It would be a few years until I was able to return to Europe. And I remember what a challenge it was to get there. Before even getting to London, my boyfriend and I had taken an overnight trip to Williamsburg—a trip that was not sanctioned by my mom, which ended up in a horrific fight between us. She had said that while I was in college, she couldn’t stop me from traveling with him to go wrestling, but since it was the summer and I was under her roof (even after my six months living by myself in Europe), I still had to live by her rules.
Although now I can appreciate the discipline and love behind providing me with a sound moral structure, my “worldly” 20-something attitude didn’t.
No worries—everything with my mom ended up just fine and we hugged it out. I didn’t regret going though, against her wishes—my boyfriend and I ended up reconnecting, and reaffirming our relationship. For me, it actually was my pre-cursor to saying “yes” to marriage, because my hesitancy in being with him before was truly all about that fear of commitment.
So when I found out he was going to London a few months later, I was insanely jealous. London was on my wishlist, but not something I was able to get to while living in Spain. I’d watch my boyfriend travel all over, to Japan, to California, to all of these places I’ve never been, but when I heard London, and that it
happened to be during Valentines Day week, I secretly wished and wished inside that I could go somehow. My wish came true when we were at a family gathering and he announced that he was taking me to London. Immediately, panic set in, and I looked at my mother—who thankfully, was smiling, as she had already given her blessing. I must have asked a thousand times if she was sure she was okay with it, and when I saw the plane ticket with my name on it, I knew it was true.
This was our first real, official adventure together. I would hear about his travels to places, and he sat and listened to mine, and for the first time, we would be able to share an experience. He had been to London before, so he knew all the right places to take me: Big Ben, Piccadilly Circus, Buckingham Palace—and we had a blast. We stayed in a suite with other wrestlers and their girlfriends, and man, was that a different kind of experience in itself.
One night, the night before Valentines Day, my boyfriend had taken me out to dinner. It was a very nice dinner, but the conversation seemed a little odd. He kept asking me about some of the men in my past, and was trying to have me compare him to them, and I just thought it was so strange. He was on edge about something, and I actually thought that now that he had me back, he was trying to pay me back and set me up for a future dumping when we got home to the States.
Turns out, it was the exact opposite.
We had gone back to the hotel room after dinner to hang out, and had just gotten ready for bed, when I turned around to see him down on one knee holding a ring in his hand. It took me completely by surprise because I had told him I did not want to be proposed to on a holiday. I wanted it to be our own special day, and here it was, now Valentines Day. He looked so nervous, and I was in a state of shock. Was this really happening? Of course I said yes, and had him put the ring on my finger, and it was a sweet moment. He looked relieved and happy, and the ring was beautiful—exactly the very simple
pear-shaped stone I asked for.
The moment should have ended there, it being nice that he chose London to be the place to ask me to spend forever with him, and me shelving the disappointment of being asked in a hotel room in an unspecial way. (What? Don’t judge me. That is a very important moment in a young girl’s life, and when you love romance as much as I do, with a man who knows how much you love that romance, you would understand. And in about two sentences, you WILL understand. Wait for it.)
The next words out of his mouth were, “We were supposed to have dinner in a restaurant that overlooked Buckingham Palace, and I was going to ask you to be my princess forever. But reservations fell through, sorry.” See there? Now that was a romantic kind of proposal, and hearing that disappointed my heart, and my mind immediately thought, um, you could have walked me past the palace and said the same thing.
It was one thing when I just thought he wasn’t creative, or his nerves got the best of him and he was just worried about whether I would accept or not. But to go ahead and tell me about this fabulous other plan he had, and that it didn’t work out, and that this was his backup plan? I know I sound ungrateful, and yes, I was. I should have loved every moment of that special time with him, and not judged it or had an inner temper tantrum. I was 22. I was a little too young to get the concept just yet. But it was sweet, and I did accept it for what it was and showed off my ring and my new fiancé with pride.
His heart was all in, and his intentions were loving, and I knew that. But remember that trip to the Eiffel Tower where I thought it missed the romance because of the company I kept? That feeling came rushing back to me in London.
I learned then and there that I set my expectations too high, and that I would need to learn to live with a lack of creative romance my entire life.
A small price to pay for finally having the engagement and relationship I wanted my entire life, right? At least we loved each other, and that needed to be all that mattered.
I know it sounds crazy, but a little part of my hope died that day. I never felt the sparks. I never felt the wow. There were no magical fireworks like I expected there would be when you decided to marry someone. I kinda just felt like we were both going through the motions, like this is what we had to do, and it began to sink in that this was it for us—for the both of us. This was setting the stage for the rest of our lives. And it did in a way. His good intentions never came through; something always happened to cancel, change or ruin any plans for something special. And my expectations were too high to live up to, that I guess he just stopped trying all together.
Sad how much foreshadowing there was in this one trip; in this one moment. Two lost souls with every intention of loving each other forever, but just not being the right fit. Our gut instincts were yelling at both of us, yet we were blindly ignoring them all the way. But there was a higher purpose to come from our union, and we gave it all that we had until we could give no more.
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