Like many stories, it all started out as young love. My tale features two bright-eyed 17-year-old kids, spending summer days boating on the lake and winter nights laid up, cozy by the fire.
Conversations included pouring our hearts out at 3 am, telling each other that going to two different colleges in the fall could never undo a love like what we had.
Maybe if we went to the same university rather than ones two hours apart, things would be different and we would still be together. But, guess what? There really was never a chance of that happening, and that’s okay.
I'm currently a second-semester senior, reflecting on the last four years of my life: the friends I’ve made, the memories I wouldn’t trade for the world and all of the lessons I’ve learned.
I never thought it would take me almost four years to realize that the guy into whom I foolishly put all my faith was never really mine, and I was never really his.
We broke up a handful of times between freshman year and the fall of senior year, and the reasons were always the same. It would start off as drifting away — texting less, missing Skype dates, fewer phone calls, no more weekend visits.
Then, after a few weeks, he would tell me we needed to break up because this was all too unfair to do to me, and that he’s just too busy to keep me happy.
I always heard him out, but I didn’t always understand. Was I really that hard to keep happy? Was sending a handful of texts a day really that hard? Was I really not worth a thought every now and then?
Eventually, a few weeks would always go by and he would come back to me, crying to reconcile, and I would give in. We would briefly discuss what went wrong, and he would tell me he would try harder to not be so selfish. Of course, I believed him.
The months we would then spend as a couple again would feel just like the good old times, but it was never long before the creeping sensation of something missing would fill up my gut, and I imagine his as well.
I would start to feel extra insecure about how strong his feelings were for me, we would bicker more and I would notice his promises of keeping me happy fading away as each week passed.
I found myself sacrificing huge needs in order to keep him around. I would tell him no phone calls during the week was fine, we would just text more. Then, once the texting halted, I forced myself to believe that we were okay with talking every other day.
I fooled myself into believing that he really wanted to be with me because he told me he did, and more importantly, he told me he loved me. This, I realize fully now but tried to deny then, was so crazy pathetic on my part.
The time finally came when I could not take it anymore. We had just returned from a not-so-perfect trip to Jamaica and were about to head back to school to start our senior years. We promised to see each other the second weekend of school, but we just couldn’t last until then.
The same old excuses from him came up again — that he just couldn’t make any time for me, couldn’t send me a text during the day because he was too busy and couldn’t call me because he lost his phone. I had had enough.
I finally stood up for myself and told him that I couldn’t be with someone who was too selfish to fulfill my simplest needs in a relationship.
I was tired of the lying, tired of trying to get his attention, tired of trying to be someone who I just wasn’t just to keep an egotistical guy around in my life.
Why was I putting all of my effort into a relationship that felt like torture when it was clear that he would never give me all of himself in the first place?
We cut off contact that day and haven’t spoken since. I would like to say that it was an easy thing to bounce back from, but there were the typical nights of binge-drinking, bottles of wine and staying buried under my covers with Netflix.
Now, I’ve come to the point of realizing that the relationship was mostly filled with suppressing my intuition and far too much immaturity to ever make it.
The fact that he was never meant to stay in my life was just one of the few lessons I’ve learned on my journey thus far.
After a lot of downtime and self-reflection, here's some of the best advice I can give to anyone who has felt this way:
Do not expect a selfish guy to make you a priority in his life.
EVER. It does not matter if you are 16, 25 or 45 — a selfish guy may tell you what you want to hear and could even believe it himself for a short amount of time.
But, nothing will get in the way of himself, not even a sweetie like you. There will probably be repercussions for trying.
Stick to your guns.
Do not let someone sway you to feel a certain way, no matter what. Love is blind, very, very blind. But I promise, your intuition always knows when something is not right for you.
Let it guide you, and do not give up anything that you know is necessary for your personal happiness. Say you’re angry when you’re angry, and tell someone when you feel like you might have gotten the short end of the stick. Being meek in life gets you nowhere.
Real life will never live up to the expectations in your head.
Girls create straight-up fantasies how their lives will go: Marry your college sweetheart, have some kids and perhaps a nice crib in the suburbs. Nah, girl. Life will throw you curveballs, and your expectations will smack you right in the face with reality. Learn to take it for all that it’s worth.
Never wait around for something that may never happen.
I wanted to tell myself that he would be the perfect guy once we were done with college and worrying about distance, but obviously I needed Cupid to pull his arrow out of my ass. When someone shows you his or her true colors, believe it.
The only thing that’s true about that movie, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” is that he really probably just isn’t that into you.
Realize the power is always in your hands; choose happiness.
Things could always be worse. If losing a crappy guy was the worst thing to happen to you, see it as a blessing. You want people around you who will lift you up and make you realize your full potential. Create happiness around you, and tell all your potential haters, “Bye, Felicia.”
I need to end this by saying that being selfish at a young age is not necessarily a bad thing, but I do believe that when a person knows he or she only wants to focus on him or herself, it is beyond unfair to bring a romantic interest into your mess.
I personally believe time spent alone and single is vital at a young age, but I also know that sharing different stages of your life with someone special can be just as beneficial.
Know where you stand on the spectrum, but also remember heartbreak will always come and go during your life. Always take away a lesson from it.
Yes, it started out as young love, and that’s where it stayed. It never had the chance to mature or to become wiser because one of us was not ready for that commitment. And, that’s okay.
Because now, I get to do that on my own.