When I was 14, I started dating my first boyfriend, D. We went on to date for almost five years, and saying we were obsessed with each other is an understatement. When D and I weren’t hanging out and clinging to each other like spider monkeys, we were talking on the phone so much that my parents started locking my cell in their room at night so that I could actually get some sleep.
D and I spent the majority of our time talking about how great our lives would be once we were 18 and free of our parents. We basically had our entire futures planned out: our wedding, our kids’ names, how we would spend holidays, etc. I was only in high school and thought I had already met the man I was going to marry – and there was no changing my mind. And then college started, and we broke up.
While I definitely don’t regret my relationship with D, I do regret the way I acted because I thought my first love was going to be my only love. I know how easy it is to assume your high school boyfriend is going to end up as your husband, and while I’m not saying it can’t happen (it definitely can!), let’s face it: it normally doesn’t. There are a lot of things I would have done differently during high school if I had been open to the possibility that D and I weren’t going to last… and if I could redo those four years, I would. In an effort to stop any of you from making the same mistakes, here’s what I would have changed:
1. I would have spent more time with my friends. When I was with D, I slowly cut off each and every one of my friends so that I could spend as much time with him as possible, guilt-free. For a long time, D was literally my only friend… and no matter how much I claimed that was enough, it wasn’t. I missed out on so many high school friend experiences because I thought D was always going to be the only person who mattered, and that made me miserable. Those friends I treated badly were the people there for me when D wasn’t.
2. I would have focused more on schoolwork. Since I spent so much of my time with D, I started slacking on my schoolwork. Yeah, I did okay in high school, but if I had had more time to myself, I know I could have done much better. When it came time to apply to colleges, I wished I could go back in time and put more effort into school. If only I had realized that every minute of my time didn’t have to go into my relationship, I could have had better grades.
3. I would have gone away to college. As a freshmen, I always imagined myself going away to college; living in a dorm and meeting tons of new people. Once I started dating D, that possibility flew out the window. The thought of being more than 20 minutes away from him was too much for either of us… plus, D told me we’d break up if I went away. So, I stayed home – and missed out on tons of awesome college things. I especially regretted that when we broke up in the middle of those four years. Lesson learned: don’t ever let a boyfriend hold you back from something you want.
4. I would have experienced other guys. Five years of your life is a long time to date someone, especially when you’re in high school. During college, all of my friends had lots of stories about different dudes they had dated, and even though most of them were awful, I was totally jealous. I had only dated one guy! Now, I think it’s important to open yourself up to new and different relationships – it helps you learn things about yourself. There are plenty of times during D and my relationship where I had wanted to break up, but I always stopped myself because I honestly thought we were going to get married.
5. I wouldn’t have felt so devastated when things didn’t work out. Even though I broke up with D, when it happened I felt like my whole world was falling apart. I had been so convinced that we were going to get married, and once we were no longer together, I was genuinely convinced that love and marriage didn’t exist (cue the emo music). It took me a very long time to realize that not every relationship is going to last forever, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Can you relate to this story? Have you ever dated someone you thought you’d be with forever, and things ended up not working out? Tell us in the comments.