When I started to think about writing our “love story” I wondered why I would share this, and if anyone would be interested in reading it. Particularly because we don’t have one of those lovey-dovey relationships. In fact, the thought of even calling it our love story kind of bothered me. It reminded me of the lyric’s to one of my favorite ballads from one of my favorite bands, “Somebody” by Depeche Mode:
Though things like this
Make me sick
In a case like this
I’ll get away with it
Just in case you too don’t want to hear about our old school romance, here I feel like I can get away with it, because we absolutely hated each other during our first six months together. There was no love in sight, unless it was love-hate. Regardless, you can enjoy some photos of us looking incredibly thin. My favorite part.
Love-Hate, or Just Hate
After final exams ended, Eric promised to prove to me that not all men are scum. And, in that fateful month of May 1997, we had our first date, of sorts. It is interesting, because we met so young, I have been on very few official dates in my life. I dated a couple of older guys in college, ones that had graduated and had real jobs, and went out to dinner a few times. But, for the most part, meeting men (aka boys) in college involved meeting at a party or at a bar, or maybe renting a movie from Blockbuster, which was still a thing back then.
So, our first “date” on May 22, 1997, was meeting at the Knight Club for a drink, how romantic. Towards the end of the evening, Eric informed me that he lost the back to one of his two earrings. As my car was nnearby I offered to drive him back to my place to give him a replacement. He swears that he orchestrated this whole thing, as a smooth move. I doubt his ability to think that far in advance. But, I took him back to my place, got him a new back to his earring. I then drove him home. And, we kissed for the first time. It was our first date. It was so college. Remember, he was still trying to prove to me that not all men were scum.
Our second “date” involved a party at his house. I showed up at the apartment and looked around for him, and could not find him anywhere. I found him in some attic type space, partaking in some less than legal recreational activities. I was no saint, but I had dated a guy who spent all of his waking time in less than legal recreational activities, and wanted to have nothing to do with it. Eric assumed that was it, I had no interest, and continued on his way.
What Happened During Our First Six Months Together
But, something kept bringing us together. I don’t even remember the stream of events that led us to hanging out down the Jersey Shore one weekend (please, don’t think Jersey Shore, it was nothing like the TV show). We had a pleasant time. I spent the night. And, nothing happened. I swear. We just enjoyed a night together, and a morning together. I think this is when we started “dating.”
We had the summer together, hanging at Rutgers when we weren’t working, and hanging at the shore when we could. We watched fireworks on July 4. Hung out with other couples. I met his sister. I considered him my boyfriend, and me his girlfriend (I think). We were a new couple, with all of that new couple cuteness and lust.
Except that we realized how much we hated each other. For the most part, we got along. Until we didn’t. We had some knock out, drag down fights about who knows what. I don’t think Eric wanted to be so tied down. I think I was too controlling. We fought. ALL THE TIME. We would have fights at the Knight Club, where the larger than life bouncers would generally take my side, as their adopted little sister, asking Eric to leave the bar. I would go racing after him. We would scream at each other on the side of the road, and then make up. This was constant, for months.
It seemed to culminate on Rutgers Homecoming, when I wanted to tag along for Eric’s pre game activities, essentially, drinking at Plum Street Pub starting at 7 am. He wanted to hang with his guy friends. We broke up. It felt pretty final. My mother actually drove down to my apartment to spend the evening with me because I was such a wreck. It is one of the few truly motherly things I remember her ever doing. Eric told his sister we broke up. I think she told him he was stupid.
It was a miserable time, with constant bickering and fighting and jealousy and controlling behavior. I am stunned that we lasted. In hindsight, we realized that there was just something that kept us coming back to each other, over and over. But, if you spend time with us now, the supposedly great couple who shares a brain, you never would have recognized us during that first year, back in 1997. Because, truly, during our first six months together, we were kind of miserable.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.