It is only in hindsight that I realize that when it comes to knowing when to say “when” with my ex-boyfriend, I was That Girl. Ugh. The one you never want to be. You know, she’s the one in the horror movie who decides to leave the secure cabin with only her flashlight while the killer is on the loose. Some people yell, “No! No! Don’t do it!” at the screen. They empathize, seeing that she just doesn’t see the reality of the situation she is in. I, on the other hand, was usually the one leaning over to my friend and whispering my judgment, “What a moron. Who would be stupid enough to do that?”
Apparently, I was stupid enough to do that. Twice.
The first time, there was some mutual hemming and hawing. Did we really want to do this? Was breaking up the answer, or did we just need to think about some things? So, we took a month off, to ponder our relationship. While apart, I pondered many things, but apparently did not spend enough time pondering the times he told me I just wasn’t his type. Or that he thought I should dress sexier when we went out (I did remind him that going to Red Robin is not really considered "going out."). Essentially, he wanted to change me. But, blinded by the drunkenness of first love, and armed with my flashlight, I left the cabin to wander around in the woods.
Three weeks later, he broke up with me again. I yelled at him, slammed a door in his face, and told him we would never be friends. Two whole weeks later, I decided that enough time had passed for being friends to work out just fine. This time, I didn’t even bring the flashlight.
Regular friends lasted about a week. Then, we made out in the car. And as movie-goers everywhere yelled, “No, no! Don’t do it!” I entered the dreaded “friends with benefits” stage. That’s what I call it now-because that’s what it was. At the time, I called it, “Just seeing what’s going to happen,” or even better, “It’s complicated. He needs to take things slowly and not put any labels on this.”
Oh, yes. I was That Girl. The one I had silently judged for years, seeing her as weak and pathetic. Internally rolling my eyes when she tried to explain why she was still with that same boyfriend we’d all told her to break up with.
And then, finally, enough was enough. I locked the door to the cabin, put the chair up against it, and called the cops. But, even though I finally wised up, I learned not to judge the girl with the flashlight. Sometimes, you just have to see for yourself what’s out there.