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I Truly Am Thankful For My Ex

Earlier this year, I experienced my first relationship and breakup at the age of 20, and I'm glad it took me this long to start.

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I Truly Am Thankful For My Ex
Maureen Havey (author)

I got to start my junior spring semester with experiencing the joys of being dumped outside of my dorm building, but I'm glad I was. I'm thankful for my ex for being the one to allow me to experience all the ups and downs of being in a relationship and ending it.

No, I'm not thankful in the Ariana Grande sense of, "I was put through shit, but I've gotten stronger because of it and am taking time to love myself," because I was already strong before I met him.

I'm thankful in the sense that he was a genuine man who gave me a positive first relationship while also showing me what healthy dating felt like.

I never dated in high school or in my first two years of college simply because no one asked, and I wasn't necessarily looking--not to mention I was trying to love myself first--and I'm glad it was him who broke that seal.

I could've been dated and dumped by any generic boy on campus, but I was drawn to him due to the amount of respect and trust from the get-go. Even being dumped from our "two-month" relationship--let's be honest, it was closer to five before being official--I respect his decisions.

For years, I would watch my friends' relationships pass and fail, and I was silently taking notes; I realized that there are three main components in a healthy relationship: mutual respect, trust, and communication, and it amazes me how many couples struggle with them, yet remain together out of spite.

I suck with communication, but he was excellent with it, and I made a lot of great strides on my half throughout our time.

The fact that he didn't brush me off after the break-up and let me come over to talk about his reasons, and any other time I was confused or hurt, is probably why we're still acquaintances. He wasn't a man who manipulated or abused me in any way, shape, or form, he was a man who treated with the utmost respect.

This was a man who was looking out for himself and had to break things off so he could focus on him; which sucks, but prioritizing your significant other you hadn't even known for a year over the future aspirations you've had for years, and slacking in mental self-care is toxic, and I respect that he noticed and decided to put himself first before our relationship--romantic and platonic--turned for the worse.

I'm sure if he didn't dump me when he did, our break-up wouldn't have been as "clean" as it was.

As boyfriends go, especially firsts, he was everything I could've asked for and more; which is why I'm comfortable still seeing him when I'm out with our friends.

I wouldn't call our break-up "clean" as he does, but there's no hostility between us--just some salty, well-warranted jokes on my half. But, hey, who doesn't love a good, "sounds like my ex," joke when the person is sitting directly across from you?

Some people still ask me why I still willingly see him because of how he treated me for a couple of months after the break-up (ex: treated me like an ex alone, but when there were other people around, he acted like we were golden; for a while, it felt like he treated me as if I didn't exist).

And if I'm being honest, I really don't know why I do. It wasn't like he was garbage towards me when we dated, nor was he super passive or aggressive about me after the break-up.

I only hated him for a short period because he broke up with me on the premise of time and the uncertainty of how much we had; but as time goes on, I get it.

I really do understand. In hindsight, I'm glad he dumped me on the curb of my dorm building without getting to say a word because if he hadn't, we would have dated for God-knows how much longer, till things were certain about the future and been hurt a lot worse.

Our relationship was the perfect introduction to my romantic life--minus a couple of salty things.

I was dumped.

It changes you and you're the whole outlook on dating and the relationship in general. I now use my relationship as an indicator of red-flags in future partners.

It wasn't easy at first handling it since I had never gone through a breakup, and I'm thankful he--reluctantly--let me ask him questions almost every other week about where we stand if I'm still going to remain friends with everyone he introduced me to.

As I said earlier, I am thankful for him ending it before we grew toxic, and I'm sure if we did, I would've lost an amazing group of friends in the process.

I'm thankful I started my dating life with someone who treated me right from the beginning; I never had to fight for respect and he never made me second guess my actions.

I'm thankful I waited to date till he popped up in my life, I didn't have to do a bunch of trial-and-error that would warp my view on what healthy is. I'm thankful for my ex showing me that even if you want to squeeze out the last drop of a relationship, it's not the best option if you still--or going--to be involved in their life, dating or not.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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