I spent six years of my life bending to the wants and needs of my former boyfriends (let me blow your mind for a second: Valentine’s Day 2018 was the first Valentine’s Day I was single in six years. As in, from 14 to 19, I always had a boyfriend and was never been without a guy for more than three months during this period).
I was convinced that I was going to be one of those girls who just met her high school sweetheart, married him, and called it a day.
I have aunts and cousins who did it, and I wanted to skip all the heartbreak and just go right into my happily ever after. At fourteen, I never even wanted to have one ex-boyfriend, forget two. Old me would be appalled at myself for not being or doing enough to save either relationship, but especially the most recent one.
But twenty-year-old me knows I was enough, I am enough, and I did enough. I’ll admit I’m not proud of the way things ended with Guy #1, I did some awful things back then and I’m still not proud of them. But I also know now that anything that could’ve been to save either relationship was done. They weren’t meant to be. I’ll always care for them, want what’s best for them, and wish them all the happiness this world has to offer them, even if it couldn't be found with me.
I’m not a close-minded person. While I do become stubborn when it comes to things I feel very strongly about, I am for the most part incredibly a go-with-the-flow and easy to please person. If I have no strong inclination to any option in a situation, I let others make the choices and I simply roll with it.
I have spent my whole life doing that. While I’ll never say “Poor me, I never get a say anywhere I go” I also very rarely care enough to throw a fit when things go my way because I hardly ever have a strong feeling about “my way.” I'm just happy to be involved in whatever plans are being made and being in the company of people I care about.
I spend so much time rolling with other people’s wants that now I’m wondering: Why was I so willing to jump right into that with whoever I saw myself marrying in the future? Why would I refuse to give myself a break from following and take some time for myself to lead?
I wouldn’t have just been “settling down,” I would have been full-on settling.
Not because either guy wasn't great or not good enough for me. But because I would've never given myself the chance to really figure out what my values and wants in life are, destined to simply follow whoever I marry's wants and values.
You compromise in marriage, yes. But if your spouse is stubborn or selfish (cough), you spend more time leaning into them than doing any true compromising. You try their hobbies and watch their shows and movies, but when do they ever do that back?
If trying to get your partner to pick up your hobbies feels akin to pulling teeth: cut that shit out, and get out. Right now.
And then, when you have kids, compromise is literally and metaphorically not in their vocabulary. They need to be fed, changed, and put to bed on their little biological clocks, not yours. They don’t care that you had a bad day at work and want to relax, their diaper is dirty right now, so you better change it. And I know I make domestic life seem totally unattractive, but believe me, there is nothing I want more than to be a wife and mom someday. I just can’t believe how badly I wanted to jump straight into that out of college.
Five months into being single, I still hurt a little. But I’m getting better and I now have so many better things to look forward to in my life than when the next guy is going to walk into it. And I’m also just like the girl who wrote the article I’m responding to.
I also would rather take a bubble bath with a glass of wine and a book than go out to the bar. I’d rather meet my friend at noon at the mall than at nine at night at a club. But I also don’t take on the stereotypical idea of “living.” Bars and clubs are fun, but they’re not living. You can’t take too many lessons away from bar days and into your life (unless you go to a bar with a wizened old barkeep like in movies, but that’s beside the point).
The things I can look ahead to that aren’t Boyfriend #3 include just flirting and going on dates that may or may not lead to numero tres. I got my nose pierced. I chopped my hair. I want another tattoo. And most importantly: I’m spending Fall 2018 in freakin’ Europe. My living is going to involve sidewalk cafes, monuments and ruins, museums, and all this gorgeous history I can't soak in from a barstool in some seedy pub.
It’s this next journey I’m taking that makes me want to stay out of an invested relationship for a while. I have five months left in the US, and I don’t want to spend the next four missing the guy back home, paranoid about what he’s up to since I’m an ocean away.
I want to see the world, and babies won’t be any less needy at the Great Wall of China than at your local grocery store. You can’t enjoy traveling without your significant other without the panic of wondering what they’re up to back home. If you can swing any of these things, I give you major props.
If you want to settle down early that’s beautiful and I wish you all the love and luck in the world.
But it’s not for me.
It’s time for me to take back my life and love myself more than any guy that can stroll into it.