In college, I dated a man named, well, let’s just call him Marlon. Marlon was attractive, articulate and intelligent—and he possessed a long list of long term potential qualities. Looking back, he was husband material. But I came to college to leave with a degree not a man.
Our relationship was very cool and casual. We hung in the same circles, so I guess it as also convenient. I must admit, I didn’t put a lot of effort into finding a man or keeping one. They typically found me. Not that I was conceited. Maybe I was over confident. Whatever the case, dating wasn’t difficult. Society wasn’t shoving statistics down my throat about the lack of good Black men. Future doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and millionaires—all with beautiful brown skin—were living under the same roof in my dorm.
Marlon and I didn’t last long. We had lust and laughs and fell into “like.” When we stopped dating, we continued spending time together (in group settings) as friends. Even though our friends encouraged us to be a couple, we didn’t submit to their peer pressure. One day, I remember Marlon telling me that he took another woman to church. We went to the same church but never went together. Sat next to each other in a pew not a car. I didn’t tell him this, but it bothered me. Taking a woman to church was the equivalent of taking a woman home to meet your mom. It wasn’t like he was a missionary, so he extended more than just the right hand of fellowship. This was serious. But not serious enough to make me want to be in a relationship or spark the flame again. I planned to move out of state to work as a television reporter. I didn’t want love to keep me from packing my bags. I had a few things to check off in my life before I settled down.
More than a decade later, when I became a single mom, I wondered if I should have settle down with Marlon. I knew he wouldn’t dump me during my pregnancy. Heck, he would have married me before conception. I saw pictures of him online loving and caring for his wife (not sure if it was the girl from church) and child. And I made up assumptions about him being this adoring husband and admirable father. Then I woke up from my Facebook fantasy. I reminded myself that everyone you meet is not your husband. People enter your life and stick around for a reason, a season or a lifetime. You have to accept that divine destiny.
Maybe Marlon and I would have lived happily ever after. Maybe not. Maybe he is the world’s greatest dad and a super spouse. Maybe not. The point is—I can’t focus on something that I can’t change. Even if Marlon and I stayed together, I seriously doubt it would have been for a decade, and I’m sure my story would still be the same—a happy ending with a lovely little girl.
As we live and learn, we must let go of the past, enjoy the present and look forward to the future. I love my outcome and don’t envy others, including Marlon’s wife. Marlon and I are no longer in touch unless you count a poke or a like online. We receive updates through friends who run into us in person. We’re proud of each other and happy that we had a small contribution into making each other into the person we are today. I no longer think my past love would have been my future husband.
Hey BMWK—Do you ever wonder about the “what if” factor? How do you focus of the present and not the past?