It has been a long time since I’ve posted an EX-Factor post. These are the hardest to write about because it can often open old wounds, but I feel they are necessary for me to reflect on my past and bring readers up to speed on how I got to where I am. My first two EX-Factor posts were Whitney and Heather due to the fact those two have had the greatest impact on me and my dating. Now my plan is to backtrack a bit and go chronologically. (Note: In EX-Factor posts the timing of when a relationship happened is crucial to understanding the story. If you need a visual- visit the TIMELINE.)
It has been over ten years since I’ve last seen “Kayla” but even now I know she won’t soon be forgotten. At the time I was less than a year removed from my college graduation and I was back working/living in my hometown. Every once in a while I would run into an old friend of mine from high school who also moved back after finishing college. One day she tells me “Hey, I’ve got this cute girl you should meet!” To this day, I typically cringe at these words (perhaps due to what happens later in the story), but at the time I was single, having difficulty meeting girls, and had never been set-up before. Out of shear curiosity, I told her to go ahead and figure out a night where we could meet.
About a week later, there was a night my friend and Kayla were meeting out for appetizers and drinks and I was asked to join them at some point in the night. I stopped by and we all chatted for a while over drinks. Kayla and I hit it off, and she was indeed very cute! As we walked out of the restaurant, I asked Kayla for her number right in front of my friend. It was a little awkward, but I don’t think it caught anyone off guard. Less than a week later we went on our first date, had our first kiss, and we were on our way. A few weeks later we were a couple, getting together most nights of the week, meeting each others parents, and introducing each other as “boyfriend” and “girlfriend.”
Occasionally Kayla and I would talk about our previous relationship experiences. It had been a couple of years since she had broken up from her first and only long-term relationship, and she was aware of the fact it had been about a year since Whitney (also my first and at the time my only long-term relationship) had abruptly broken up with me. The practical side of me told myself that since it had been over a year since my break-up with Whitney that I certainly must be over her and continued to move forward in my relationship with Kayla. Everything was going smoothly and there was no reason for me to have any doubts, but then slowly doubts started creeping up on me. When I was with Kayla everything was fine, but when I had time to think about things something just didn’t seem right. I remember at one point she left for a week to visit family and at some point I remember thinking “I’m not missing her.” What the hell was going on here? When I didn’t see Whitney for a week it killed me, why was I not missing Kayla? Then suddenly I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t falling in love with Kayla. Needless to say, when Kayla returned things got worse. Now even when I was with her, negative thoughts consumed my head and I couldn’t even enjoy our time together. I felt trapped. Despite how much I liked her, I went over one day and broke things off very unexpectedly. She was disappointed to say the least, but because she was such a sweetheart, she asked if we could still be friends and I agreed.
About a week or two later we started talking and occasionally hanging out again. Kayla was new to the area and although I was in my hometown, most of my friends were in other cities, so neither of us had any close friends in the area at the time. As a result, we continued to spend a decent amount of time together. Weeks pass by and I can see she is getting more and more comfortable with the fact that we are friends and no longer dating. We hang out just enough that I know that she is moving on with her life. Gradually I start visioning her meeting some other guy and the thought of it disturbed me. After all, she is a catch, and I’m still not really sure why I ended things with her other than “something didn’t feel right.” What does that mean anyway??? At least that is what I kept asking myself. I start debating whether or not I should start dating her again and now I begin to feel stupid for ending things in the first place. After all, she is sweet, cute, generous, very fit, and a great cook. Who wouldn’t want to be with this girl? I started feeling like my time could be running out, so the next time we hung out and things started getting flirtatious, I made a move and kissed her. She didn’t resist at all, but did eventually stop and ask if this is something I really wanted. I said yes and she said she needed to think about it. She didn’t need that much time as she called me the next day and said she wanted to give things a second chance and asked to meet up again.
Unfortunately, it was only about four to six weeks later that the doubts started creeping up on me again. This was magnified by the fact that Kayla hesitated to put herself out there with me like she had before. Although she had every reason to do this, it kept reminding me of how much I had hurt her and that things might never get back to where they were. Eventually I was right back to where I was when I broke up the first time, but this time I couldn’t bear to have the conversation again. Her guard was up pretty high, so she must have read into this. One night I got home late and could have called her, but opted not too. We didn’t have plans to talk that night, but we spoke on the phone most nights if we didn’t hang out. The next day she called me and confronted me almost immediately. “Are you having doubts again, like before?” she asked. I hesitated to say anything. I’m not even sure if I answered, but I do remember the lashing I received over the phone as she told me in anger that she should’ve never trusted me again and that she didn’t want to see me anymore. I think that’s the first time I had ever heard her get angry, and it was so out of character for her it really surprised me. I got off the phone feeling worse than ever.
I thought in time she would not be so upset and we would go back to being friends again, but that never happened. We both moved shortly after that and I lived less than a block from where she worked and she lived less than a block from where I worked, and both locations are less than a mile from each other so we crossed paths often. I rarely ran into her face to face, but I’ll never forget how cold she was to me when that happened. She’s the only person whose ever treated me like I didn’t exist at all. I still wanted to be her friend, so it hurt that she reacted that way to me.
Before I had even met her, I had a Match.com profile I started (no pictures, just enough to occasionally scan through pics of single ladies when I was single). After we weren’t together I saw she was on there, in short time her profile was gone and I would see a car in her driveway, which I assumed was her new boyfriend. Two years later I had heard she moved to the city he was from and they got married. Occasionally I look up her profile on Facebook (no, we are not friends obviously) and from the last time I looked they had were married with two to three kids.
Fast forward to today… If you’ve been following me for a while, you know that I often refer to the quote “Hindsight is 20/20”. Well, in hindsight, I was certainly NOT over Whitney when I started my relationship with Kayla and had no business pursuing a relationship at the time. Back then I couldn’t admit it, but I was still hoping/wishing that Whitney would come back into my life again (careful what you wish for, as you know if you’ve read that story). I felt most uneasy with things when I started having feelings for Kayla and wasn’t keeping myself emotionally available in the event of a return of Whitney, and additionally I felt uncomfortable with the fact that Kayla started having stronger feelings towards me that I couldn’t reciprocate. I don’t feel it was wrong to be friends with Kayla, but to be flirtatious with her and keep stringing her along was not right and I regret that. Obviously I also regret getting involved in a relationship with her for the second time and I realized later that someone should only do that if they are feeling really strongly about that person, not because of fear of letting someone get away. I also realized that sometimes you have to give up getting the closure you want in order to give the other person the closure they want. Anyway, even though I never fell in love with Kayla and didn’t have a long-term relationship with her, I still consider her a significant ex-girlfriend from the past because of the amount of years I went beating myself up about letting a really great person get away for really no reason at all. It took me years to come to peace about it and I would be much more cautious in the future about letting anyone get too close to me after that.
My last post before my hiatus was Apology Letter. There were many girls out there that I ended dating/relationships with at that point of my life without being aware of the reason that I wish could get that message, but no one would I like to deliver that message to than Kayla. It is a mute point though now as it appears everything worked out for her. I hope she continues to be happy in the future.
Thanks to all of you that continue to follow!