My Great Love Story

I had two options when telling our story. Option 1. I could have made it mushy and only focus on the good, but that would not have been real. To ignore arguments and disagreements, that is not a real relationship. Option 2. I could tell our story for what it was. Make it real, talk about my feelings, about my insecurities. Highlight some of our highs, which were many, and some of our lows. The relationship was filled with both, but I think the underlying tone of how much I loved Mary shines through in the story.

I put this story on here because it is part of my own personal growth. As with the rest of this website, I needed to learn how to open up and share my feelings. So writing and sharing this story, as painful as it is, is therapy and helps with my growth as a human being and as a man.

I included the song at the bottom because we never had an "official" song, but I always said that I felt like this song was our song because I felt like I never did have a dream come true until I met her. I can remember the time and place where we first heard this song together. I remember looking into her eyes and feeling that words were being sung for her and I only. Now I feel the song appeals even more to me as I listen to it because I realize the song is about trying to move on from heartbreak. The song, by S club 7, is a good song. It sometimes skips about 12-15 seconds into it. If it does and you would like to hear the whole song, just drag the cursor forward and it will play the remainder of the song.

My Great Love Story

The end of August 2004, I met Mary. I had just been hired on to work at this gym as a fitness instructor and that night was an all staff meeting. I walked in and sat on a ball next to the wall near the door. I looked to my right and there she was. I remember thinking to myself how beautiful she was and that I had to meet her. I left the meeting trying to find her, but to no avail. As I was driving home, I looked in the lane next to me and there she was driving. I did not want to stare, but could not help it. We both smiled and waved. I pulled in front of her and kept willing her to follow me down the street. She kept following me. Next she turned down my street. Then she parked almost right by where I parked. It turned out she lived two apartment buildings down from me. I got out of the car and turned to look where she had parked. She came across the street saying, "were you just at that meeting?" I said yes, that I just got hired there. She said, "Hi I'm Mary." It turned out that we both had plans to go to the bowling alley that night with friends.

I could not focus at bowling; I spent the whole night looking around for Mary. I kept trying to describe her to my friends telling them how beautiful she was. I told them that there was something about her, something different than any other girl I had ever met. Mary and I did not see each other that night.

The next time we saw each other was passing by one another on our way to and from the beach. I was walking back and she was walking there carrying her surfboard. We both gave each other a funny look thinking that we recognized one another, but unsure. After we walked by we finally turned around and started talking. After that day, I spent almost every day walking around the trails to the beach hoping I would run into her.

It took me over a month to ask her out. It took so long because one afternoon in September I looked out my window and saw her walking down the street with a guy. A guy, who I later learned, she at one time in her life had been very much in love with. I was devastated as I really thought her and I were meant to be together. There was just something magnetic I had felt when I was first around her. I had been casually dating a girl for about eight months up until this point. Although nothing but sparse conversation had happened with Mary, I severed ties with this other girl. I felt that strongly and that sure about things being "meany to be" with Mary.

I have always had a great affinity for romantic movies/stories. The main reason is I am a romantic at heart at least I think I am. When I would watch these movies I would see them convey emotion that I always wanted to. I would be romantic and emotional with Mary at times throughout our relationship, but never at the great level I aspired to be. I mention this because one of my favorite stories is Romeo and Juliet. The best way I can describe the feeling I felt and the assurance about Mary being the right one for me is a phrase Romeo spoke when he first met Juliet, "O, she doth teach the torches to burn bright! It seems she hangs upon the cheek of night…And touching her, make blessed my rude hand. Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight; For I ne'er saw true beauty till this night." This feeling was what motivated me in my pursuit of Mary. Like I said, I just knew. I can't explain that feeling any better than the above passage from Romeo, his words echoed my feelings.

I started going to the gym and working out when she was scheduled to work at the front desk. I would spend as much time as I could there after talking with her, flirting, just trying to get to know her.

At the conclusion of my first shift at the front desk on Friday October 1st, 2004 we went out for the first time. It was more of one of those, "lets hang out dates," where we went out, to the bowling alley, with her good friend and her new boyfriend. We had a blast. After that night, I just new, I new in my heart this girl was the one for me. I felt things I had never felt before.

