smiley face icon.  I joked that he must not know her very well if that’s the symbol he was using.  He laughed and made a joke right back.

The rest of the night she and I played darts, mingled around, and talked to different people.  I always found myself gravitating back to [my future husband] because something about him was so engaging and fun.  I found out that he hadn’t been out in months, either, and he just happened to be out celebrating a new job that evening.  Once we talked a little more I connected the dots that this was the man who my friend had been talking about for years at work.  She used to visit his apartment all the time because he was dating her best friend.  She told me stories about how well he cooked, and how she always wanted to help but he took care of everything.

At some point in the night we got into a darts match where he and I were on opposite teams.  I was not very good at darts because I was just starting out, but somehow my team was kicking their butts.  Of course I made sure he knew it.  I have heard that I can sometimes be intimidating (though I don’t know how that could be), but I was impressed by his ability to take it and dish it right back.  His witty banter was very charming and I could tell he was intelligent and quick on his feet.

Needless to say, I was enjoying myself and having a great time.  Although I didn’t know it at the time, my friend told him that he didn’t have a chance with me, so he shouldn’t even try.  He is not one to just throw in the towel, and he didn’t take that as the final word.  During a brief game break he asked me if I would give him my real phone number if he asked for it.  When I said yes, he asked if I would actually pick up if he called.  That got me laughing, and got him my number.

He walked me to my car that night and was a perfect gentleman, which I have to admit I made a little difficult.  He told me that he wanted to take me out on a date soon and get to know me.  About 30 minutes later he called me to make sure I got home safely, and I knew he could be a keeper.  The rest is, as they say, history.”

My perfect, plastic story fit my perfectly make-believe version of life – Kinda like this Barbie that’s all hearts and pink and perfectly manufactured.

Here’s the shorter, more “real” version:

I went out to a bar with my friend.  We proceeded to get drunk and throw darts.  I met a friend of hers.  She challenged him that he could never “get me.”  He pursued me just to prove her wrong (having not really been all that interested in me to begin with).  We flirted, drank some more, and I insulted him a few times because I’m mean like that when I’ve been drinking.  I was impressed when he didn’t cry, and flattered when he asked for my number.  Once the bar closed he walked me to my car, we made out and dry humped a bit on the street.  He refused to come home with me.  He called me later that night to sooth my drunken ego, and make sure I didn’t kill myself (or someone else) on the way home.  He asked to take me out on a date some time.  I agreed.

Yeah, that’s really it.  Not too flattering to either of us.  And I’m not proud of the drinking, the “whore-ish” behavior on my part or the drunk driving (really not cool – REALLY).  I was coming off a bad 7-year relationship with my high school sweet-heart (a completely different story).  He had just started working again after his own bad breakup and meltdown (really a different story that I will have to get into at some point).  There was bad behavior, lies, and poor judgement involved.  I will not justify myself because a lot of that was incredibly wrong and in hindsight I am lucky (on so many levels) that I am not dead.

I will say that I now realize there is nothing remotely romantic, stable, or marriage-building in our first meeting – or really a lot of our early dating.  I can’t believe how stupid and reckless I was.  It doesn’t matter that this was only the 4th or so time I had ever been out to a bar, that I was 22, that I have never had a one-night stand, that I do not agree with driving drunk, that I am normally a safe and intelligent woman, or that I was trying to numb some serious internal pain.  What matters is that night ranks as one of the worst moments for me personally, yet somehow I tried to make it sound like the beginning of some “Happily Ever After” scenario.  And I believed myself for a while!  How ridiculous!

Do you delude yourself about your relationship – either the one you’re in or one in the past?  This was just the beginning for me, as you will find out in future posts.


16 Responses to “Our Story”

  1. infinitymadness2 August 15, 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    Wow, until I read this I honestly hadn’t considered this to be true to my relationship. I met my husband similar to your night – out and about, drunk, the make out session, driving home drunk.
    Looking back it hurts to accept those signs you see but want to act like you don’t. Then wondering years later why you’re going through this, when it was kind of clear pretty early on that you weren’t going to have a rose garden and white picket fence.
    This is an awesome reality check. Thank you!

    • beautifulmess7 August 15, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Yeah… I had to look at some hard truths about that relationship. I’m glad this resonated with you in some way.

