Maybe I'm being presumptuous, but I feel like my experience is uniquely...unique. And uniquely pathetic.
I met Alice* at summer camp when I was 14 and she was 16. We stayed friends through the next couple of years, even the next summer when we both went back to the same camp. I live in southern California and she lived up north so we never really got together outside of camp, but we spoke on the phone every now and then. When I was 15, after camp ended that summer, she introduced me to one of her friends from high school over the phone, Wade*. Wade and I talked for a bit and didn't really talk again for almost another year. We spoke again when I was on the phone with Alice and Wade was there with her. From then on, we started talking on AIM frequently and then gradually called each other more and more until we were speaking every day at length. We were really into each other and talked about everything; about high school, past relationships, our dreams for the future, our likes and dislikes, fears and private desires. We were really inseparable...over the phone.
I'd been struggling with my weight for a long time, since I was eleven. I'd tried a lot of different diets and methods to lose weight, but I loved food too much and exercise too little. I incidentally didn't have a lot of male admirers through middle school and freshman year. I had lost some weight by the start of sophomore year and had a boyfriend, but it was a pretty lame high school relationship that only lasted a couple of months. By the time I'd started talking to Wade, however, I had gained back a considerable amount of weight. Needless to say, it was definitely easier to speak with him and carry on this "relationship" without the pressure of having to worry about how I looked. He sent me numerous pictures throughout the months and by the end I had still never sent him one. The pressure worsened with the fact that he was really very attractive. Very. From the beginning, he consistently asked when we were going to meet and I was coy, saying I wanted to talk for a little while longer; that I "wasn't ready", when in reality I was dying to see him and was hating myself for not having lost all my weight sooner. I buckled down and tried to change. It didn't help that he sent me candy on Valentine's Day. :( I never told him that I was overweight, but at some point, I think he may have figured it out, though I think he probably thought it was 20 lbs and not the 50 that it actually was. Whenever we spoke I was so happy. I wanted to feel the happiness I knew I would feel if we were actually together, so I ate better and went to the gym everyday. He kept expressing how much he wanted to be with me and that it was killing him that he couldn't be. The weight was not coming off fast enough.
He had finished high school the year before and had plans to live and work in Hawaii as a server at a restaurant for a couple of months, then travel around Europe before going to college. While he was in Hawaii, we spoke as consistently as when he was home. I really lived to talk to him and looked forward to every call or e-mail. We had just begun to say "I love you" before he left. We were both virgins at the time and, it sounds weird now saying this, but we promised ourselves to eachother. A few weeks later he told me he had hooked up with a tourist he met and it really broke my heart. He was very sincere in his apology and said he wished that it had been me with him instead, but that I was the one holding out to see him and he needed that kind of attention. I was definitely hurt and angry, but I was really in love with him and we had been talking by this point for give or take four months. So I tried to understand and forgave him. I also found out that he had lost his virginity to someone when he was in Italy, but that was much later.
This made me want to lose weight even faster. I started doing crystal meth to do so. I will regret this decision for the rest of my life, not just because it aided in ending and severing any relationship I had or could have with Wade, but because of the mental and emotional consequences I endured, and perhaps still endure, as a direct result of using. I lost a lot of weight and started getting a lot of attention form other guys, but I didn't want anyone else but Wade. But...I was so messed up. I completely changed. I fought with Wade a lot, bringing up his hook-ups and taking my insecurites out on him. I was also struggling in school and the come-downs from the meth just made my depression with my situations even worse. I hated myself physically more than ever. I was happy that I was losing weight, but somehow the drug made me feel even less attractive and made me analyze every single imperfection. I was so obsessed with Wade that I wanted to be absolutely perfect for him. I kept prolonging our rendezvous until he really couldn't take that I was making him wait so long (it had been about nine or ten months by this point) and that I was so completely insane and kind of obsessed with talking to him constantly. I was so insecure with myself and about other girls that I wanted to be attatched at the ear, for lack of a better phrase. I stopped doing meth because I began throwing up the protein shake that was my only meal every day, and one day I saw blood in the toilet. The effects still lingered, however. Our relationship was irreparable. I could feel he he had lost interest and that he was sad about it. I felt both of our regrets and dissatisfaction. I tried to pretend like I really didn't need him either and I said a lot of things that I still regret that I definitely didn't mean. He told me not to call him for a while but I didn't listen. He then told me he really didn't want to talk to me anymore and didn't love me like he used to. During the time we didn't speak was the worst time of my life. I thought my heart would never heal. The emotional pain was really unbearable.
