So there was this one time I dated a hot Catholic priest.
Okay, in my defense he was almost a priest. He had just graduated from seminary and was given a year sabbatical during which priests-to-be can live in “the real world” and decide if they’re really willing to give up sex, among other things. We went on a few dates during this period…and let’s put it this way: he ended up deciding not to become a priest.
There are probably many things I’ve done that would earn me a ticket to hell, but being the temptress of a priest was, by far, the most interesting.
But mostly, I want to share the story of how hurting this priest’s feelings made me a better person.
Evan was a dude version of those sexy virgins in movies who are chained to pillars and get sacrificed to monsters. He was the ideal type of good looking: a late bloomer who didn’t know he was good looking until his mid-twenties, by which point he had already developed into a sweet, humble oh-well-maybe-one-day-I’ll-meet-someone-who-likes-my-personality kind of guy.
In fact, our meet-up at a bar was his very first date. He had never even been kissed. I really liked my hot virgin and his great personality.
Our third date was scheduled for the day after Valentine’s Day. Why the day after? Because on Valentine’s Day itself, I had a date with another guy I had been talking to.
(Wait, wait, it’s not what you think! I’m not Slutty McSluttsky! It was just a lucky year, that’s all.)
Anyway, the other guy was the infamous Daniel from this post, with whom I went on a 48-hour marathon first date. Yup, that means it carried over into what was supposed to be my third date with Evan. So like the inconsiderate witch I was, I cancelled my date with Evan at the last minute. Last minute as in our date started at 7pm and I cancelled at 6:59.
I rescheduled with Evan, but knew in my heart that I would end things with him at the end of our next date to pursue things with the Daniel.
When Evan picked me up for our date, he had a new haircut and a dozen roses in hand. I can’t believe I’m about to be the biggest a**hole ever, I thought to myself.
We had dinner, saw a movie, then took a romantic nighttime stroll in the park. That’s where I broke the news. “I think you’re a great guy. But I think I just want to be friends.” He took it so well, especially after how rudely I had treated him.
But of course, we didn’t end up transitioning into being friends. We went our separate ways; he dated (and married) someone new, while I dated (and got dumped by) someone new.
That’s just the way of the dating world. You meet, you give love, and then you dump (or get dumped) in order to give love to someone else. But before this point, I never knew just how badly it hurts to be the one left behind, the one who never saw it coming, the one who had no choice but to let go of who you want.
So during my grief, I looked all over the internet to find Evan again. I felt moved to apologize for so abruptly cutting things off in the manner that I did.
True, how heartbroken could Evan have been after just a month of dating me? But now that I had a taste of what it feels like to be dumped, I wanted to give Evan what I wish my dumper had given me: an apology, a chance to talk about things, and hopefully, closure.
It had been 2 years since Evan and I last spoke when we finally reconnected via e-mail. He accepted my apology as gracefully as he accepted our “Let’s just be friends” talk. In fact, he ended his email with “You don’t have to feel guilty anymore.” He would have made a fine priest.
It’s true, you shouldn’t feel guilty forever. Obsessive guilt will eventually turn to shame about who you are as a person. But healthy guilt is a good thing. It moves you to right your wrongs.
But most of all, being the victim of pain can make you more sensitive to when you are inflicting it on others. It makes you more beautiful.
It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.” (Elizabeth Kubler-Ross)
If there is something hurting your heart right now, know that one of the best things that can happen as a result is that you become more compassionate to those enduring a similar type of pain.
One day, you will find a new kind of beauty emerging within you, and a hot priest will absolve you of all your sins, via e-mail.
Your Turn: What kind of pain evokes compassion in you, now that you have endured a similar pain yourself?