it’s funny, old relationships never go away. i think it’s because those experiences with other people, shape who you are. relationships are not only how we learn to deal with someone else, but how to deal with ourselves. i’m not sure if this is true for everyone, but relationships played a BIG part in my life. i went through high school with boyfriends, and continued through college. they’ve all taught me something about myself… and obviously, about what i do and do not want in the person i’ll be spending the rest of my life with. this post is something i’ve always wanted to think through and get on paper… it’s going to be really honest and probably pretty blunt. (cross your fingers none of them cyber stalk me and find this…) in somewhat chronological order.
- i semi-dated several people in high school before meeting blake. blake was most definitely the first person i fell in love with. i think we were that for each other. when people ask how long we were together, it always blows my mind that we only dated for >6 months, because it felt like we had been together for 4 years. blake and i went to rival high schools – i’m from a small town, so there were several high schools within a 20 mile radius. i met blake pretty ironically. one of his acquaintances needed a ride to meet me – i was supposed to be going on a date with the friend. so blake, the nice guy that he was, drove his friend out to the bowling alley. his friend goes inside to get me, and we walk back out to blake’s truck. blake said it was when i walked out of the bowling alley doors, he knew he had to get to know me. his friend was pretty shy and didn’t really do a whole lot of talking. so blake did. the rest is pretty much history. we became boyfriend/girlfriend shortly after that. it was a fast love, by that i mean, we didn’t hold anything back. i was so completely myself, as was he. i loved him with everything i was. we could get into the biggest fights about the most inane things… it was never about the fight, but more about how bullheaded both of us could be. i wanted him to let me win, and he wanted to be right. we loved each other so fearlessly, so innocently.i attribute that not only to the effect he had on me, but to the fact that it was my first love… i hadn’t ever experienced what it was like to love someone and i definitely didn’t know what it was to be hurt by someone you love. my family loved him, but not more than i did. he went out at midnight to pick up my favorite band’s new album, then brought it to my window that night. he came to my drama club practices, he rolled quarters to pay for gas money to get to my house, he let me wear his letterman, he took me hunting at 4am in the morning. (he told me that was the prettiest he had ever seen me). i broke up with him twice throughout our relationship, and he always, always found his way back into my heart – mostly because i loved him so much. he came over to my house in tears to talk, if i wasn’t awake, he would write me long notes and leave them in my windowsill. there was so much trust, so much innocence, so much love. it sounds so cheesy, but it’s so true. i thought we were it. then he broke up with me out of no where. i’d never felt more broken than that night. i knew something was off that night. he hadn’t tried to communicate with me that whole night – he was at work, and he ALWAYS texted me when he was at work, he always came over after work… not that night. i don’t think i’ve ever cried so hard in my life. it was that night that i became so guarded, that night made me the person i am today. it took me YEARS to realize that. blake taught me that love is completely real, but very easily tainted. to this day, i find it hard to love like i did with him. giving your heart so fully, without reservation doesn’t end well when it gets ripped right out of your chest with NO warning. my relationship with blake also taught me that it is possible for a person to seemingly love all of you, even if they don’t.
- ryan cheated on me. he taught me that all boys, no matter how sweet they seem, still have the potential to be assholes. he also taught me that second chances shouldn’t always be given, no matter how “sorry” they say they are.
- i graduated high school with stehvin. we had been best friends throughout middle school. he was the guy i always wanted to date, but never thought i’d get the chance. he dated a girl off and on for 4 years or something. there is a long story behind that as well, but i don’t feel like bringing it up here (that can be a whole other post)…. ANYWAYS, they broke up and he asked me on a date. obviously, i went. we dated up through the spring semester of my freshmen year of college. i broke things off with him, he didn’t take it very well, and honestly, i was a little sad as well. we went through big transitions together. he was my piece of “home” when i left for college. he knew me and i knew him. we had each other even if we didn’t make friends in our classes. (we both made friends and what not – it was the principle, the safety net concept). my relationship with stehvin taught me to never lower my standards because you have feelings for someone. he was there for me, and he loved me… but he also did things that i didn’t agree with on a moral level. i was more like his mom than his girlfriend – i was waking him up for class, reminding him about meetings, etc. and that was not on my list of things to do. because of that relationship, i learned to step out of my comfort zone. we broke up and i had to find a new circle of friends, do new things and start a new semester of classes. my relationship with stehvin also made me realize that blood is so much thicker than water. what your family thinks is important, and sometimes, even if what they’re suggesting isn’t what you want to hear, they’re right. my family’s opinion will always be important to me, but i was definitely in the rebellious stage of my life and did things my way. it didn’t exactly bode well for some of my familial relationships that year, but that phase ended shortly after my relationship with stehvin did.
