When it comes to relationships, I don’t know anything. Not a damn thing.
As a late bloomer, everything I learned about sex and relationships was from my friends. By the time I was 13, all of my friends were in “relationships”. You know, the kind of “relationships” where they dating older men because they had convinced themselves that they were too developed for the classmates our age. “Relationships,” the kind that seemed like it belonged on an episode of Degrassi. Being 13 and watching my friends going through what seemed like the normal woes (getting jumped by jealous girls, rumors, pregnancy scares, etc.), I decided relationships weren’t for me. It didn’t hurt that I didn’t grow out of my ugly phase until freshman year of college.
My first real relationship wasn’t until I was a sophomore in college. Like everything else in my life, it started awkwardly and backwards. I was a virgin in every sense of the word. Despite knowing nothing about sex, I knew nothing about how a real relationship was supposed to work. Most times, I found myself going out of my way or above and beyond to meet his needs. I’d give him my last money so he could smoke, I’d cook, buy gifts, do his homework sometimes. Looking back in hindsight, I was probably more of a mother than a girlfriend.
I knew I had lost all sense of the person I came to college to be, but I finally had someone who was mine. Someone I felt like I had to love. Not because we had sex, but because he was the first guy who chose to be with me. Being the “chosen one” was a new feeling to me. I was used to being the wallflower, the third wheel, or simply just invisible. Being young and naive, I was willing to do anything to keep him around. We lasted about six months before long distance ran its course. Though it was a rough ending, the relationship was a learning lesson. It was the first of many times I put a guy before myself…
A few tears and a year later, I fell into a new “situation” with an old friend. We had so much in common and shared the same taste in music, which is a win for me. He understood me even when most people thought I wasn’t making sense. He accepted my awkward ways because he too was awkward. Most importantly, he was the first guy to ever call me beautiful.
One thing led to another and soon “another” was happening over and over again. Before I knew it, we were friends with benefits. I’d never done the whole FWB thing before, but I was fresh out of a relationship and wasn’t going to pressure him to do something he didn’t want to do. Our “situationship” happened right before the end of the semester. Perfect timing right? We spent the summer in our respective cities and didn’t speak for the entire vacation.
August came around, we went back to school and we picked up right where we left off. It was as if the summer never happened. As our pillow talk grew, I found myself wanting to get to know him more than just physically. Naturally, I caught feelings and found myself making excuses just to be around him. I sent texts like: “Hey, you tryna go to Chipotle?” “Wyd?” “Tryna watch some anime?” I felt desperate and I was. Most of his responses came hours later, were one word, or the consisted of the infamous eye face emoji that usually came between 10P.M. to 1 A.M. which usually was code for “Are you up?” I knew what this was, at this point it was like a routine. My friends had caught on and naturally started to ask questions. “Does he like you? You his girl? If not, why aren’t you talking to other guys? You think he got bitches?” I didn’t have an answer to any of those questions. I mean these were questions that had been running through my mind for months.
Fast forward to February. Kanye West was having a concert in Baltimore…on Valentine’s Day. After talking to my friends, I somehow worked up enough courage to “shoot my shot” . The conversation went a little like this:
So, um I have a question..what are we doing…
What do you mean?
Well, Kanye’s having a show on the 14th and I know you haven’t seen him before andILIKEYOUSO do you wanna go?
I can’t. I’m going to the strip club with my friends. The theme is: Looking for Love in the Wrong Places lol.
I sighed and stared at my phone. Later that night, we ended up having a conversation we should have had months earlier. Despite it being winter, the actions of our summer had caught up to us and was put out on the table. He talked and I cried. I talked but he didn’t understand.
We decided to end our little “thing” that night , but the next week it was back to our usual schedule. We continued this “yo-yoing” of our emotions until late March. “I don’t know how to care for someone else’s feelings,” he said. It hurt but I knew I couldn’t teach someone how to care about me. I mean, do I even know how to care about me? My mother’s advice replayed in my head over and over ” Don’t keep someone who doesn’t want to be kept. If you can’t handle this type of relationship then stop sleeping with him.” ( Why don’t we just listen to our momma’s the first time around?)
A few months later, I met my current boyfriend. We shared the same taste in music and he was from Jersey which were eerily some of the same characteristics of my past relationships. It was May and the school semester was coming to a close. Attempting to learn from my past mistakes, I decided to be up front…aggressive even. “So what are we doing and what are we not because I’ve done this before and I’m not doing it again.” I said it so fast and so matter of factly, I not only shocked him,but myself too. After the wave of confusion left his face, he said “Let’s see how the summer goes.” That I could work with. His response was mysterious and kept me intrigued but also let me know that we were actually going to speak in the summer.
We spent the summer doing the things I dreamt of (aka tons of cute shit). We went to museums, music festivals, taco dates. The kid even tried to teach me how to rollerblade and helped me get over my fear of heights by walking the Brooklyn Bridge. The feeling of genuine happiness in a relationship was new to me. I loved it and still do.
Being in a relationship isn’t always cute. It’s a learning experience. I’d be lying if I said I was the same person today, that I was in my first relationship. I’d also being lying if I said I wasn’t grateful for some of the things that happened. I’ve learned and I never want to stop learning. My relationship isn’t perfect. Sometimes, we argue. Sometimes, I get insecure or so afraid of how happy I am and find myself turning nothing into something. Sometimes, we’re so brutally honest with each other that we hurt one another’s feelings. Sometimes, I reflect on my past relationships and wonder what if. Being in a relationship isn’t always easy, it’s a learning experience. But I’m learning how to be a better girlfriend everyday…