It was submitted by: https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com
Let me back up a moment and focus on the qualifier "real" that I used here.
I had what I called, at the time, relationships in both middle and high school, but these were extremely superficial. I mean what else can they be in middle school? I had a longer relationship in high school, and I really was infatuated with the person at the time, but I can't reflect back on it and say I was in love or loved them. It was something to do really, and I didn't even cry when it was over. I was relieved. I wasn't in the right place to meet my high school sweetheart, fall in love, and marry at 18. That wasn't who I could be nor was it who I wanted to be. I was still exploring my sexuality, still not processing having been assaulted, still with so much resentfulness over the shitty childhood I had and how fucking awful living with my father was and then my stepfather after that. It wasn't an easy time and having been assaulted at such a young age, I wasn't every going to be able to have an intense romance. My innocence was long dead along with the child I never got to be.
I was so very angry.
It was the year after I graduated that I started this first real, serious relationship with one of my good friends all throughout school who had expressed having feelings for me but at the time I hadn't been ready to date. Anyone. It wasn't personal. I just couldn't do it. It took awhile for me to get to a point where I thought I was emotionally ready for it and to recognize the feelings as genuine and not some silly crush or feeling obligated because he had those feelings. Even then I recognized we're so often taught as young women to prioritize boys' feelings and shit over our own. Realizing the genuineness of my feelings did very little at first though. It was some kind of heartache for awhile when I first figured things out. I thought I had ruined my chance by never wanting to take it further when he did.
It all worked out eventually, and we moved in together when we were just 19. I really think that was our downfall. It was too much responsibility too fast. He had been really sheltered and never had to do much for himself. We both had issues, dysfunctional families... I had unresolved trauma. I HAD to get out of my mom and stepdad's home. It was all too much too soon, but we kept at it for a year and a half. Trying to manage an apartment and college and jobs and still make time for each other and our friends really made enjoying our new found freedom pretty difficult. It didn't help that my past with other dudes and me being queer made him insecure. And it certainly didn't help that I had like zero self esteem. We were an absolute mess.
To be clear, I don't think if we had gotten together under better circumstances that we might still be together. I'm so vastly different than I once was, and he's more or less an adult version of the same guy. A few more wrinkles, a little less hair, some life lessons, and even more responsibilities now than when we failed, but essentially he's the very same person I once knew. I had to go through literal hell to address my traumas and be reborn as something mostly whole. Kintsugi for the proverbial soul isn't exactly easy. And the older I've grown the more my humor has changed, the more I've addressed my innate biases, the more I've become intersectional, a feminist, and a far leftist. I would hardly recognize the girl I was when he met me, when we were together, or even the girl he left behind. Ive fixed so many cracks, she's virtually unrecognizable.
Life happens, as they say. And I'm okay with the direction life took for me. It hasn't been easy, sure, but I'm okay. I'm at peace with WHO I've become even when life isn't easy, and I think coming from where I did that's really the best I can hope for. It's better than a lot of folks who walked a similar path.
We aren't friends. I don't think we're allowed to be because new partners get insecure about friendships with old ones. At least that's how it usually works around here. (On his end not mine. I don't go for that shit in my personal life ever.) I do miss the friendship, but if I'm really truthful I know it wouldn't be much of one even without insecure significant others. We're too different. My values and humor are too different. And I draw a hard line on people who use vulnerable populations as a punchline. I stopped even being Facebook friends with all the people we hung out with at the time especially since one of those is a trump supporter who literally grabbed me by the crotch one night WHILE we were dating and they all still make excuses for it. Go figure.
We did talk a few times over the years expressing our responsibilities in why things went bad without reminiscing, apologizing without it being awkward. I don't duck or run when I see him in public which is rare now that I'm housebound. So it wasn't awful even though it really was my biggest heartbreak to date. And it wasn't something I held onto resentment over. But it's never going to go down in history books as a great romance or in my own history as the one that got away. But I did love him, and I'm thankful for everything I learned about myself and relationships along the way.
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