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The Boy Who Loved the Idea of Me

Finding out my ex was dating someone new was painful. In my whole life, it’s second in the pain department only to that time I fell off a horse.
Okay, so it’s not like I expected him to join a monastery after we broke up. I understood that when we agreed to ‘see other people,’ some ‘other people’ would probably be seen. But it just didn’t seem fair. While I was over here grieving, he didn’t bat an eye at the thought of replacing me. 
Did I mention that it had only been a month?
That’s right. A month after we agreed to go our separate ways, there he was already updating his Facebook status. “It’s probably a rebound,” I thought to myself through the shock, “It has to be.” 
Even though that made a little more sense, I just couldn’t seem to buy it. It was only then that something dawned on me that hadn’t before; the real reason that this guy had gotten a new girlfriend so quickly. He was a ‘relationship guy.’
If I had to guess, I’d say that most people have dated at least one ‘relationship guy’ or ‘relationship girl.’ You might not have known it at the time–or maybe you don’t even know it now. But if you look back, you could very well find that some of this applies to one of your old flames.
Different people have different opinions on relationships. Ideally, a relationship starts when two people begin spending time together. They decide that they like each other enough that they want to keep spending time together and voila, a relationship blossoms out of their constant presence in each other’s lives. It is two people wanting to be together that causes the relationship.
So now, take this set-up and flip it backwards, so that it is the want for a relationship that causes them to seek each other out. This is how ‘relationship people’ look at a relationship. They already have an empty spot next to them and they’re out to fill it, instead of creating one when the right person comes along. 
If you ever actually did date someone like this, coming to this realization hurts. To be honest, I would rather have gone on thinking that this new girlfriend was his person, and he just happened to bump into her at an awkward time. At least in that case, I could have gone on believing that we at least had something, once upon a time. But here’s the thing about relationship guys; they might love you, but they love the idea of you even more. 
For them, they just don’t enjoy being single. They pursue you to begin with because their first priority is to fulfill this need. Then, afterwards, they gradually begin to love you as a person. But it doesn’t change the fact that, had you not been in the right place at the right time, it could have been some other girl that they swept off her feet. 
The worst part, though, about having dated a ‘relationship person’ is that, assuming you don’t end up marrying them, its almost like you have to break up with them twice. The first time is where you let go of them in the present. And the second time is when you let go of them in the past.
The instant I realized that I was just filling a void, I felt invalidated. I legitimately cared about my boyfriend as a person, only to realize he cared more about the idea of me. 
This just leaves you with all sorts of questions. Why did he only love me as a concept? What does that say about me?
It’s unfortunate though, because, as much as I realistically know that our differences weren’t my fault, thoughts like these are hard to shake. To me, it was just about the same as if he’d come back and declared, “By the way, I never actually loved you to begin with.” Because at this point, I’m not sure that he had.
Even so, I can’t say I’d take my relationship back. I also won’t recommend you actively avoid dating a ‘relationship person.’ There’s nothing wrong with looking at relationships from a different perspective, in much the same sense that having a different perspective on anything isn’t necessarily wrong. The heartbreak doesn’t come from you and your partner having different goals; it comes from when you misunderstand each others goals. So the best advice I can give is to be as aware as possible of who your partner is. Even for two very different people, simply being on the same page could be all that it takes to make it work. 
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