I have never considered myself a relationship person, or someone who needs someone else to feel complete. I’ve only ever had one boyfriend, so I don’t really have much expertise in the area of dating but you can learn a lot – even if it is only from one relationship. I came out of it being a little jaded on the idea of love. I no longer believed in the Disney fairytale. I’m not a princess and Prince Charming isn’t coming. Even though my views on love and romance are more realistic now, the magic of being “in love” is gone for me.
It’s been three years since I split with my ex, and being single for those three years really allowed me to find my identity, not contingent on anyone else. I had no obligations to a significant other, I owed no one anything. I got to focus on myself, do what I want, without giving any fucks about anyone else involved. I’m so different than who I was three years ago. That girl is a shell of who I am today – a remanent of a different time. If it was based on who I am today, I would never had dated my ex. People change so much that I honestly wonder if you can stay with just one person forever.
A lot of people have asked me if I can really consider my past relationship a relationship. Even though we started dating when we were in our junior year, I took it seriously. I don’t consider it puppy love, but I also don’t consider it love. In hindsight, I know now that I wasn’t in love with him, I was in love with the idea of not having to be alone. Of having a partner in crime, of someone who wanted to be there for every part of my life. Of someone who was supposed to love me and care for me. And I don’t think it’s weak to want that or to admit to needing that.
Breaking up is hard. Especially for a teenage girl. To be very honest, it really changed me. Growing up, I’ve always been known as the “good girl” and I never resented being labelled that. I never caused trouble, never questioned anyone, stayed quiet, and tried my best to never bring attention to myself. Everything changed when I started dating. Right off the bat, my parents very blatantly told me that they would never support it and to break it off. My good girl rep was shattered when my pastor started gossiping to the entire congregation about my high school boyfriend. I can’t even begin to explain how gutted you feel after being disappointed by someone you’ve looked up to your entire life. Every Sunday, I could feel eyes on me and whispers around me. I felt like an outcast – a fraud – in an institution that was supposed to overlook flaws and forgive despite everything.
That relationship was so emotionally exhausting that it changed the way I approached romance. I’m wary now when it comes to investing emotionally in a potential partner. I take it seriously. I’m not going to put myself through emotional hell unless that person is worth it. I don’t want to have to defend someone to my parents unless I know that there is a future there. I don’t want to open myself up if they’re just going to hold my heart for a minute and then the moment things get tough, decide to get up and leave. I don’t need someone to be around when it’s easy, I need someone around when it’s hard. When I can’t do it alone.
Who you are with is an extension of you, and I don’t want to associate myself with just anybody. They are a reflection of your character. Don’t comprise yourself and your character to be with someone. It shouldn’t be that hard. It should never be that hard. Love isn’t supposed to be easy, but it isn’t supposed to hurt more than it heals. It shouldn’t take more than it gives.
I guess what I’ve been trying to say this entire time is it’s ok to be single. It’s ok to be by yourself even when all you want is someone else to be there too. You don’t need someone to complete you or make you feel whole. It’s also ok to admit that you need someone, that you don’t want to be alone. That waiting for someone worth your time to come along can get lonely and it can be hard. That whatever you’re feeling it’s ok, it’s all valid. That no matter what, you’re strong, you’ll make it. You’re going to be fine. You’re fine.