Today’s Hump Day theme is to discuss a pivotal childhood memory or event. For more takes on this topic, check out Julie at Using My Words. It would be even better if you used YOUR words and joined us!
Childhood is such a melange of memories. It’s hard to put my finger on any one time or place or event that was pivotal. And it is so intensely personal. I’ve never really put anything this personal on the blog before. I would have to say (since I’m writing this part after I wrote the post), it is the most difficult post I have written. I almost skipped today, to be honest. But that would be chicken of me. One of the most pivotal times in my younger life would have to be the time I was with my first “real” boyfriend, when I was about 16.
What made “Fred” different from the others, both before and after, was that he actually cared about what was going on inside of my head. He was interested in what I had to say, not just what I looked like. He wasn’t threatened by my intelligence or drive. He was a friend first. But, alas, it ended, as most high school things do. Even though it was a pretty mature relationship, we were not. We were still growing up, and our lives were going to be on different paths.
So why was “Fred” so important? Because this relationship set the standard for what I would look for in a spouse. After “Fred”, and I broke up, I dated. A lot. And since “Fred” had been my first boyfriend, I naively thought that all guys would be that way. I was genuinely shocked to find out that many guys felt threatened by woman with a strong personality. It surprised me that most guys would not take the time to learn about my interests the way I would learn about theirs. I was blown away by the fact that most guys did not view the relationship as a partnership. (Ok, you can stop laughing now). Frankly, I was dismayed. But I did know what I was looking for, and I wouldn’t settle.
My friends thought I was a bit crazy when I started dating Spouse. So did his actually, as I had achieved a bit of a “rep” from all of my casual dating. Except for the German part, Spouse did not fit the “profile”. That is, the exterior “profile” of what girls like me would date. The inside, though, was perfect. His mother is a total battle-axe, so a strong personality would not only be desired, but required to survive in his family. He is intensely driven to succeed, so any partner would have to match that intensity or be left behind. And he likes to talk WITH people, not TO people, so you’d better have something to say, because he is actually LISTENING. Instead of feeling threatened by my interests, he enjoys them because he knows it makes me a more complete person. And although it goes without saying, he is my bestest friend ever!
My time with “Fred” was important. It taught me to not settle in a relationship. It showed me what a relationship should be. It helped me to be open to the right person when that person finally came along. Without that experience, I’m not sure I would have been ready or recognized it for what it was. I might have just taken what was left. And I cannot imagine how different my life would be today.