The next Saturday, October 9th, 2007 we went on our first date to this Italian restaurant. It was pouring down rain, so we had to run through the rain to get there. There was a loud band playing, but we had fun. We laughed a lot, drank a whole bottle of wine, we meshed well together.

We went on several dates after that. We would grow closer during the time we were together, but Mary would always withdraw. She was unsure if she was going to stay here or move back home. She was from the Midwest originally and was not sure of what her path was in life. She would push me away because she did not know if she was going to stay. She also held some emotional attachment to her ex-boyfriend, the one I had seen her walking to the beach with. This was hard for me, I knew I was taking a chance falling for this girl who might leave, but it was a chance I had to take. I knew there was something there.

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 was the turning point for us. We had hung out that night and two of my friends were working at a bar downtown. I asked her if she wanted to go, but she said she was tired and wanted to go home. I dropped her off and went to meet my friends. Shortly after I got to the bar she sent me a text message and said she wanted to come out. I quickly left, went back to her house picked her up and we went back downtown. When we got there, she told me she was not going to move back home, that she was going to stay. I hugged her so tight then, I remember feeling such a joy inside of me. I remember saying to myself, see I knew this was meant to be. Two nights later, on October 30th we became joined at the hip. We went out that night for Halloween; we had a blast, and fell hard for each other. We always considered the 30th to be our anniversary. We did not officially become "boyfriend and girlfriend" until almost a month later, but we were Michael and Mary from that point on.

I could go on and on in this story with very specific dates and times and places of greatness and significance in our relationship. I remember almost all of them. I remember all the big days for us. I even remember a lot of the little ones. I kept a photo album and journal in my mind that was saved only for us. I called it my Little Mary part of my brain, a nickname (My Little Mary) I would later adopt as my pet name for her. I am instead going to mention only a few specific moments and focus on the bigger picture of her and I.

The last dates I will mention from our early days are Tuesday November 23rd, 2004, and the following Thursday, November 25th, 2007 – Thanksgiving.

The happiest day of my life was late at night on November 23rd 2004. It was a Tuesday. As Mary and I laid there in bed, beginning to drift off into dreamland, this little voice lying to my right spoke up, "Michael?"

I responded, "Yes?"

"Will you be my boyfriend?" The warmest feeling I have ever felt in my life washed over me. I knew I had loved her form the moment I met her and now she was asking me to assume a role in her life. She was asking me to be hers and hers only.

"Yes Mary, there is and never will be anyone else for me but you. Of course I want to be your boyfriend, more than anything in this world."

Remembering this moment still gives me chills; it was such a great moment. The feeling it created inside of me was like watching the happy endings to over a 1,000 movies at the same time and the emotion generated from all those movies hits you all at once.

Two days later we made Thanksgiving dinner together. We videotaped much of it, a video I used to watch every time Mary was out of town. I would miss her and watch that video to make me feel like she was not so far away. We were really silly in that video; silly in the way we always were together. That was one of the few times in our life where we both had two days off. We spent that next Friday eating leftovers and watching the Disney movie Pocahontas, cuddled up on the couch together.

Initially in our relationship we never fought. We both had work schedules that were very accommodating to "us". Even though we could not physically be together we would often spend all day emailing and text messaging each other from work until the time where we could actually be together. In February 2005 that all changed.

I got the opportunity to work full time as a personal trainer (the job I wanted to do) at a new gym in town. When I signed up for the position I did not realize the demands it would place on me or on us. In the first few months, I would often start work at 6am and not get done until 8pm. This was the exact opposite of Mary's schedule, who around the same time had the opportunity to pursue an internship with the News station here in town. She would work sometimes until midnight and then other days she would have to get up even earlier than me. We were both working long hours we both were run down, we were both missing each other and we were both frustrated. To complicate things, I had just moved into a new house with four of my close friends. I was excited, as I had never really had any close guy friends before. So this was an exciting thing for me as I felt like I was going to get to experience what it was like to live with my buddies.

