Love is a funny thing. Relationships are even funnier. Especially in my case, where all my serious relationships have been with guys whose names started with the letter "J" (I know. I really need a new letter).
Pardon me if I sound callous, but instead of finding it painful on Valentine's Day, I find it rather humorous to look back at my past relationships. Man, the stories.
It's also funny to see where those men are now, in most cases, years after the fact. In odd, completely accidental ways, I've somehow managed to "reconnect" in one form or another with several of my past "loves" (Yes, I put those words in quotes for a reason).
And whether or not I want to admit it, there is always some sort of weird curiosity in knowing what has befallen those knights-who-ended-up-frogs. I suppose it's the "what if" question, where I would like to see what life might have been like.
I won't be the typical "ex" and say, "oh, what a loser!" It's unfortunate when guys and girls can't get over the "ex" feelings, even years after and multiple relationships later. I have no regrets over breaking up my past relationships, and I hold nothing against the guys I dated, nor do I feel any particular attachment. So I don't think I'm justified in calling anyone a loser.
I'm just glad I followed spiritual direction, parental wisdom and my own internal instincts to wait for something better. I wish them the best in their life's adventure… and hope they will someday turn into princes.
Because, for all that, at some point before all the immaturities and frog-ish-ness came flooding out, there was once a friendship.
That, I suppose, is the reason why their lives still hold any curiosity for me. I still know them (or knew, as the case may be), and there were obviously enough reasons, fact or fiction, for me to date them in the first place. They're still guys who will probably one day end up with someone who will think they're "the one." And more power to them. It'll be interesting (or should I say humorous?) to see who they end up with… like any of my friends.
Some say it's better never to date seriously or at all until you know that you know he or she is "the one." I disagree. All of my past relationships have taught me quite a lot about what I'm looking for in a man and what I'm not. It's also taught me some things about myself — my personality, my good habits and some bad ones. It's when you attempt to mesh yourself with someone else's life that you find out where your edges are and if they fit the other person's puzzle.
I still don't have an image of "the perfect man" nor do I want someone "perfect." But there are qualities, characteristics, maturity levels and personality traits that are definitely required.
Sadly, American conventions of dating, courtship, romance and "love" aren't really the best way to find this person, and I've definitely closed my eyes and kissed some frogs. But even though my past relationships aren't fairytales, their stories have still taught me the greatest lesson when it comes to love: you've gotta laugh.
Looking back over my epic romantic saga thus far, all I can say is, I'm glad I have a sense of humor.
Jenna Lynn Ellis is a junior technical journalism major. Her column runs every Friday in the Collegian.