You’ve seen Good Luck Chuck, right? If not, here’s the movie in a nutshell: you will meet the love of your life after you’ve slept with Chuck. And no, the love of your life isn’t Chuck.
I seem to share his gift. Or curse, however you look at things.
I can name a few ex-boyfriends who went on to date a new girl after me and they’re still together. One is saving up for a wedding. Another is happily expecting a child.
If you watch How I Met Your Mother, you might know of the episode “Say Cheese“, where Lily gets huffy about the inclusion of Ted’s ever-changing girlfriends in every group photo. While everyone else is constant, Ted is shown with a different girl every time, and worse still, he cannot remember their names.
For a while, I was on Lily’s side. How dare Ted ruin a group photo by dragging in some random girl du jour into every one of them! “Trying to find ‘The One'” my ass.
And then I realized that I am a Ted. While my sister has introduced only two steady boyfriends to the family, I have shown up with five in the past three and a half years. My mom has offered over half of them her favorite SoCo with Sprite. They are in Christmas, birthday, Thanksgiving, and Fourth of July albums. I don’t know how my family is able to keep up. My only excuse is…I was trying to find The One, and my family was somehow part of that search.
Have I learned anything in the past six years that I’ve been actively dating? Yes. I learned that dating isn’t like the movies, where everyone follows a script and I’m the heroine. Sometimes, I am the cause of the problems. I am the reason we broke up, why he left, and why we fought.
I learned that I should have laid out the terms that I wouldn’t budge on: marriage, kids, commitment. Except I took years to realize that, and I spent most of those years being someone without a clear title except fuck buddy.
It’s crass, and an insult to the woman that I could have been. But it is the truth. I wasn’t as promiscuous as the term would make you think, but I was a quasi-girlfriend for some guys. Someone they can spend lonely days and nights with without having to worry about commitment. Because I never dared to ask, afraid that they’d leave me if I demanded more.
So while I believed I was trying to find The One, I was actually preventing myself from doing so. I was stuck in the idea of sameness, comfort, and familiarity. I wasn’t happy being a non-girlfriend, but I was content being showered with their time. I should have known I deserved better.
I will no longer allow myself to be a Chuck. I will quash down my inner-Ted. At some point, we grow old and tired of the shenanigans that comes with youth. I’ve had my share of those days. It’s time to move on.