Balancing the time between work, I was working six days a week over 60 hours a week, friends, and Mary was tough, but I did the best I could. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely! Did I hurt her feelings? Definitely, and on more than one occasion. Did I ever do any of it on purpose? No! Was I sorry when I hurt her? More than anything. Did she do all of the above to me? Yes. We were both 23 years old and going through a time of radical change in our lives. What made it especially hard for me is that I came from a home where I never saw, in my whole life, one iota of love exchanged between my parents. Both my mom and father told me from an early age, that they disliked each other and they only stayed together for my brother and I. My mom always told me, "when you get older, make sure you work hard and make a lot of money so you don't make the same mistakes and have the same bad relationship like your dad and I." I took this to heart. I loved Mary with all my heart. When I went to work I went for us. It was important for me to be able to take her out to dinner. It was important for me for her to think of me as successful. It was important for me for her to see that I could provide for her. What I did not realize is that my work took away from some of the quality time we could have had together. I had know way to be aware of this. I was operating off of instinct, following commands that were branded into my brain by my mom. In my mind if I made and saved enough money it would set a foundation for us to have a happy life together. I was taught that the presence of money equaled love and happiness. One of the reasons we never moved in together, the main reason was because I was scared of ruining us. I was scared that I was not making enough money yet and that if we took that step the lack of financial security would tear us apart. Emotionally I was ready to move in with Mary almost as soon as we met, I felt like I was ready to marry her. Psychologically was a completely different thing. Do I regret all of that? Absolutely, but it also has laid the foundation for my own personal growth which I will talk about later.

April of 2007, I finally cut my hours back, after over three years of working six days a week I reduced it to five. The number one reason, I told Mary, was because I wanted to be able to have more time to spend with her.

Despite the above problems and other little ones that all couples incur Mary and I grew closer together. We would argue a lot, mostly about little things. Our major fights were born solely out of our own insecurities. She had her issues I had mine. Neither one of us really recognized our own issues, how could we? I was not able to recognize mine until she left me. Until I was put in a position where I had the choice to stay the same or grow.

The rest of the time, we were good together. I loved her so much, and loved her more everyday. At one point we adopted Friday as a "movie night" day. It became the day and time I looked forward to all week. After work, I would pick her up and we would go out to dinner. Then we would go to the video store and rent two movies. One would be her pick, and one mine. Then we would go back to her house pull out the futon and randomly pick which movie we would watch. We would make fun of whoever fell asleep first. Sometimes we would make it through 30minutes of one movie; sometimes we would stay up late watching both. The main thing about that night is that it became reserved for us. It was planned, set in stone. That is what I loved about it. I knew that every Friday we would be cuddled up on the futon, her laying her head on my right side with my arm around her watching a movie, just being together. When I would tell my friends about this night, they would laugh at me, call me a sissy. I did not care; I just could not wait for that night with her.

I think I talk about movie night because it really is symbolic to our relationship. That is what I loved about Mary, the time we spent together, the quality time. I valued it so much, and would look forward to it. Mary was more than my girlfriend, she was my best friend, she was my lover, and she was my soul mate. As cliché as that sounds, I really believed she was. For the two years and eight months we were together, even in the times we would be angry at one another, I never wavered from the idea that she was the one I was meant to be with. Since I always felt like we were going to be together forever, I sometimes over valued the actual time we spent together, to the point where I would take it for granted. There was more than one occasion where I would come home and have dinner and just want to go to bed. I would try to stay awake, but was just exhausted. I would get frustrated at Mary for trying to keep me up. I have mild insomnia so there are times where I would be very sleep deprived and work 12 hours a day so this was the reason why there were days like this.

As I got older I tried to refocus my priorities more to Mary and I. I started getting up an hour earlier everyday to read self-help books and business books. Books that I hoped would provide me with some guidance as to what I needed to do to make a better life for myself so I could enhance our lives together.

I always tried, as often as I could, to make small gestures towards Mary. I would call her, or she would call me every day on the way to and from work. Whenever I had a second of down time at work I would call her or send her a text message. I should note that in 2006 I took over the Fitness Manger position so now I was not only training clients full time, but I was also managing a department of trainers. More demands and less time, but I still tried to make time. One year for her birthday I tried to find her a birthday cake, but all the small cakes were sold out. So I ended up getting her a giant sheet cake for 30 people. We laughed so hard about it, but I just did not want her to not have a birthday cake. I went to Hawaii in October of 2005. I had won a contest from work for being one of the top performers. When I was there I did not mesh with the rest of the group. Most of them had girlfriends or wives, but since they were all on vacation they used it as an excuse to cheat on their significant others and do a bunch of drugs. I removed myself from the situation and instead spent multiple hours of my trip talking on the phone with Mary. I told her it was the best part of the trip as I felt like we got to spend quality time together. I always missed her when she was gone. I would joke with her saying it was nice having a little break if she was out of town for the weekend, but I really missed her. I never slept well when she was not in bed next to me.

