In 2002, some of my friends on the internet tried to break Rebecca and myself up. Not that that's what they said they were doing, but I read the signs.
To this day, I'm not sure exactly why they were trying to do so. I'd never had a girlfriend before (if you don't count Soldiergirl, and I don't), and she'd never had a real boyfriend, so of course we were massively into each other. And, having never done any of this before, we had no idea what we were doing. But it worked - at least for a while.
But it wasn't what my friends wanted to see - and I don't mean the usual crew of Robinson, Mane, Hairy Friend and the young raver. No. None of them. I'm talking about my friends on the internet - mostly from one community, although they were varied - plus a few people from school that I wouldn't exactly call friends, but I knew well enough.
From the start there were mutterings. One comment that I remember her getting was that "one wonders how many previous boyfriends you've said [declaration of love I can't quite remember] to" - irrelevant, because she'd never had a boyfriend before. Another was that "clearly there's not much caring in your relationship, because she doesn't care". A third was "this is a relationship based on hypochondria". And there was a massive flame war going on at the same time between Rebecca and Esque, who at that time wasn't talking to me due to an earlier infraction.
I will admit that at some times I thought my friends had a point. The "lack of care" thing was probably based upon her cheating on me - twice - even before we met for the first time (although I was forgiving, for I am an ILB). But then there's all the rest of it. Throughout the one-and-a-half-years that we were together. Throughout the course of me losing my virginity (and taking hers), my first holiday(s) as part of a couple, and my almost weekly weekend trips to see her, I always felt uneasy, like there was an undercurrent of low-level mutiny from my online friends, who were determined to see us broken up - although now, over ten years later, I still don't see... why.
The slightly arrogant part of me says that they had no right to try to interfere with our relationship - it was between me and her, and it wasn't their job to say what they thought. It wasn't like either of us was being abused by the other, either; we didn't fight, or argue; for a while, it was a fairly steady relationship.
But throughout, I got signals from my friends that they thought I was doing something terribly wrong - I picked up on the fact that I wasn't spending a lot of time with my friends and so did my best to rectify that, but all I got as a response was a snide comment and "actions speak louder than words" (which is nonsense - without words, we couldn't speak!). Add to this the fact that I was 18, under immense pressure at school, incredibly depressed and feeling a little directionless, and I'd think it was understandable that I'd seek solace with my girlfriend, wouldn't you?
47 was the exception. He was a friend, all the way through, and the first port of call when I was dumped - he didn't need to be, considering that she was his sister, but he was, for which I was grateful. But I had nobody else, really. One of my friends, the first (if I recall correctly) to leave an unkind comment at the beginning, explained that he'd had her down as a "bad egg from the start" - although I don't know why anyone would think that. Some friends I can go so far as to describe as gleeful. Which, y'know, didn't help.
The conclusion I came to, if one can call it a conclusion, is that she was going out with me, and that automatically made her a bad person. No, I don't see how that works either.
I doubt I'll ever get an answer, and thankfully, those friends in question are still friends, and I still see them fairly regularly (although less often than I used to, but I still do). But it's one more thing that I won't get closure on. I was fairly happy with her - happier than I'd been since the age of about 12. So what was the problem?
Rebecca was not a bad egg. She did something very unkind which hurt me back then, and still hurts me now. But she was still my first... well... first everything, and will always hold that position, even though things were acrimonious between us before we lost contact. My friends, for whatever reason, just didn't seem to appreciate that.
I still wonder why.