I wouldn’t describe my high school dating experience as anything to boast about. Being in all-honors, practically all the clubs and sports teams, and having an after-school job didn’t really give me much time to think about anything else. But I felt my life was missing some excitement, so naturally I fell for the boys who were the exact opposite of me. This trend ultimately ended up with me in the arms of my now ex-boyfriend (who I am more than happy to call my ex, by the way) to the dismay of my friends and family. Despite my knowledge of his criminal record, bad attitude, and poor work ethic, I was all too eager to go out with a senior, like any underclassman. It didn’t matter how bad his reputation was. I pulled the classic, “I can fix him,” which I realized two and a half years later, really doesn’t work.
It didn’t make it better that he was joining the Marine Corps, which meant a long distance relationship was certainly in my future. Don’t get me wrong, I was going to break up with him on the spot. No way was I going to be put in such a serious situation at sixteen. But through pubescent rationale and his pleading for me to stick with it, I decided that I would give it a go and see where the “wind” would take me.
This was three years ago. I think it’s safe to say that the wind was surely not in my favor. It wasn’t even the mental bullying, cheating, or long periods of absence that finally
led me to our inevitable break up. It was the realization that I was becoming someone I wasn’t – weak, self-conscious, and withdrawn. I not only broke up with him, but I also cut ties with anyone who I felt was bringing a negative vibe my way. I changed my life and began writing more. Thanks to him, I found the inner feminist in me. I’m grateful for our long, destructive relationship because ironically, it turned me into the positive person I am today.
I came to college with extremely high expectations of finding Mr. Right. “High school just wasn’t for me,” I would tell myself. “This is it.” I was so convinced that now I would have the classic love story, the one that I would constantly read about in my childhood novels. “They” tell you that college is full of options, but what they don’t tell you is that half of those options are taken and the rest want to live out their glory days while they can.
I started my college life very enthusiastic by dating. I would finally have the relationship I’d always wanted and could make up for the lost time I spent with my high school sweetheart. Unfortunately, I am in the same place I was last summer post-breakup. I spent my first year of college with high hopes of finding Mr. Right but with absolutely no confidence. I didn’t have much practice with men in high school, which put me at a bit of a disadvantage. I wouldn’t know what to say, how to act, what to do with my hands. I’m not a shy girl, but something about a good-looking guy always freezes me up. “You’ll find him soon,” they keep insisting, so I stay encouraged.
Iwould have never thought my first serious relationship would have brought me such scars and the long-standing emotional toll it would have on my life. However, I have faith that my time will come, and I am in no hurry to be tied down right now, given my unlucky past. I spent so much time trying to find a boyfriend that I didn’t spend any time being my own girlfriend. My less-than-pleasant dating experiences have only taught me more about myself and that I actually don’t need to be in a relationship, especially not one with someone who doesn’t appreciate me for all that I am. That phase in my life has long gone away, although I catch myself time to time eyeing the same boys I try to steer away from. I guess some habits just never really go away.
So to all my of little sisters, cousins, friends, strangers, and even the women who have already had their share of bad relationships, I have three things to say to you:
If everyone is telling you he’s bad news, he probably is.
Don’t ever let a man change who you (sounds cliché, but still very true).
Just because IT hasn’t happened yet, doesn’t mean it never will. Patience is a virtue.
I just hope I can follow my own advice!
If you’ve ever found yourself in a situation similar to mine, feel free to drop me a comment or two below!