The Girl I Didn’t Marry

Everything we say is a story. The jokes we tell, the complaints we utter; our histories shared, our promises made. We unravel our lives in our heads with an audience of one. We make our friends accomplices in the fictions of our lives.

Good stories, stories with meaning, are not true or false. They contain a self-honesty that does not require belief in a system of truths. They simply exist as a voice. And if it speaks to you, you may be changed forever.

You can read the first part of how I met NE here.


Let me be absolutely honest here. Under normal circumstances, NE would have been way out of my league. Not only was she beautiful, she could dance (a weakness of mine). She ran in entirely different social circles than I and was well known to almost everyone in my graduating class. At that point in my life, I was still becoming the social person I wanted to be. Even with my growing self-confidence, I knew, and she knew, that I shouldn’t be able to get her. (Today, I don’t see anyone as out of my reach – but back then I still had a lot to learn about myself.)

So why did NE keep coming back every night?

I had social proof in the form of the group of people who were always hanging around my room. I had romantic proof in the close relationship and I had to another member of the group – an attractive girl who would later create upheaval for NE and I.

And she was vulnerable. Not only was she emotionally reeling from a recently broken off relationship that had been so intense she had essentially locked herself in her room for a couple weeks (this was before we met in person), she had a need to be liked by everyone.

My last semester at college was my best. During those months, NE and I became an interesting team. In the evenings, we would host card parties. At night, we would talk.

But there were complications. NE was sort-of dating her high school sweetheart, Bear. It was during our discussions about him that our initial lines were drawn. Yes, we were intimate. But there were a couple of activities that would be off-limits. I don’t think NE believed we would be able to stick with them.

She was half-right.

The first time I met Bear, we sat on the steps of the dormitory and talked for a couple of hours while NE slowly went crazy inside the lobby. I explained to Bear how close NE and I had become and then made it clear that I wasn’t going to try to take her away from him. We talked about what it is that I offered NE, what role I played in her life.

I’ve never met anyone quite like Bear. Smart, handsome, confident, and the most giving man I have ever met in my life. He was devoted to NE and wanted her happy. We were two people who shared a passion for a single person – NE – and we found common ground that has since become the foundation for the best relationship in my life.

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