I have not been single for longer than a month since my senior year of high school. I am going to be 21 soon and I think it might be time to start learning to be single again.
I have been with three boys in the past four years of my life.
My first boyfriend and I began dating my senior year of high school. I was 17, he was 20. It was a very dumb mistake. We dated for six months and he broke up with me on my birthday while I was in Pittsburg on vacation.
Not only was he my first boyfriend, he also took my virginity. It was a day I don't remember much of. I had gotten my wisdom teeth out the day before. I was very much under the influence of Codeine. I can remember that I did not want him to take my virginity, and I even remember asking him to stop. But he didn't.
That was three months into our relationship. I had graduated high school the week before.
We broke up over text message as I sat and tried not to cry in our hotel bathroom, so my mom wouldn't know what was going on. I tried to make the best of the rest of my birthday, hanging out with my cousins and family, but mostly I wanted to cry.
I felt violated and angry. He had taken something from me that I wasn't ready to give up. Once I came back home, I wanted to get back at him. I began seeing one of his friends. I really liked this boy, but he did not like me back in the same way.
We still slept together. It was almost relieving to me to sleep with someone that I chose to sleep with. It was a way of redeeming myself over what the first boy had done to me. I could have chosen a better way to go about this, but I was freshly 18 and thought I ruled the world.
I wanted desperately to date this second boy. He called me babe, took me out on fancy dates, but refused to call me his girlfriend. This was like a foreign language to me. I could not understand how he could do this, yet not want to actually date me. But, he was 21 and even more so believed that he was indestructible, and as though my feelings were irrelevant.
The older I get, the more I understand.
Finally, I met The Boy. I was still talking to the second boy, but The Boy was much more interested in me than the second boy. As I was him. I let my affair go and dove head first into a relationship with The Boy.
The Boy ruined me. He hurt me more than either of the previous boys ever had. Yet, I stay with him. For reasons even I don't really understand. The pain I have endured has strengthened me. Every day I begin to understand more and more that I cannot have a life with The Boy.
I cannot see us getting married, I cannot see us being happy together. We both know we drive each other crazy, yet we can't part ways. Marrying him would be settling. I don't want to settle.
He would treat me like a queen, and I am very aware of that. But, I would be miserable. We have very different views on life, and we often disagree on major life decisions, such as college.
Learning to be single again is not going to be easy. It is hard to not have someone by your side every minute of every day. Someone who knows how to talk to you, someone who knows your ticks and how to calm you down from a panic attack. These things are what make me stay.
But when does it begin to affect my life? Living with him is holding me back from so many things in life. He makes me lazy, he makes me unhappy. I am unproductive around him. Most of all, his lack of ambition and drive make me crazy.
Yet, I love the comfort. I love being able to say one word to him, and him knowing exactly what I mean. That is hard to cut yourself away from. We cannot be friends. Not yet. I know his feelings for me are thriving, as I am coming up on completing my Bachelor's.
This is where it gets complicated. His lack of ambition and drive, as well as his excitement of my completion of my degree, begin to worry me. I cannot take care of someone. I am not a nurturer. I am not someone who wants to be the breadwinner in a relationship.
As a feminist, I believe that both a man and a woman in a relationship should be able to provide for each other and should both work full-time jobs to support that. Of course, if one day my husband said he was going to make a million dollars a year and wanted me to stop working, I am all for that. And vice versa. But no one should expect to just simply waltz through life because your partner is making all the money.
I'm a little off track. Anyway, being single is going to be a new world to me. It is going to be hard and complicated and I am probably going to spend some nights crying. But it is something that I need to do for my own future and my own well-being. I can't put someone else's happiness over mine. And that's something I need to learn.