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Sunday, December 21, 2014

#RelationshipStatus: Hoarding: buried in love?

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@JoshuaDolin

Spring has officially sprung at UNM. The grass is green, the sprinklers are overshooting onto the sidewalks and the trees that smell like semen are in full bloom.

I decided to do some spring cleaning over break, which is when I discovered that I am a hoarder.

Have you ever seen the television show, “Hoarding: Buried Alive?” Basically crazy people fill their house with so much shit that a professional team has to clean it before the owner either dies or disappears somewhere amidst the crap. These people hoard everything from their cat’s poop to literally dead cats.

But I am also a hoarder. No, my apartment does not resemble a landfill, but one thing that has never been brought to my attention before is that I keep everything from the men I have dated.

I found movie tickets from my dates with Phillip, the note that Tyler-Mason gave me his number on when he asked me out, cards from flowers delivered to me, dead flowers from dates and a love letter from the first guy I ever kissed.

These items used to be the most important thing in the world to me because they represented an actual human being who liked spending time with me. And nothing feels better than that.

The relationships never lasted with these guys but I just could never bring myself to throw away the items I received from them, because of the feelings attached to them.

Then, after I sifted through an embarrassing amount of tote bags and shoes I hit the mother-load — I found my stash of letters and cards from Bradford.

Over the course of our two-year relationship he had sent me well over 30 cards, love letters and presents. They all smelled like him and instantly brought me back to the feeling of being with him.

After I decided this event called for a bottle of wine, I read through all of his letters. Each one of them professed his “extreme happiness” and “eternal love” for me because I was his “soul mate.” The letters talked about our planned future together, our future family and all of the places we wanted to see with each other.

Maybe it was the wine or maybe it was the smell of his cologne, but I had never experienced those feeling for Bradford since I broke up with him.

And then, just when I felt like I needed to call TLC to film an episode, I found the ring Bradford gave me. I never planned on throwing any of the things from him away, but I just wasn’t ready to see everything from him that night.

As if this wasn’t pathetic enough, I am also a digital hoarder. I have kept texts, sexts and voicemails from Bradford, Phillip and many other men.

After I went through all the love letters and presents from Bradford, it left me wondering — what would it be like if we were still together?

Would I still be unhappy with him? Would I be in love? Did I make a mistake breaking up with him?

We hold onto things because they are important, but am I also hoarding my feelings for these men?

Alice has recently been cleaning out her relationship hoarding both physically and emotionally.

Since she and Bill started their long-distance relationship, Alice has been getting a lot of attention from men, specifically Will.

Alice met Will when she was waiting to take a bus home. He instantly liked her, and she was initially interested in him as well.

She told him that she had a boyfriend, but he still told her that he really cared for her and would do anything for her.

“Well I needed to go to the emergency room last week,” Alice said. “So I called him and asked him for a ride, but he said that he was out of town. Then I called my friend Jackie and asked her, but she said she couldn’t because she was on a date with Will.”

Say it with me ladies: “Oh snap!”

Alice caught him in his lies and told him that she never wanted to see him again. She realized that Will was just like her previous boyfriend that betrayed and hurt her. Now her feelings for Bill are even stronger and she doesn’t plan on talking to any other guys.

Aurora has also discovered that she is hoarding her feelings for Ralph. Ralph is an investment banker who Aurora met a few months ago at Monte Vista. She wasn’t sure if she liked him, but it was obvious that he liked her. And as I said to her that night at the bar, “Hello! He works at a bank!”

She moved on and never called him back, only to discover later that he might be someone worth pursuing.

“I think my new plan in life is to marry Ralph, the banker and become a housewife,” Aurora said to me. “I have kept his business card in my wallet since that night. That has to mean something.”

During the past few months Aurora has not found another man that she liked nearly as much as Ralph. Is that because Ralph is the best, or is it because she has been occupying herself with all of her thoughts about him?

In the television show, “Hoarding,” the people have made such a mess of their lives that only professionals can clean the house. Why? Because they are literally out of room.

So that makes me wonder — if I hold onto memories from past boyfriends and dates, will I run out of space to make feelings for new men? If I continue to keep all of my love letters from Bradford, does that mean that I am closing myself off from the possibility of dating someone else?

Spring is here and it is time to clean the past out of your life and start fresh. So while I sort through all of my Disney memorabilia and clothing, consider what you are keeping and why. Do you really need to keep letters from past lovers? If you do, does that mean that you still have feelings for them? And if you decide to hang on to memories from previous boyfriends, will you still have room for new ones? Will I ever be able to clear out my past relationship clutter and smell the spring roses? Or will I always be a #RelationshipHoarder?

Things we hoard:
Josh: J. Crew, love letters and Disney crap
Ashley: Makeup, tampons and Tinder matches
Alice: Lots and lots of candy
Collette: Gummy bears and post-its
Aurora: Pictures of her dogs
Maggie: Wine bottles

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