Girl Talk: The Girl Before The Girlfriend

There exists a school of thought that dictates if you think something catastrophic, then it won’t happen. What would happen if my family died in a car accident? What would happen if my house caught on fire? Two summers ago, I asked myself: Wouldn’t it suck if my first love met someone unexpectedly and got over me before I could begin to move on? Thankfully, my family and my house are safe, but my feelings, my love life, and my ego still need mending. “I met someone.”

The text message appeared on the screen of my phone and I stopped walking. A group of my friends and I were leaving the movie theater, and it was as if all feelings he had for me were obliterated in one night. We broke up because he was studying in Europe. Poetically, we had expressed our feelings for each other just two nights before. Then he became someone else’s boyfriend, and remained so, for much longer than he and I lasted.

I should’ve known it would happen, since it happens quite often. My first kiss, from a guy who refused to be my boyfriend, met the girl of his dreams while I still ached for him. They’re still together today. Since then I’ve been the second choice for several more men.

The most recent ones occurred this summer, when I tried and failed to win the heart of my friend Ken — he started dating the person that he truly liked instead of settling for me. I lost Brian to his ex-girlfriend (although, in that case, I think they belonged together anyway). Each time, I laughed one of those sad, desperate guffaws — here we go again! What makes men connect with the girl of their dreams after sparking with me?

Another concept may be more applicable to my situation: the idea of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps I’m so aware of my “magic touch” that I’m making it happen. While the first love arrived in Europe, I even warned him what may happen. At the time, though, he waved the thought away. “I’m so picky, I rarely really like a girl like I like you,” he typed. A month later, he must’ve been pleasantly shocked to discover my unfortunate power reached across the Atlantic Ocean.

When Ken told me he was dating Mary, I was angry I’d let this happen to me again. I raged at him. He argued that it’s irrational to use my past experience to predict the outcome of my future relationships (or my attempts at them). I’m sure that there’ll be a guy some day who doesn’t find me easy to move on from, but in the meantime I can’t ignore the pattern and pretend that each time was a coincidence, as Ken had wanted me to do.

I don’t know if there is a way to avoid the seemingly inevitable. Each time I let my hopes conquer my superstition, there’s a crash, a burn, a deflation, and the temporary loss of the ability to giggle, but I choose the chance of being the girl before the girlfriend over giving up the chance for breaking my streak.