As a new feature this term, the girls at Her Campus Exeter want to share some of the most important lessons that we have learnt when it comes to sex and relationships. As a team we have experienced it all: painful break-ups, one night stands, being cheated on and things that we would have done oh-so differently had we had the chance. As Kelly Clarkson knows “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” so rather than see this misdeamours as regrets, HCX prefers to look at them as lessons.
When you like a boy, it is sometimes hard resisting giving into his every beck and call. You want the boy to like you and one way of making that happen is by agreeing with everything that he says. Suddenly acquiring interests and hobbies that you would normally run a mile from for a boy that you have started dating is a natural. Four weeks down the line, you’ll probably admit that you actually have no interest in rugby but the fact that you made the effort to follow every match (even if it was just so you can check out rugby players bums) does win you some brownie points. However, this lesson is about what happens when you let the feelings you have for someone dictate your life, isolating yourself from your friends.
Last year I met J*. He was funny, charming and to top it all off rather good-looking. I had just come out of a relationship and missed the cute things that come along with that such as late night snuggles and someone to talk to whenever you are feeling down. We got chatting and after sharing some pretty awful banter, swapped numbers. Before I knew it, we were hooking up and I was falling hard for him.
I had been warned by my friends that J was a player but for some reason I didn't care. He had told me on a number of drunken occasions that I was “different” to all those other girls and I chose to believe him. Every time that we randomly got together, I thought that it was just a matter of time before we became official and every time I was wrong. My friends would tell me about other girls that he had slept with and even though deep down I knew what they were saying was true, as soon as he told me otherwise, I chose to believe him. I was terrified about losing him and did everything in my power to make him stay.
My relationship with J was causing quite a lot of tension with my friends. Unlike me, who at the time thought that he was the “bee’s knees” my friends saw him for what he really was. They noticed that I acted differently around him and would literally do anything that he asked of me. There were so many instances when I would tell my friends that I was too tired to go out but if J rang me, I would be out in an instant leading to them beginning to resent me.
I was terrified of sticking up for myself with J, so would never push too far just in case I lost what was never actually mine. There were times when he would ring me at 2 o’clock in the morning asking me to walk back with him from a night out and I would get up and meet him no questions asked. I began to lose count of the number of times that we had arranged to meet for coffee and he didn’t turn up without a text, phone call or explanation. No matter what he did to hurt me, I didn’t seem to care.
This arrangement went on for about 3 months and even though I knew it wasn’t ideal, the thought of being on my own was plain scary. In the holidays, I got some much needed perspective. The time apart from J made me realise that he cared more about himself than me. I began to understand that in loving J, I forgot to love myself and had become a real push over. When I didn’t hear from him at all during the holidays, I decided enough was enough. I was no longer just going to sit back and say nothing. When I next saw J, I made it clear that we would not be hooking up again. I thought I would fall apart but was surprised about how relieved I felt. I suddently felt free again and as though a weight had been lifted of my shoulders.
J and I don’t really really talk anymore-every so often he will send me a text saying that he “loves” me. Before I would have come running but now I know that a drunk text at 2am doesn’t mean anything. There are still times when I miss having someone to cuddle in bed but being with J made me realise that I don’t want to be anyone’s “back-up plan” and if a boy likes me enough, he will respect me.
As you can see from the story, allowing someone to control your life can often have disastrous results. A boy is not worth it if he isn’t willing to compromise and unfortunately in these types of situations, you often have to experience the heartbreak in order to realise how corrosive a relationship of this kind can be. Remember ladies, in order to let someone love you, you have to love yourself, so don’t let anyone walk all over you!
*All names/initials have been changed.