One of the primary reasons I moved out of Southern California was because I wanted that idealistic “fresh start” — yes, I am living in a bad Meg Ryan movie — away from my past. In college, I did a lot of dating, and had several rather unpleasant relationships. I also had some excellent, fantastic experiences in those relationships, but overall, my college romantic life was a failure. I dated the same type of guys over and over (emotionally unavailable stoners, woo woo!), let my personal issues get deeply in the way of my relationships’ healthiness and allowed myself to be walked all over by guys who, in the end, generally didn’t care about me all that much. Or, they cared, just not enough to show it above a bare minimum standard.
And yet, because they were all within the larger friend group of mine there, I would always see them at parties, shows, film events, kickbacks, etcetera. Some of them bought pot off one another, some worked together, some had been friends longer than I had known them (yes, I know that I veered into stupidly dangerous territory by dating within the group more than a few times). So, even after each of these relationships ended, I felt like they were still going on and on.
To be completely honest, this was often why I wound up re-dating the same guys repeatedly, as well — seriously, when recounted, it sounds like a relationship pinball machine consisting of the same 5 names — which never actually worked out, because that kind of thing doesn’t really ever do any good. I would try to move on, but being around one another purely by proxy made it nearly impossible to do so. After all, when you’re in a happy setting around somebody who once made you happy, it can be difficult to remember why things ended in the first place. The desire and ease of “recapturing the romance” is like the comfort of an old pair of shoes you don’t have to break in: it’s easy to just slip them on and forget about the fact that they look like shit and the sole’s worn through.
So I moved. I moved far, far away, and then moved far away again. As I’ve already discussed more times than I can count, moving to a new place where you know nobody is difficult, but the reason I did so was because I just plain couldn’t be reminded of the heartache that accompanied most of these situations and memories or, worse, keep running back into my comfort zone and dating these people.
But sadly, this is not how to get a fresh start for our generation.