Hello to all my fellow romance addicts. My name’s Cary Carr, and this is Love Smudged – a column full of relationship and sex advice as well as my own memorable (and sometimes slightly embarrassing) stories. I feel that it’s only necessary for me to give you a tiny introduction first, and I will do so by chronicling my own history with love and sex through my most important milestones.
Milestone #1 (Age 15): My first boyfriend
Up until I was 15, I was your normal teenage girl with a crush on that kid who sat behind me in class, daydreaming about the slightest bit of affection or mutual “likeness” going on in my life. But then I got my first boyfriend, Frank. He was your typical metal-head – chain necklace, cut off t-shirts, guitarist for a band. We engaged in the whole making-out in the back of a car, sneaking around, holding hands while walking around the mall. But what I realized was that he wasn’t right for me; in fact, I didn’t really have romantic feelings for him at all. I was simply attracted to the whole idea of having a boyfriend, someone that made me feel more special than the next girl. We broke things off after about eight months, and I came to the conclusion that I wanted the right guy, not just any guy.
Milestone #2 (Age 17): My first heartbreak
Before you get it in your head that you can never possibly get over your first love and start believing that the prospect of finding someone else won’t ever happen, please believe me when I say that every wounded heart truly does heal with time. My first true love hit me like a ten-pound brick right in the face. I couldn’t help it. He was romantic, funny, friends with my friends and just had the certain “it” factor that is impossible to define. But, like most first love stories, it came to a screeching halt when I discovered six months into our relationship that he was cheating on me (ouch x 10). I took him back time and time again, terrified at the prospect of losing him and never receiving that amazingly glorious feeling of love again. But, eventually, he moved on, and I was forced to as well. And now, looking back, I am beyond happy for the experience. I’m stronger, smarter and choosier when it comes to love. And, ladies, we all should be.
Milestone #3 (Age 19): My first time giving in
Ah, freshman year. Keg stands, beer pong, dirty basements and mysterious jungle juice. And, of course, random hook ups. I have no shame in admitting that I’ve slept with more than one person in my lifetime, and why should I? It’s part of being an adult – getting to make your own, personal choices about what you want to do in the bedroom. But we young adults also make our mistakes. I was utterly obsessed with a rising senior (gorgeous, hilarious and clearly way-too-smooth), and I had endlessly tried to receive just a smidge of his attention. Eventually, it worked and oh, did he charm me. Next thing I knew, we were making out on the floor in my dorm-room, and he was working on persuading me to go into the bathroom for a little one-on-one action. Problem: I didn’t really think I was ready to have sex with someone without any sort of commitment. But his sweet words flowed into my ear and next thing I knew, my clothes were on the floor. He promised me that I was “the perfect girl for him” and that he “couldn’t wait to take me on a date.” Unfortunately, those were only words, and next thing I knew, I was crying on the subway reading his (quite cowardly) rejection text messages. So what could I possibly learn? Well, for one not to fall for the guy that swoons every girl at the party, but also that any guy that doesn’t understand the word no the first time isn’t worth it.
Milestone #4 (Age 20): My first time breaking someone else’s heart
My next boyfriend was amazing. To this day, I still think he is by far one of the sweetest, most genuine and down-to-earth men I have ever met. He had his head on straight, treated me like a princess – even when I didn’t deserve it – and deep down loved me with all of his heart. But a year into our relationship, I started having doubts. The love I felt during the honeymoon phase, if it was love, had faded, and I simply wasn’t attracted to him anymore. My dilemma? I had never broken up with someone before, and I was clueless on how to do it in an adult manner. Instead, I started fights with him, put him down and began texting other guys on the down low. In the end, after wearing us both down with the back-and-forth behavior and terrible attitude, I publicly humiliated him by screaming “I just don’t love you anymore” in the middle of the street. The result? I broke his heart just like my first love broke mine, and any possibility of a post-breakup friendship vanished. I still believe that is way harder to break someone else’s heart than have your own broken, but I will never handle the situation in the same way. And hopefully, no one will treat me the way I treated him.
Milestone #5 (Age 21): My first long-distance love
As a self-proclaimed romance addict, it shouldn’t surprise you that I am once again in love. Head-over-heels, jump-up-and-down, butterflies-in-your-tummy love. And not only am I in love, but I am having the all-time best sex of my life (seriously, I was missing out before, but you’ll get more details/advice on under-the-covers shenanigans later). Only problem? I’m now living in New York while my sweetie is still in Philadelphia. However, this distance is only temporary – my internship ends mid August – but it’s still been an uphill struggle for the both of us. See, we’re best friends. Like, we hang out on a daily basis, laugh our asses off together and even work at the same club. And that makes it even harder because the whole seeing each other maybe once a week thing is completely foreign to us. We’ve been arguing more than ever, and we now get zero privacy (I have three roomies), which means zero sex. So what’s this mean? What have I learned? Well, I’m not really sure yet. You’ll be reading about our journey each week, and I guess we’ll both have to see how it plays out.
Intrigued? Have similar stories? Concerns? Well, I’d love to hear all about them, and maybe I can even address some of your own problems with my own similar situations. Just shoot me a message! Like many of you, I am also a compulsive e-mail checker.
P.S. Love Smudged is a biweekly column, so come back Tuesday, July 24 for the next installment.