When the Past Ends Up in Your Inbox


Shutterfly gave me a nice little reminder this past week. It showed me pictures from 9 years ago…pictures of myself and my ex-boyfriend that I apparently still had saved in my account online (they were promptly deleted). This came after discovering a box in my garage a few weeks ago that I hadn’t been through since I moved in (which included pictures of he and I). Why they have this feature now, I have no idea but this wasn’t some happy reminder like the email clearly thought it was. It was a sad reminder that it’s been 9 years since I was in a full blown relationship. And it made me feel kind of pathetic at the time.

As I’ve said many times over, being single is almost completely my own choice. And most of the time I’m completely content with it. But I don’t like to be reminded of how long it’s been. It feels like a failure. I haven’t been able to find something that stuck in all this time, even if I wasn’t really looking for it to begin with. He’s moved on tenfold and had no problem meeting women to date and I had one after the other fall apart or disappear.

I’ve started to get mad at all those people who told me the boys would be lined up when I got older because I was so pretty. It set unrealistic expectations. For once, I didn’t think about my disability. I thought those people must have been right since so many people were saying the same thing. But they weren’t. I not only never had a line of boys wanting to date me, I didn’t even start dating until way after everyone else did. And even then, it’s not like I was ever juggling admirers. I was usually making bad choices and going for the wrong guy simply because he paid me some kind of attention. As a result, I ended up in a relationship with someone very wrong for me simply because I was tired of waiting. No matter how many signs there were of just how wrong the whole thing was.

If I think realistically about my dating past, I did have a couple of chances. There are guys that I could have been in relationships with but it wasn’t right for whatever reason and I wasn’t willing to settle. Not again. And then the opportunities just kind of dried up. My life is pretty darn good. I don’t usually feel like I’m missing out on anything by not being in a relationship. It would be nice to have someone to do stuff with all the time but that’s the only thing I miss. I’m actually perfectly happy to do things with my awesome friends instead. And I don’t miss the distraction dating provided. Wondering if the guy’s going to call. Trying to figure out if he likes me or how much I like him. Making sure he’s not a player and only interested in one thing. I don’t have much emotional head space to devote to that anymore.

When I got into a relationship, I finally felt like I’d caught up with everyone else. I didn’t think that I could get so far behind again and that part is hard too. Of course there’s no timeline other than the ones we create in our head but at this point I only have one grandparent left and she probably wouldn’t be able to make it to a wedding if that ever actually happened. Most of the time when I’m in groups, I’m the only one who is still single. I don’t know what kind of physical state I’ll be in the older I get. I may be ok, I may not. How many family members will still be around? My late 20s were really the good years. I would have liked to have some time with someone when I was younger and my body was still in pretty good condition. So I can’t help feeling like the ship has sailed. Even though I don’t want kids or couldn’t really have them if I wanted to, I know I don’t need to be in a rush, I just don’t really have any interest in meeting someone when I’m 40+.

I guess I have to believe it’ll happen if it’s supposed to. But right now I’ve accepted that I think this is how my life is supposed to be in the relationship area. And hopefully it’ll be without any more Shutterfly reminders.

photo credit: Bazar del Bizzarro heart of glass#55301ep via photopin (license)

3 thoughts on “When the Past Ends Up in Your Inbox

  1. I just read this, Jackie. It was very good, especially the part about “you’ll have boys lining up for you when you’re older”, I too was told that about the girls when I got older,… boy, that would tick me off! I just recently broke up with my gf of 18 months, after waiting 40+years to get one, it hurt, but I was mature enough to realize that there were some “red flags” which I could not ignore! I’m not going to say what they were, because that’s between she and I, but I will say that there were 2 issues, and they were both significant. I am trying not to kick myself by getting down about it and (with help from Prozac) I am succeeding! I have also decided to take at least a 6 month hiatus from dating (maybe more, if I feel comfortable enough with it). Don’t get me wrong, it was enjoyable while it lasted, but it also showed me how “draining” a relationship with kids could be, so I do not regret the relationship in the least! Besides that, I also realized that I have some things I want to take care of, myself…before I settle down (if I ever do). So, I think you “hit the nail on the head” with being who you are.

    1. Hi Kerry. Thanks so much for sharing your experience! I took a hiatus from dating too just to focus on myself and it really helped. I think it’s really good to know how to be on your own before you fully settle down like you said. Thanks for the comment, appreciate it!

  2. Hi Jackie,
    While reading your post there were a couple of things I felt that I related to so much. It seems many of us are told that in the future there will be so many people who will want to have a relationship with us. But the reality is that serious relationships don’t really come by as easily as they made our younger selves believe. Just recently I also went through a significant break up and still see ALL of our old pictures. For me, the reminders come as the notifications for social media for my “memories”, which I agree with you isn’t always a happy reminder. However, like yourself, I have been working to get back to being happy with myself. I also tend to question if I really am meant to be in a relationship but tell myself daily that everything will work out the way it is meant to and when the right time comes. Thank you for sharing your feelings and insight in this post.

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