  2. inlovewiththenight March 22, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Wow, this really made me think! I am already sugar-coating the story of my current “office affair”. Like it was love at first sight and all that bullshit. And it wasn’t! Until we started going out for drinks after work with a couple of workmates, I hadn’t even noticed him although I had talked to him a few times. But I honestly don’t know if I knew his name at that time. So when I got to know him a bit better I developed a crush on him pretty quickly, but it was definitely not love at first sight. Why do we always want to make ourselves believe this? Love can be good even if it’s not at first sight…

    • beautifulmess7 March 22, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      Very true. Love isn’t always some fairytale story. In fact, it probably never is. Or at least very, very rarely. The people with the “perfect” story are probably kidding themselves. On the other hand, I have since read that couples who remember the positive things about the beginning of their relationship are more likely to stay together. That seems kinda obvious… if you are already looking at all of the negatives it probably means the feel-good emotions are all but gone.

      • inlovewiththenight March 23, 2013 at 6:04 am #

        That is true! I am all for remembering the positive – there is way too much negativity in this world anyway. But I think it’s all about remembering in a healthy, real way – not sugar-coating or trying to make everything into a fairy tale story because that way you make your relationship kind of non-discussable. I found that with my fiancee – it all seemed so perfect and the most romantic love story ever, so I kind of didn’t allow myself room for any other feelings. It’s better to acknowledge the good and the not so good parts – it can still be romantic but there must be room for imperfection. Uh, it’s not easy to put into words what I mean…

        • beautifulmess7 March 23, 2013 at 6:10 am #

          It’s much better to live in reality than a fantasy because the latter never lasts and ends up biting you in the butt.

  3. Tiffany (lifewithblondie) October 17, 2012 at 10:06 pm #

    I totally get what you mean about creating a fairy tale story that isn’t quite the reality. I think we all do that on some level. New to your blog, checking out all your stories! Good luck to you on this journey…

    • beautifulmess7 October 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      I’m flattered that you would go back and catch up on a few of my stories. I will be checking out your blog, too… Just as soon as tomorrow morning gets here so it can get out of my head.

  4. dbiscuit July 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Loved this post! I never actually put our fantasy version and the real version side by side….might have to try that one of these days. Thanks for the reality check- one of our therapists told us that “mental health is a commitment to reality…at all costs.” Your post was a good reminder of that!

    • beautifulmess7 July 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm #

      I like that. I now definitely have a committment to reality. No matter how much it hurts, no matter if it embarrasing. Thanks for the encouragement!

  5. Cdn Stormlover July 12, 2012 at 8:41 am #

    I don’t know anyone who hasn’t “sugarcoated” their relationship to some degree. Most of us do. We all want our own “fairy tale” and want everyone to see what we want them to…..instead of the reality of it.
    This was a great post! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  6. beautifulmess7 April 11, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Thanks! I kinda liked that, too. 😉 I’m surprising myself that my writing isn’t totally awful.

  7. beautifulmess7 April 11, 2012 at 8:08 am #

    It’s so true. Thanks for sharing the two versions of your story. I mostly posted this as a way to remind myself to be honest with myself, especially in this blog. I always knew the “real” story, but I smoothed out the edges and smudged it a little like an artist does with charcoal in order to make it fit the picture of who I wanted myself and my relationship to be.

    • Ben April 11, 2012 at 1:35 pm #

      I love that imagery, an artist smudging the lines of memory to smooth them out and make them more lovely 🙂

  8. Ben April 10, 2012 at 9:08 pm #

    Hahaha! I too have two different versions of the story were I met my future (and now former) wife. The version I tell the kids is that I first laid eyes on her at the bus stop outside the Student Commons where a friend introduced us and there was an immediate connection… and about 10 years later I proposed to her at that exact spot. The “real” version was that we really didn’t get together until about a year after we met, and we were the last two people standing at a party, having drunk everyone else under the table, and started groping and making out. Things progressed fast after that, then cooled off, then we stayed friends, then got back together, then broke up, then got back together and finally got married LOL 🙂


  1. Powerful Quote « Being a Beautiful Mess - July 12, 2012

    […] that means I have to accept it – warts and all.  It’s funny – that was one of my first blog posts.  I wrote about getting rid of the fairy tale ideas of your relationship and seeing the […]

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