What does she look like? It was the first thing I wondered when I heard that the guy I’d been crushing on forever was actually seeing someone. He was the kind of guy that a lot of girls are enamored with- easygoing, witty, great with kids, outdoorsy and adventurous, and good-looking in that Nicholas Sparks boy-next-door kind of way. Seeing that he was one of my best friend’s older brothers, I’d known him for a long time. As the years passed and the age difference stopped seeming like such a big deal, he went from being a silly crush to someone I was seriously interested in. And some stuff happened there, but it was never substantial. I knew it was just for fun and that to let myself get attached would be dumb, but- SPOILER ALERT- I got attached. When it didn’t lead anywhere, I was sad, but the dude was perpetually single. Naively thinking he would be single for pretty much ever made the blow of knowing we would probably never really get together much easier to handle.
But then a few months after our most recent shenanigans, my coworker told me she’d seen him with a girl at the restaurant we both work at. My stomach dropped. He actually took a girl out on a date? Don’t let this bother you that little voice in my head kept telling me. Good joke. Of course it bothered me. Why had he never taken me out on a date? We hung out with his brothers all the time, I was close with his family; what had been the problem? I started doing what so many of us do so well, overthinking. Had I not said the right things, did I not say enough? Was I not athletic enough? Had I tried too hard? Was my hair too short? The questions were never ending.
A few weeks after hearing about this mysterious girl, I came face to face with her, completely unprepared. My best friend and a few of our friends had been hanging around a campfire at his house (where he lived with my crush) when all of a sudden my crush’s truck rolled in (I was under the assumption he’d be at a party all night)…followed by another car. I froze in my lawn chair. My best friend’s girlfriend turned to me “I think this might be his new girlfriend- are you ok???” Was I okay? My heart was pounding. How the hell was I going to sit through this? I couldn’t just leave, it would be way too obvious in showing how much I was affected by him. No, I would be strong and stay. Maybe they wouldn’t even come hang out with us.
My best friend left us to go grab a few more beers and to say hi to his brother, and his girlfriend and I sat waiting. “I don’t think they’re coming,” she whispered. But not two seconds later, we heard the grass behind us rustling as someone walked through it.
“Hi!” Here she was. A girl I had dreaded meeting before I even knew she existed. Her voice was pleasant, her smile warm, and her hair long, blonde, and shining even in the dull light of the fire. I introduced myself and shook her hand. She took an empty chair next to us and we all started talking. Damn it. I kind of liked her.
For the next two hours, I tried my hardest to act like nothing was bothering me while everyone talked and sipped on warm Bud Light. I pretended to be listening to everything everyone had to say, but I don’t remember any of the conversation. I just remember the way he kept her glass filled, smiled at the stories she told, and placed handfuls of popcorn on the arm of her chair while she propped her feet in his lap.
Needless to say, that night when I got into my car I instantly burst into tears. She was great, and all I could do was compare myself to her for the next few hours. While it had been nice to see that he was capable of being the sweet and doting guy I thought he might be, it sucked that I wasn’t the type of girl he wanted to be that type of guy towards.
I moped for a day. Ranted to my mom and sister. Then asked the stereotypical question that every girl asks when a former flame’s with someone new- “Is she prettier than me?” My sister had been at the fire for a tiny bit with us. Dutifully, she told me no. At some point during my self-pity party, it dawned on me that I was beating myself up literally over nothing. I was in a horrible mood because I had come face to face with the “better option” and now felt like something had to be wrong with me.
I wasn’t devastated over the fact that we hadn’t wound up together- we weren’t really compatible and could barely keep a conversation going. It was a crush based on attraction. I was upset because I was dealing with rejection in the form of some girl who clearly had something over me (that’s paranoia talking, not fact). But why? Everyone has different tastes, everyone is attracted to different types of people. This girl seemed great, but that didn’t mean I was great too. It wasn’t my fault that I had crushed on this guy just as much as it wasn’t his fault that he hadn’t crushed back. What should have been just a disappointment had manifested into me suddenly questioning everything that might make me appealing to someone. The moment I realized why I was being so hard on myself made everything suddenly so clear.
It’s so easy to try and compare ourselves to others, to say they’re more attractive, they’re funnier, they’re nicr, and the list goes on and on. And it’s probably a normal human instinct. I mean, look at nature itself. Animals are constantly outdoing themselves. Bucks will fight to the death, for God’s sake, to prove that they are the better option for a female they’re both after. It’s not a competition folks. Everyone has great and unique qualities. To some people, those qualities will make up their ideal partner, and unfortunately for others, it might not be their cup of tea. But that doesn’t mean something is wrong with you or that the person your ex winds up with is a better choice than you are. It just means they’re a better fit. Let’s be real, when we think about the person we’d like to end up with, we want that relationship to fit us like a glove. It shouldn’t be forced- you wouldn’t squeeze your foot into a shoe two sizes too small, so why would you try and make a relationship work with a person who doesn’t fit you right?
I know, it’s hard in today’s society to not feel those twangs of jealousy or remorse when you suddenly see your ex flame or an unrequited crush post a new profile picture with their new love interest. We’re constantly subjected to a constant flow of social media images and posts that all but shove the information in our face. It’s ok to feel those things, but you have to stop yourself from asking “What do they have that I don’t?” Instead, turn that negative energy into a positive one. Think about how exciting an idea it is to know that somewhere out there, your better fit is waiting to be found.
Keep your chins up, my fellow dumped, broken hearted, and wishful thinkers. You are a WONDERFUL person, don’t ever let anyone else make you think otherwise.
Bringing you love and relationship advice that’s brutally honest, mortifyingly funny and devastatingly heartbreaking from our own real life experiences. We make the mistakes so you don’t have to. Check out more from Love, Anonymously on TDQ…