It’s funny how, when viewed restrospectively, a relationship you’ve thought was perfect now seems so imperfect.
I dated this guy for a year and a half. He was my very first serious boyfriend and he is the guy I ticked off many firsts with. We were both very attracted to each other from the day we met, and within a month of meeting each other we were already a couple. We grew close very quickly, were almost inseparable, went on plenty of dates. We didn’t argue, didn’t fight. We were two people in love with each other and loving every moment.
The relationship seemed to be perfect and we both thought we’d get married, have children, live together and spend the rest of our lives together. We mentioned it more than once and whenever we’d walk past jewellery stores we’d have a glance at rings in the windows.
I loved that he was ambitious, hard-working, reliable, honest, trust-worthy, and gentle. I loved that we had so many things in common including a love for both music and writing. I loved that I could tell him anything. I loved that I could cry in front of him without shame or embarrassment. I loved how complete I felt with him. I thought he was my soul mate.
And it’s funny how, here I am now, eight month after the break-up, re-reading over the letters, going through the photographs, thinking, “no, this guy was not for me”. For Christmas two years ago he had given me a framed photograph of us holding a bottle of expensive champagne in a luxurious hotel we had stayed at on our first week away. Back then, I used to think what a beautiful photo it is. Now I realise that I’ve never really liked alcohol in the first place, that I hate spending money, that I find no real pleasure in staying in luxurious hotels. It struck me how the girl on the photograph is so little like who I really, really am.
There are other aspects of the relationships I remember that just did not work for me. His dependency of me was a major one: at first it was flattering, by the end, I was suffocating. Too many unecessary phone calls, too many “I miss you”‘s. I hated how he felt lonely and sad whenever I wasn’t by his side, while I was completely fine and happy on my own. It even made me feel guilty.
I also realised just today that he wanted me to be a woman more than a girl. And I wanted to be a woman, too, but not all the time. He wanted me to work through problems like an adult. Which was fine, but I don’t think I was ready yet. He wanted me to shave my thighs, something I’d never done. He wanted me to shave everywhere for that matter, which made me uncomfortable and was the most troublesome request. He wanted me to be confident in the bedroom, but with no experience, how could I be? He wanted us to go to fancy, expensive restaurants.
I remember him saying how he liked posting of our dates on Facebook because it gave him satisfaction showing me off. And that whole attitude, although it was so subtle back then, now I can clearly see it was there and it shouldn’t be a part of a relationship.
So here we go. One day, soul-mates. The next, strangers. I guess I was only 18 when him and I met, and that I’m still Learning, and that it’s all normal. When you don’t know what to expect of a relationship, and when you’ve never had one it is difficult to draw distinctions between what’s right and wrong, good and bad, what you should forgive and let go of, and what you should seriously reconsider.