The Next Family

By: Heather Somaini

It was about 4 months in when it happened.  I hate the underhanded way we work against ourselves sometimes.  I was growing tired of Tere.  She was starting to bug me.  She was ridiculously pleasant and nice.  She was accommodating and flexible with plans.  Too accommodating really.  Like the others before her, she rarely disagreed with me.  It was becoming very irritating and my irritation showed.  I was behaving badly.  I was not the attentive girlfriend I should have been – I was the exact opposite.  I was distracted, distant, and grumpy.  Tere had been cycling with me and I remember one Saturday being very dismissive.  I knew she was upset and confused but I couldn’t stop it and I couldn’t explain.

I suppose I could chalk it up to being young – but I was 33!  I look back and think that yes, I was immature but more than that, I had no experiences to tell me this wasn’t going to end like all the others – badly.  So I suppose I was just getting ready for the inevitable.  I know now that my relationships all ended poorly because of the decisions I made – not because of the people I was dating.  I was the common denominator.  I had one big assumption about everyone – that they would eventually fail me.  I suppose everyone does fail us at some point, but that’s the part we should embrace – not throw away.  But that’s what I did – I threw them all away and generally told them it was their fault on the way out.

But Tere was different.  She had been on the short end of the relationship stick before and wasn’t going down that road again.  I didn’t realize it at the time but she was gearing up to take me on.  It was a weekend day and we were going out to get something to eat.  I was being ridiculously indecisive about everything – what to wear, where to eat, when to eat.  Tere had had enough.  We were in the car and after one of my grumpy comments, she let me have it.  She told me to drive her back to her car immediately and that when I got my act together, that maybe she would take my call.  Ha!

She was awesome.  I remember being so utterly happy.  I asked her if she was hungry because I was starving!  It was like a huge weight was lifted from my shoulders and I could see clearly again.  Tere thought enough of herself to only want the best from me.  If I was going to treat her badly, she was out the door.  Finally, I had a worthy adversary!  Someone who was not going to let me get away with anything, let alone walk all over her.  I was elated.  Tere on the other hand, was a little confused.  She was ready for a fight and I was not fighting.  I tried to explain – she eventually understood.  It was completely new territory for me so it was challenging!

I suppose I knew then that I was committed to her but I needed another couple months to get it all worked out in my head.  Tere had given me a deadline early on.  She was not interested in a long-term uncommitted relationship.  Her words: “I need a ring on my finger within two years.  Otherwise, I’m out.”  I got the message loud and clear and was determined to beat her deadline.  It was going to require a good bit of planning…but I was up for the challenge!

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