My Long-Term Relationship Ended And I’ve Never Been Happier

My Long-Term Relationship Ended And I've Never Been Happier

It took losing you to find myself, and for that I am thankful.

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Trying to navigate relationships through the awkward stages of college is hard. Some of your friends are getting married right out of high school. Others are mindlessly 'swiping right' and sliding into strangers DM's trying to catch that quick, meaningless hookup. Tinder, that awkward 'talking' stage, the concept of 'cuffing season'; how is dating in college supposed to work?

I fell into the category of people who went off to college madly in love. Fresh out of high school, the young, naïve, helpless romantic that was 18-year-old me thought without a doubt that I would be marrying this person sometime in the next five years.

Boy, was I wrong.

If you've ever been in a long-term relationship before, at some point, you find yourself asking "are they the one?". After months of long distance, I found myself asking "is she the one?" far too often than anyone in a healthy relationship should.

Countless nights out with friends and family given up, doing things I didn't want to do, transferring schools to avoid more long-distance, I was sacrificing my happiness to make someone else happy. I thought that the long nights waiting for a phone call and the weeks I would wait to see her over school breaks would all be worth it. Why? Because I cared about her and I saw our future together. You're supposed to make personal sacrifices for the people you love.

At least that was the version of love that Nicholas Spark's portrayed it to be.

Just because you two have been through a lot together; have grown to love each other's families; have made a lifetime worth of memories, or have talked through what your future as a couple may hold is no reason to stay together if you are unhappy.

It's easy to become dependent in a long-term relationship. I became so reliant on my partner that I was willing to sacrifice my happiness out of the fear of being alone.

Who would I have to talk to, to take to family events, to walk around campus with? Who would I take to see that new movie or try out that new restaurant I've been dying to go to? We have so many jokes and memories together, who was I supposed to make new ones with?

Regardless of all of these 'what-if's,' to no one's surprise, my long-term relationship ended. For the first time in months, I was alone, with nothing or no one to worry about but the future that was ahead of me. At first, I was scared. However, as the months after our separation passed, I began to rediscover who I was before this relationship.

I made new friends and new memories; walked around campus alone; joined a gym; started making music again, and even treated myself to that new restaurant and movie that I'd been dying to go to.

I fell in love with my single-self and became okay with being alone, and I've never been happier.

Moving on from a relationship with someone you've loved for a long time is hard. At times you miss the comfort and security that this person once brought you. However, these new relationships and experiences will bring you a lifetime of memories that you may have never experienced if you had continued to let your relationship hold you back.

Check out to that new restaurant alone. Go out and make memories with your new friends. Put yourself out there. Love yourself.

Your identity is not tied to the people you once dated. You don't need a boyfriend or girlfriend to give your life meaning and purpose.

In typical Ariana fashion, to my ex, wherever you may be, thank you. Thank you for the memories, the jokes, the countless new experiences. Thank you for showing me all the things that I truly deserve. Thank you for teaching me how to stand up for myself and put my happiness first. Thank you for loving me. I wish you nothing but the best.

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I'm Dating My Best Friend's Ex, But It’s Not What You Think

"I've got my forever, maybe he will be yours."

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My current best friend was also my high school best friend. Her high school boyfriend was a close family friend. After graduation, she knew that he wasn't her forever, and though it was hard to cut ties with someone she'd shared her life with for the better part of her high school days, she stepped out on faith and ended things. That was three years ago. Since then, she's found her forever.

She's found the one whom her heart loves, and they're set to be married a year from now.

While she was cultivating her relationship with her now fiancé, I was struggling my way through dead-end, short-lived relationships. She was there to support me through every heart-ache, failure, and Chinese food binge, and she continues to be a treasured confidant. Which made it strange when her ex from high school texted me six months ago. He's always been a close family friend, and we've kept in touch despite him going on to date other people after my best friend, but these texts were different. These texts were flirtatious and long-winded. These texts felt wrong.

