I was one of the lucky ones. I had found my soulmate in high school at the innocent and naive age of 15. We met our freshman year of high school and our love bloomed from there. We had grown up together, gone through hardships together and experienced happy and sad moments together. Everything we ever did was together from the time we were 15 all the way up to 21. This is where this story's expected happy ending does not really have an ending, nor is it happy.
We thought we would never make it through college together, but somehow we had made it work. What began as wanting to make it work soon turned into an obligation to make it work. I had become clingy and needy, always wanting to see him and spend time with him because I never could. Little did I know that this was making him draw more and more into himself and his life at school. It was a slow and downward slope, however, I knew I had to do something about this before this once beautiful relationship turned toxic.
I had made one of the hardest and bravest decisions of my life thus far. I had decided to give our love a break. I had decided to put everything that we had put towards this 5-year-relationship in a box and store it away.
In the back of my mind, I knew this was a very risky decision because while I am out in the world figuring myself out, so is he and during this time he may come to realize that we are not meant for each other. After considering this, I realized that this could happen to me as well, and if it did I would truly know it wasn't meant to be and what we had for so many years had run its course.
This was something that had to be done for both of us.
In those five years that we had been together, it was always "us," "we," "you and I," and "me and him." I could go on and on. During high school and even the beginning of college, this was a norm and it was fine. However, somewhere during that time I had lost myself and who I was, and it wasn't Ashley anymore, it was simply "girlfriend."
I didn't know who I was. I didn't even know what I enjoyed doing. I was so busy trying to please him that I had forgotten to please myself.
I remember a time someone would ask me what I liked to do for fun, and I didn't even know how to answer a question like that. That's when I realized, we weren't those high school sweethearts anymore. We were adults having to deal with adult things.
We were still in that high school relationship mentality. The truth of it is that I always saw myself with him, and even after this five months of being away from each other, I still do. However, we have to learn to be happy with ourselves first.
I am beginning to learn that you don't begin a relationship expecting the other person to fill you up. You must be truly happy with yourself first and know how to fill yourself up. Having someone who truly loves you and cares about you should just be a bonus to the happy life that you have created on your own.
Since we have been broken up, I have learned so much about myself. I have learned what I want and don't want in a relationship. I have learned to cherish the importance of real friendships that will be there for you no matter what. Lastly, I have learned that one of the signs that mark a long and happy relationship is the ability to separate and focus on yourself as an individual.
I am beginning to learn the importance of transitioning into an adult relationship, but most importantly, I am beginning to learn how to love myself without the help of anyone.