With mild insomnia it comes randomly and you can still sleep, but you never sleep really deeply. Usually the slightest noise wakes me up. I could always fall asleep fairly easy, but would wake up many nights and not be able to fall back asleep. There were hundreds of nights when I could not sleep where I would just lie in bed and look at Mary. I would lie there and smile, imagining our life together in five years, ten years, thirty years. The Aerosmith song, "I don't want to Miss a Thing" was always one of my favorite songs because of the line, "I could stay awake just to hear you breathing.

Watch you smile while you are sleeping, while you're far away and dreaming." Every time I heard that song, I used to think it was written for me. Even though I could not sleep I was so happy laying there and watching Mary. She always looked so beautiful, so peaceful when she slept.

As I said before I had a lot of very deep seeded emotional insecurities entering into this relationship that Mary uncovered. I never had a true sense of self worth, so it always was hard for me to meet her friends and family because I was scared. Scared they would see me as a fraud; scared they would say that their Mary could do much better than me. It took me until June of 2007 to finally fly back east to Minnesota, to meet her family. I was so scared. I had tried many times to explain to Mary my insecurities and what caused them. I know she never really understood even though she tried. On the plane I was so nervous, but also so excited because I knew that this would be a huge gesture towards Mary and show her how important she was to me and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I also knew that by me going back east it was me working to overcome my insecurities on my own. Emotionally I knew that I wanted to marry Mary all along; I knew that in my heart. This was the first time I was starting to realize this psychologically, in my mind, by taking this step to go and meet her family. I think if she would have fully understood and accepted me and my insecurities she would have better appreciated just what a big step it was for me to make that trip to meet her family.

Mary got hurt when we were back east. She was in a brace for over a week. When we got back I left to go home to see my family for a few days. Mary was upset I did not take her; I had planned to take her home in August for the first time to meet my family. I told her I just needed some time for me. Really I was going home because I needed to bring to closure some issues with my parents before bringing her home. I also wanted to go and just "look" at engagement rings to start and get an idea of how much I would need to save.

I could never openly talk to Mary about our future together. When the topic would come up it would usually come up in an argument about how I never opened up about our life in five years, 10 years. I told Mary I could not help it, I thought about it all the time, but it was like some wall would just come slamming down cutting me off from talking about things like that. It is ironic because I thought about things like that all the time. For nearly two years I had planned out how I would one day propose to her. I had thought about where we would live, where we would travel, what our kids would look like, what their names would be. All of that was in my heart, but I could not verbalize it to her.

The last thing she said to me before I came back from visiting my family was: I asked her, "Do you miss me" and she responded, "yes, I feel like my other half is missing". I said, "I feel the same way, I can't wait to see you tomorrow."

Monday June 25th, 2007 I flew home – back to Mary. I had the opportunity to get on an earlier plane just so I could spend 10 extra minutes with her that day-I took it.

That whole week we had a great time together. Monday night we went out to dinner had a blast. Tuesday we had a bbq at her house with her friends and sister, had a lot of fun. Wednesday she went to a concert I went to another event, but she came to my house later that night. Thursday morning I stopped by her house on the way to work and then we met up for dinner. We got in an argument going to my friends going away party, but it was stupid. We both said we were sorry at the end of the night. Friday, June 29th, 2007 I called her around 4pm and we got in an argument on the phone. I wanted to hang out with my friend who was moving away the next day, she wanted me to come with her and her friend who was in town visiting. She was mad saying there was no compromise and that we should not see each other anymore. I was shocked and thought she was over reacting because I felt like things between us had been going really well. I had spending more of my free time than ever with her and her friends and family. I was slowly starting to open up about the future and our lives together. When we were in Minnesota she had asked if I could ever see us living there and I said, "no, it's to cold, but I could see us having a vacation house here in the summer." Little small gestures like that.

Mary never called me back to say she made a mistake... my heart was shattered.

This ends my great love story, what came next is chronicled in My Story of a Broken Heart.

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