It was as if I was betraying the person I am closest to, and I decided I had to talk to her immediately.

At first, I decided I needed to end the whole correspondence with him. What would she say if she knew I was entertaining such a notion? We had only been texting regularly for two days, but I couldn't keep such a secret, and I didn't want to. I explained the situation to her in detail. I offered to show her the messages, and I was completely mortified by what her response might be. I wasn't sure if I liked him, but I was sure I didn't want to lose my best friend over it. She listened to me babble on and on dramatically and frantically as I do about almost every situation I find myself in, and when I was finished explaining the entire situation, she spoke.

I've been reminded many times why she is my best friend. When we were co-captains on the volleyball court, riding the buses, complaining about the heat, and singing at the top of our lungs, I knew she'd always be the one I'd want to act crazy with. On the day we had our first real fight, we forgave each other almost instantly. I remember thinking, We've made it, she's the one that's going to stick around.

When we almost died riding a Razor because of a cow, I knew there was no one else I wanted to experience near-death situations with.

Because she continually accepts my apologies for things I should've known better than to do, I am grateful for her. She is patient when I make declarations about my life and then completely turn away from my own decisions. She is not judgmental of me, she is not full of malice. She supports my crazy schemes, she carves pumpkins with me, she tells me I'm a "skinny mini" when I know I'm not, but so hope I will be. She is everything a best friend should be and more. So, when she spoke, I was relieved, but not at all surprised to hear her kind-hearted response:

She thanked me for telling her and smiled. She told me that she was not angry, she was not hurt, she was genuinely happy for me. She told me she had always thought we would be a good match and that I should go for him.

She said, "I've got my forever, maybe he will be yours."

Honestly, I think that's the greatest, most self-less response I've ever heard. I continued correspondence with him with her blessing, and he and I became official a few months later. I don't know if he's my forever, but I'm so thankful for a best friend who has given me the chance to find out.

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Be Nice To Everyone, Even The One Who May Be A Total Jerk to You

You don't know what everyone is going through, so just be nice.

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"You're always so bubbly." "Why are you so nice?"

These are phrases I typically hear, and to tell you the truth, it's because why would you want to be mean? The reason I am nice to everyone is that you honestly don't know what people go through. You don't know if they're giving a fake smile or not because they have problems at home or with their friends. Even if you're having a bad day, don't take it out on someone else because you shouldn't use someone as your own personal punching bag.

People go through so many things in their daily lives. Everyone has their own demons and may be fighting their own fights, so why would you want to add fire to that? Wouldn't you want to be the person that makes someone smile after they have been having a bad day? Making someone's day will honestly make your day because you will feel like you helped someone.

Many people who are bitter at the moment tend to rain on other people's parades, or in other words, they want to stop the positive attitude of someone who is having a good day. This instance has happened to me many times, where people tend to want to ruin the positive attitude I have just because they don't agree with what I say or think that they're above me. When you're mean to a person, you give off the feeling that you think they're less and we live in a country where everyone should be treated equally. Being nice is about being a decent human being and treating the people you meet with kindness and respect, regardless of who they are.

In the past, I have had my share of bullying and people who are closed minded and have negative attitudes. In my experience, I don't even want to continue and engage with them because if you surround yourself with negativity, it will eventually start to rub off on you. Self-care is also choosing not to argue with people who are committed to misunderstanding you, which is exactly why sometimes I just stay quiet and let the other person think they have "won" the argument because, at the end of the day, you believe in what you want. People should know the difference between voicing their opinion and trying to change someone's opinion.

Lastly, being mean doesn't solve anything. As hate crimes have risen in the past couple of years, it is an effect of being mean to people. As a society, we honestly do not need any more hate or bullying or negative attitudes. I understand that some people aren't as friendly or outgoing, but it's simple — if you have an encounter with someone, just make sure to be nice and not put anybody down. Words hurt, too.

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