I woke up yesterday with my past on my mind. The last man to express intentions of wanting to marry me, Dallas, greeted me in the form of my thoughts. I had not spoken to him since Fall 2008. Last I checked, he was married with two daughters. Because I love insanity, I recruited two of my friends to do some digging to find out how Dallas and another guy from my “could have married him” past were doing. From what one of my friends could find out…both men appeared to be doing well and are happily married with children…though no one could 100% confirm all this information about Dallas. But I know him…he takes marriage and family seriously especially since he was raised by his mother. Dallas would never want to put his children through what he went through. I admire that about him plus I loved that he was smarter than me and had a little more drive than I did (which is difficult to beat because working on my goals is 100% of my life). I felt like I could go to sleep at night knowing that Dallas had my back. But I didn’t love him…not the way I thought love was suppose to be at that time in life. When I was in my 20s I thought LOVE was based on this feeling that I later found out was infatuation. If it wasn’t present…I left. In my 30s I learned that love is a choice that is not based on a feeling but based on commitment, trust, and loyalty. You learn more about love in the difficult times than you do in the infatuation times. Karma is realizing all of this while loving someone young enough to still think love is a feeling not a choice…. And that’s where I am in my reality. Being dragged through it by the Ex Factor. Disappointment after disappointment…broken promises after broken promises…and embarrassment after embarrassment…yet I stay. While things were not perfect with Dallas, he could make a commitment. His word was his bond. In my 20s (apparently), I could not stay attracted to those types of men. And in my 30s, I haven’t bumped into one yet. So I hold onto what is toxic…not because I am afraid of being alone for I am and always have been alone…but because I’m frightened that there may not be a greater love out there for me. Hands down I’ve dated better men than the Ex Factor but I never loved them. So as I’m wrapped up in my nostalgia…mind thinking of Dallas…heart breaking from the Ex Factor…I cannot help but think of what life would have been like if I had accepted Dallas’ proposal (though not a formal one) or my other friend that made a similar gesture four years before Dallas. If there is a next time for love (not the infatuation kind), I’m going to try my hardest to choose wisely and to make sure that he loves me way more than I love him. Nostalgia is a funny thing. When you feel it, your heart wants to go back to that place and time…even if your memory romanticized it. Reality can have you dreaming too. I wish I could go back to Labor Day Weekend, September 2010, three months into the Ex Factor and I dating. I had gotten a job offer in DC and that’s when he sprung on me that he was not ready for a serious relationship. I…I was already in love. Past the infatuation stage. So I opted to work things out and we did long distance for like two months (about the time it took for me to realize that I hated my DC job)…and I stayed with him in and off for 7 years. Even the two years (2013-2014) when I wasn’t with him and living in Richmond, VA…the Ex Factor was still in my heart. I cannot help but think that if I had allowed my heart to break fully back then…I would have already met my third great love…whether he was BOAZ, Moses, Elijah, Abraham or just someone God sent! ?My entire dating life…unconditional romantic love escaped me. I thought my heart was bullet proof from it. Then the one time the myth became a reality…my love was wasted on someone who would always aim to hurt me. I’m not sure who is the bigger bitch…nostalgia or reality…I’d like to forget them both… ~KJM on Charm School Monday saying to all the good guys I passed up…I wish you all the best. Thank you for making small chapters in my life memorable. ?