I don’t make a habit of thinking about my son’s future romantic relationships, but seeing as I want him to experience all the joys that life has to offer, I can admit that, yes, I do hope love and dating are most certainly part of the mix. It’s slightly disconcerting to look at my toddler and think that one day he will most likely be someone’s ex-boyfriend. [Insert crotchety, inappropriate, and untrue joke about how I will not let him date until he’s at least 30.] But it’s probably true, right? He's going to date someone, and probably do something unkind at some point, and break someone's heart, and someone will break his heart...it's weird. I feel like (I should take this moment to acknowledge that kids grow up so fast?) Anyway, we still have lots of joyous and wonderful milestones ahead of us like, saying his own name, throwing a ball directly to someone else, and putting on pants by yourself before we dip into things like dating, but like, we're going to get there at some point, and like everything else, I'm sure it'll come around more quickly than I expect.
That said, now that there is one extra male in my house, I find myself thinking about all the dude presence that has previously been in my life. And I’m not just talking about the Backstreet Boys posters that hung in my teen bedroom (KTBSPA) — I’m talking about the boys I actually have actually known in real life (and no, being arm’s length from Nick Carter during their 2011 NKOTBSB tour does not count, as much as I wish it did). And while my partner and I have been together for a whopping 11 years, I do have a few ghosts of relationships past that still linger. Here’s what typically goes through my mind when they visit: