I remember my first love so vividly; I was a rising freshmen in high school and had a crush on this guy for a few years. He and I started dating the summer before I began high school and I fell for him hard and fast. Over the next 3 years he became my best friend and we spent every waking moment that we could together, him knowing more about me sometimes than I knew about myself.
The relationship outlived the love we had for each other, and became filled with constant arguments, manipulation, and unhappiness. We stayed together despite how unhappy we had become, and by the time that things officially ended I had lost not only my best friend/boyfriend but myself. I had no idea who I had was as my own person, because for so long I wasn’t my own person but a part of a team. My life had revolved around him and I lost myself in the process. I spent the next year finding who I was, only to find myself in another relationship all too quickly. This one more detrimental to my mental health, causing me to completely give up on the idea that I deserve love. My two experiences with relationships left me with baggage aka trust issues, anxiety, commitment problems, and low self-esteem.
After having awful experiences from relationships, I felt downtrodden, and knew that I had some growing to do. I dated guys in a non-commitment way for almost 3 years after my last relationship. I went on dates often but found myself ending things with them after a month or two for bogus reasons. Then I began to not even go on dates, because it felt like too much effort to put into something I knew I wasn’t ready for. This led me to work on my own mental health and decipher through what issues I had with my past relationship. I took steps like learning how to communicate my feelings in a healthy way that not only would improve my future relationship but my friendships as well. I broke off friendships that were detrimental to my health, learned how to create boundaries with people, and accepted that people make mistakes. This allowed me to begin to trust people more. I also learned to love myself, because what people say is true: If you can’t love yourself then how can you expect somebody else to love you.
The next relationship I found myself in took me out of my comfort zone, because after 3 years I felt like I wasn’t ready for a relationship, but I knew I cared for my now current boyfriend. He asked me to officially become his girlfriend only a week after our first date; I said hesitantly said yes, not because I didn’t care for him but because I didn’t know if I could be in a relationship again. Saying yes, though, was one of the best decisions I could have made because I am currently in the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. For the first few weeks I still found myself anxious about being in a relationship for a fear of being hurt, but over time (and many long talks) my anxiety has faded away. If you find yourself struggling to love somebody again, find out what is holding you back and take steps to improve yourself. Sometimes it takes stepping back out of our comfort zone to become happy again and find out that it was all worth it.