My biggest fear used to be being left behind and dying alone. My second week of college, I met a boy, nope actually, he was a man. He was older, successful and didn’t care about my weight. He challenged me and was the first guy I ever met that made me feel beautiful.
At 18, it was a whirlwind to find a guy who could pay for things, had a car and didn’t drink Natty Lite. I thought a relationship at that time was someone who would take me on real dates and answer my texts before 2 a.m. Maybe my sights were set a little low, but what do you know about life or love when you’ve only dated one other person and your mom drove you on dates?
My new relationship quickly lost its luster and became a game of how much less important was my life was because I was a few years behind. If I was stressed about school, his work was more stressful. If I was homesick, he considered that childish.
Sometimes he would do this disappearing act for a few days at a time making me miserable and extremely confused. If he didn’t feel like answering my texts, he didn’t. If he decided to flake, he flaked. For months I chased him, doing everything I could for him to love me (or even like me, honestly) and it never worked.
Looking back now, I see what an idiot we both were. I was a freshman with a lot of opportunities I did not make use of, and he was a 28 year old guy toying around and kept me just far enough away from his real life.
For some reason, I still stuck around as he had me on the backburner. Every time we would hit a high, we would hit an even lower low. At some point, the line was drawn in the sand. It was done and I was alone. My heart was broken and I never thought I’d see the light or date ever again.
Little did I know my first week of my freshman year would open up one of the life’s greatest secrets; sometimes it’s better when it doesn’t work out. At that time, it was an important relationship that helped me see what I valued in a partner and how much of myself I could really give.
After we broke up, Italy seemed like the perfect place to find myself and was my first step of independence. I was in new countries every week for three months and for the first time, I really started to like my life. I was meeting new people, getting into new situations and my heart seemed to pick up its pieces and become whole again.
By the time I went back to school, the memories of our crappy relationship became another chapter in story much larger than our breakup.
I was talking about this with a friend of mine (who lived through every screenshot and crying facetime), and her response was, “the older guys were such a catalyst for life lessons but also a lot of bullshit”. Part of me growing up was dating someone closer to my brother’s age than mine, pissing my parents off and creeping out most of my friends.
That time of my life seems so foreign now, I thought I knew the world and was ready to take on an adult relationship when I was still just a kid, barely out of high school. Now that I am actually in an adult relationship, it takes two people, a lot of work, brutal honesty about who you are and never compromising your values to fit into someone else’s life.
Growing up comes from a lot of going down the wrong path and getting thrown off your horse. It took a bad guy to realize what I wanted from a good guy. It took a lot of the wrong things in a relationship to see what the right things in a relationship are.
I laugh at how dramatic it all seemed. I never thought I’d meet someone better, but literally anyone would have been better. Now, that part of my life is so far behind me and all the things that didn’t work out, have worked out for the better.