He had still never even seen a picture of me. I started dating someone a couple months later and Wade and I talked a few more times. He also started dating someone. When I talked about my boyfriend he said it hurt him to hear about it. He told me a little bit about his new girlfriend. He sounded really happy. I called him a few more times, each time he pretty much brushed me off. I left him a voicemail on his birthday and we never spoke again. It's been about seven years now and I've thought of him often, always regretting never having met him, always wondering what could have been. I'm in a relationship now with someone I love and have been for a little over three years. It's so sad for me to say and I feel so pathetic about this, but I have to confess that part of my heart still belongs to Wade. I thought it would be cathartic, so I unfortunately e-mailed him a couple of years ago with a letter telling him that I was sorry for what had happened between us and had no real expectations, but that if he wanted to write back he could. He replied, somewhat angry that I had invaded his privacy. He said he was glad that I seemed better but that he hadn't thought about me for "quite some time" and that he was married now (I found out that he married the same girl he was dating right before we stopped talking for good) and had no desire to reconnect with me or any other girl from his past before his wife.
I wish I could completely forget, but I haven't been able to completely shake him. I found his wedding photos on a site that you have to register with to use. So I put my information in. I realized afterwards that the site has a security feature that informs the owner of who views the pics. I'm sure he knows I saw them. (The photos, by the way, were perfect. His wife is so beautiful and they look incredibly happy and in love. ..I feel extra insane writing that because it's a part of his life that I permeated without consent and am now describing as if I have a right.) I also found a blog that he had online that he's since stopped updating. I found him on Facebook, and his profile is so secure that even the "see friends" feature is off. Also, I recently became friends with Alice on Facebook, and he must have seen it since he's friends with her too because he doesn't show up in her friends list anymore. I believe since he found out I also have a Facebook, he has blocked me from being able to even see that he exists.
Yes...I feel really crazy and pitiful. I never imagined myself as "that girl." I know that it was so long ago and a seemingly insignificant drop in the bucket of "live and learn." I also feel selfish because he obviously met the perfect girl for him and he's really happy. He might not have met her if we had in fact gotten together, and who knows? We might have ended badly anyway. I'm totally ashamed that he most likely feels that I'm stalking him online; I kind of was. I'm embarrassed to even be telling strangers this, but really...in the time I've been writing this, I've felt a little better to be sharing it (I'm glad, however, that it's anonymous). I wish I could go back in time and fix so many things. I don't know that we would have lasted, but not trying or even knowing what could have been is a huge, huge regret. It also ties into my body issues, of course, because I feel that the weight was the root of it all. I wish I had just kept up with the natural diet and exercise. If I had, I wouldn't have been on drugs and completely crazy. I mean, he stayed on with me for about nine months; I would have lost enough weight in that time. I really didn't need the drug. I did it because I thought it would be faster and I was afraid he would lose interest due to the waiting, not due to me actually doing the drug, as it is. I've wished many times that I could just forget about him completely.
Anyway. I feel so sad for the girl I was back then. I'm still trying to better myself and move on. I still dream about him sometimes. No joke: I had a dream just last night that I was trying to crash his wedding! For ****'s sake. I guess that's what prompted me to write this. There are other things in my life that I'm not completely satisfied with and I know that if I fix those things, things like this won't matter so much and the experience will just be a memory, not a memory and a source of shame, regret, and sadness.
If you've made it this far, thanks for reading.
*Of course, names have been changed.