Before I Get Married, A Shout-Out to All the Men I’ve Loved Before

For some people, life is just a series of dogs.

For me, life has been a series of romantic relationships.

Maggie Parker would seem to feel the same way. In her New York Times Modern Love column, she pens an ode to all of her exes after she finally got engaged.

It’s hopeful, not bitter. Constructive, not destructive. Here’s the part that got to me:

“To all my exes, I am grateful to every single one of you for not working out. The scavenger hunt wasn’t always fun, but it led to the most worthwhile prize: my very last boyfriend.

The one who didn’t wait at all to text me after our first date, and hasn’t stopped the conversation since.

The man who told me he loved me after four months, and didn’t give up on me when I didn’t say it back right away. Who challenges me to open my mind, while promising to let me open his. Who doesn’t like when we’re apart, but encourages me to have a life outside our bubble.

The guy who will stay up all night with the sick dog and let me sleep.

The man who couldn’t wait to propose, but did until I was ready. Who wants to become my husband despite the above proof that I have some baggage. And who didn’t try to stop me from making it public.

To the one I ended up with: While I hoped each of these guys was the one at some point, I’m so lucky they weren’t. Thank you for having everything they lacked.

In talking about our exes, we are talking about ourselves – our histories, our identities, our mistakes, our growth.

To those reading this who aren’t my exes: May my sometimes embarrassing, sometimes sweet, sometimes scarring love story give you hope that with every romance that doesn’t work out, you get closer to the one that will.”

And for any folks who think that people like Maggie and I should stop talking about our former relationships now that we’re married, I hope you can see that doing so is not disrespectful; it’s as important as breathing. In talking about our exes, we are talking about ourselves – our histories, our identities, our mistakes, our growth. To talk about myself without mentioning my 300 dates would feel like talking about someone else.

As long as your partner chose you, to have and to hold, ’til death do you part, you have no reason to be threatened by the fact that he’s dated other people who had a deep hold on his heart, all of whom ultimately disappointed him and led to him meeting you.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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