It's common knowledge that the best way to get over one person is to start liking someone else. It worked pretty well in 8th grade when I didn't want to like the Juvenile Delinquent anymore and decided to aim my affections at his Scumbag Friend. I had a thing for white boys in flannel and Doc Martins (thank you Kurt Cobain). Replacement therapy worked pretty well, until I realized the Juvenile Delinquent was still my heart's desire. The only drama this change of heart created was the internal variety since neither party was interested. Over the years, I continued to implement the replacement strategy, with similar results.
Freshman year of college, my first (and only) official boyfriend (I like to stick to gray area "quasi-relationships" because they make it easier to star in my own personal soap opera) was a replacement. After months of futility spent trying to work my way from being Jockboy's friend/sidekick/personal lackey to being his girlfriend, I met the sweetest guy in the world. Sweetheart adored me in a way no one had adored me before, so I was more than happy to be his one and only. So I did what any girlfriend does, I spent hours tying up my dormroom phone whispering sweet nothings in his ear. I told him I loved him and did naughty things to him in his bedroom while his mother watched TV downstairs. This guy made me feel wanted, secure, pretty, and all types of wonderful. Who cared if he he wasn't in college, didn't play football, wasn't 6'1", and didn't drive a white Ford Explorer? I guess I cared a whole lot, because I still thought about Jockboy. CONSTANTLY.
The problem with replacements, is that more often than not they fail and you're left right back at Phase I mooning over someone who's probably not mooning over you. Replacements don't push the old feelings away, they only cover them with contrived feelings that you convince yourself are real. What I've come to realize is that I'm never looking for just a replacement. What I really want is an upgrade. Someone who is bigger, faster, stronger, smarter, sexier, richer and better than what I'm desperate to leave behind. I didn't find that freshman year. When I measured what I had against what I wanted, it didn't compare. I'm ashamed to say this now, but the fact that one man treated me better, didn't compensate for the other being better looking and more high profile. Actually, that's the reason none of the replacements ever really replaced anything. They weren't better than the original.
A few years ago, I found what I thought would be the perfect replacement for the Idiot. The Upgrade was taller, just as good looking, made more money, had a bigger apartment, drove a nice car, was smart, funny, got into all the good parties, called when he said he would, and best of all was interested in me. I thought I hit the jackpot. But lying in bed with him one night, I started staring at him as he slept. It wasn't there. I couldn't see all the grand possibilities that I saw whenever I looked at the Idiot. I came to realize that even though The Upgrade went beyond my standards, the Idiot set those standards in the first place. The Upgrade couldn't compare. I didn't want an upgrade, I wanted the original basic model that I fell for in the first place. From that moment on, I would always gaze at The Upgrade and think to myself:
You're dark, like him
You're tall, like him
You dress better than him
You're in better shape than him
You don't make me cry, like him
You don't ignore my calls, like him
You don't look at me, like him
You don't see me, like him
You don't hold me, like him
I won't love you, like him