Katie’s Story: Welcome to The Club
I met Jake (not his real name) when we both attended a small private college. Our first conversation was about our shared love for Star Trek: The Next Generation. In fact, we even shared the same favorite character-Data. After his freshman (my sophomore) year he dropped out due to financial issues. I thought we were over before we’d even begun, but he kept in touch with me. He planned to attend his state university and enroll in Air Force ROTC. I was ecstatic. I’d always had a thing for men in uniform and now I had one!
Though we lived far away, Jake and I kept up a good relationship for a year. We traded off visiting each other’s places and spoke via phone and text message regularly. He talked about a future together and made it clear to me (and everyone else) that this was his intention. Again, I was ecstatic. Most girls can’t find a man who wants to commit and mine was not only willing to commit but not afraid to let others know? I thought for sure it was just a matter of time until I got the rock.
Then he lost his ROTC scholarship. We were both devastated. Jake began to pull away from me. He was always the outgoing, talkative one and I was the quieter one. But now we’d talk on the phone for half an hour and he would say “uh-huh” to everything I said. I’d ask him what was going on and he’d heave a long sigh and respond, “I dunno…not much.” I told myself that any ill feelings were just because I’d lost my man in uniform and that was selfish; I needed to forget about it. I reminded myself that I loved Jake, not the uniform.
Except it became harder and harder to love him. The next time I visited Jake it was obvious that he’d completely let himself go. He’d stopped working out and grown a goatee that made him look like Billy the innkeeper in Stardust. This disgusted me, but he was kind and loving to me throughout my visit. Once again I told myself that was the important thing. I would just have to get past his rapidly deteriorating appearance.
When I left, Jake didn’t call me to ensure I was safe. In fact, he didn’t call me at all. I sent two texts asking him to call and he never did. Finally I phoned him and felt like a telemarketer. He couldn’t get me off the phone fast enough. A few days later I found out why.
I received a letter postmarked two days after I had left. Jake told me he had not been in love with me for the last several months, and he didn’t want to be my boyfriend anymore. However, he still wanted us to see each other periodically and keep in touch. He wanted us to “just be the best of friends.” Jake told me how awesome I was, and how many great memories he shared with me, but it was just time for our relationship to end.
I spent two days a heartbroken, destroyed mess. All the dreams I’d had for us were gone. I felt cheated and betrayed. Jake had spent the last six months lying to me and stringing me along, and he’d let me spend an ungodly amount of money on a plane ticket when he had every intention of dumping me. I couldn’t believe I’d ever wanted to get involved with him in the first place. How could I not have seen what a coward and a loser he was?
I have no intention of ever speaking to Jake again. But today I am grateful for him. I’m grateful that he dropped me before we got married. If he did this now, I’m quite sure he would have done so after we said the vows and exchanged the rings. He showed me his true colors and made me realize that I can do so much better than him. And while I may have cried for a couple of days, he’ll be crying for the rest of his life. Because he’s now joined The Club. The club of men who watch Star Trek all by themselves because they didn’t marry Katie Tallaksen.
I always liked Marines better, anyway.