Washington - A relationship generally leads to at least two versions of what may or may not have happened. And "dating" is a vague term. But you can still measure whether it happened. Here's a quiz to help you decide if that love affair was real or all in your head.
1. Did you go on a date?
A. Yes, several! Is there one in particular you'd like to know about?
B. The first time I asked her to dinner, she said no. The second time, also no. About once a year, I send her a message over social media - usually from a different account so she doesn't know it's me. Every time I mention some revealing detail or memory of her that only I would know. I never hear back, but she's really very busy.
C. She came to see my band play once. In fact, I wouldn't set foot onstage until I knew she was in the audience. Does that count?
2. Did you hook up once and never see each other again?
A. No, we were intimate over a consistent period of time. We also hung out during daylight hours and were integrated into each other's lives.
B. We made out once! I wanted to go further, but she stopped me.
C. Unclear, but we shared a dorm bed together once. I have a Google alert on their name and have built a shrine full of photos and items that remind me of them. Look, here's an old picture of us with a birthday cake!
3. Did you discuss your feelings about one another, and were they mutual?
A. Yes - a lot. We've been in and out of couple's therapy.
B. Well, I've told her how I feel about her ... Does that count?
C. They were not mutual - that's why I'm writing this memoir! I'm hoping stories of our past will remind her of what we had and she might come running back to me.
4. Did this person meet your family or friends?
A. Yes. Everyone got along brilliantly!
B. No, but I've told my friends so much about her, it's as if they did meet.
C. She met some of my band mates. Does that count?
5. If you were to ask this person "Did we date?," what do you think they would say?
B. That we might date someday - just as soon as her schedule clears up!
C. Yes. She would say I was formative in her romantic development, and definitely not "a much older man being creepy with me when I just had graduated high school."
Mostly A's: You definitely dated. You might still be together. Go, love! Still, it's always good to check with the person before writing about them if you're going to use their name, or if they're still in your life. Drop this person a line and ask how they remember your time together.
Mostly B's: Doubtful. But I'm more concerned by the fact that you haven't moved on! Might be best to process these unresolved feelings in the privacy of a therapist's office. Oh, and do not contact her again.
Mostly C's: Definitely not. Check with this former flame before including any of this in your memoir. And if they dispute it, listen.