- joe came around at the beginning of my sophomore year of college. joe was the first person, since blake, that i felt completely myself around. he had himself together – he was graduating that spring with a degree in accounting, had a job lined up, paid off his truck, you get the idea. joe had an awesome family, and my family really liked joe. we woke up early and went to the gym together, and we spent the snowpocalypse together. my college NEVER cancels class for snow, and that year, they cancelled for about a week. we had really small, but important things in common – for example, we had similar aspirations in life, we went to church together and we both LOVED Simply Orange Juice. he took me on my first really extravagant date to a really expensive italian restaurant. he was really tall, he took me to art museums. we partied together, and i even got sick all over his favorite shirt, and he wasn’t even mad. he came to football games with me and loved fish tanks. he took me to his tax company’s business dinners. all in all, it was a really good relationship. i found a note i wrote shortly after we started dating earlier this summer and it made me cry. over spring break that year, i scared myself. he was leaving after graduation to a different city and i still had two years left of school (at the least). he loved me, i loved him and i knew he was at that point in his life when he would be looking for THE girl. that scared me so much. i waited for a month or so to see if i could calm myself down… i didn’t. i broke up with him right before finals week. it was sad. he asked if i was sure, i said i was. i told him that it wasn’t fair, because he would go to the ends of the world for me and i wouldn’t do the same for him. i needed to be selfish, i wasn’t old enough to be ready for that kind of commitment. i thought it better to be honest with myself, than to try to make it work and feel trapped later. my relationship with joe taught me that it’s okay to be selfish, as long as your honest about it. i also learned that it’s possible to fall head over heels again. there are guys out there that have it all together and they WILL show you, with their ACTIONS, that they’re willing to be with you.
- i met grant in elementary school, when i lived in nebraska. he was the guy, two years older than me, that i had the BIGGEST crush on. his mom and my mom were friends, we went to the same church, he came over and jumped on my trampoline, etc etc. well, we kept in touch after i moved two hours away. he admitted to having a crush on me – i thought he was kidding… he wasn’t. we met halfway over one summer and had the best time. he paid for everything. he got us a hotel room, where he told me he loved me. we went to baseball games, the zoo, got lost in the big city, walked around downtown. i knew it was going to be hard, it was long distance, but we really liked each other. i was living out a fantasy, dating this boy i had a hopeless crush on when i was 8. our families were ecstatic. we took turns driving back and forth to visit in the beginning… then i felt like he stopped trying. i broke up with him, and he ASKED me if he should come down to see me. it was then i knew that i made the right choice. if he was the one, he would have already been in his truck. that may sound selfish, (kind of a recurring theme, i guess) but i want someone who wants me so much that nothing will stand in their way, including distance. grant taught me to stand for what i want, and not let it go. i also learned that dreams do come true, and sometimes, just because it is what you wanted, doesn’t always mean it’s what you need.
- then there’s barrett. barrett was not the person i thought he was. when we met, he made it seem like he had it all together, but really his parents had it together, and he reaped the benefits. the longer we dated, the more i realized that, even at 23, he still needed his parent’s money. they paid for his apartment, his car, his nights downtown, his clothes, etc etc. as someone who has pretty much paid for all my expenses since i had a job (at 16), that did not sit well with me. he took me out on dates, sometimes. he bought me flowers… once. he told me i was his everything, but didn’t really show it. actions will always speak louder than words and his didn’t say much. i broke up with him because he didn’t support my long term aspirations. i said i wanted to eventually live in north carolina, even if it wasn’t a permanent thing and he basically said he wasn’t planning on going that direction and i shouldn’t either… guess where he lives now….. west virginia. ironic. regardless, my relationship with him taught me to never compromise your own dreams. it is possible to create new dreams with a significant other, but only if both parties consent. he also taught me to never accept less than what you deserve. i also learned to really think about what kind of commitments you’re making with someone before you actually set them in stone. (we considered living together – thank you mom and dad for putting me in my place on that one)…
all in all, relationships are sticky, they’re messy and they don’t always end nicely. sometimes your heart gets ripped out, sometimes you’re the heartbreaker. sometimes we make excuses for others; other times, we convince ourselves that our standards are too high. don’t. if i’ve learned anything, it’s to NEVER lower your standards or your expectations. there’s someone out there who wants to chase you, to keep you and to make you happy for the rest of your days. patience is a virtue.