Through coincidence, back in May, one of my childhood boyfriends and I bumped into each other. It was he who recognized me (he said he knew me by my eyes), but I’m sure that hearing my name Janie was a big tip off too. I mean, how many Janie’s do you know?
Anyway, I was stunned when he told me who he was. I could see the boy I thought I was in love with briefly when I was a young girl. By his mannerisms, the voice and even though the hair was sprinkled with grey, I knew it was him. I wrote about him briefly here.
But here’s an update. He insisted that we meet because he needed to tell me something important. He found out I lived near his job and asked if he could stop over to talk with me. So we ended up at my house to sit on the patio. I was wary because why did he insist on seeing me? I was glad to see my neighbor out in the yard when we began talking.
Of course I kept wondering what he could possibly want to say to me after so many years? I was young when we dated and he was four years older. We didn’t date for more than probably six months and although it didn’t end well because he was far too serious for me at that time, I hadn’t thought of him in years. What could he possibly feel so determined to tell me? I held no ill will towards him and always kept him as a fond memory, but that was it.
It was awkward at first. We had a glass of tea outside on the patio. No way was he coming inside my house. I just kept the conversation light, asking questions about his family and his job until I felt like his nerves (and mine) settled a bit. He wanted me to know how well he’d turned out and I was truly happy for him. The conversation was mostly about him though which was fine. He didn’t ask me a lot about me.
So what was his purpose in wanting to sit down to talk with me? Closure.
He was hurt that I broke up with him years ago – 36 years ago to be exact. I was in high school and he was in college when we dated. He became too serious for me too quickly. So when I tried to explain that to him, he couldn’t understand it because his parents had met at age 15 and married out of high school and he was planning on the same for me. Oh no way!! So when I tried to let him down easily, he didn’t get the message. My father stepped in and told him it was over. When he begged to say goodbye to me, my father refused. I knew he was hurt, but he couldn’t understand that just because his parents fell in love at 15, it didn’t mean that we were forever loves.
He said he needed closure and to tell me how hurt he’d been that my father had not let him say goodbye to me. He told me how he’d cried and how afterwards he had a hard time with relationships. He told me how beautiful I was (and repeatedly said I still am) and how I was the one that got away. How he still loved me and how he couldn’t understand that we weren’t like his parents.
Oh seriously? As he poured out his heart, I apologized for the hurt he’d felt and reminded him that as a father of daughters himself, perhaps he could put himself in my father’s shoes at that time. He still didn’t really understand. He had a story in his head and he was sticking with it.
I gently explained how we’d lived a lifetime since we’d dated and how I was happy with my life. I don’t think he heard me too well. But then, that was the reason my father had stepped in years before – he never did listen to what I said.
He’s a nice guy and it was very flattering to hear all that, but still! Can you imagine if he weren’t happy in his new marriage? Now he knows I’m divorced, but he never asked me if I had a boyfriend and I never said anything about that. Because it was all about him getting the hurt off his chest.
I don’t mean to sound callous because I’m not that way. I felt for him then, but I also know that there’s a piece that simply doesn’t understand what the reality was between us. He’s a sensitive man whom I will always hold a fondness for, but that’s it.
As I hugged him when he left and gave him a kiss on the cheek, I also closed the door to any further communication in the nicest way possible. I don’t need a stalker. Nor am I the kind of woman to be with a married man. We met and had a chance to catch up. At least that was my take on it, but once I realized that he still held feelings for me, I watched what I said more astutely.
Because I feel for people. I want to make it ok in your head that you have closure now and I’m sorry you were hurt. But what I wanted to say was that he was pushy and I was really young and although he knew he wanted me for his wife, I was not there at all and if I had wanted him for my husband, obviously if I shared that feeling, we would have been like his parents. But there was no way then…and not even now.
So, I gently reminded him of all the wonderful stuff he’d done in his life and said how great that he was happy. Kept it positive. But there’s that inkling in my head that says beware.
Have you ever had anything like this happen to you?