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Wanting a relationship is a natural desire. Not wanting to feel alone and having a consistent person in your life to talk to and feel comforted by. Yet, the hardest part of dating is learning your limits and recognizing problems in those relationships. I feel as though, and from personal experience, that we may always be concerned with the idea of being in a relationship rather than being in a happy and healthy relationship. Getting caught up in the idea that saying you have a significant other is more important than having that good quality core of the relationship. In the end not having that foundation of a basic friendship is what makes a lot of relationships only last a few months. Or worse, it lasts too long because we refuse to recognize the issues and choose not to bring them up. People say that communication is everything, but that is easier said than done. There are oftentimes you may want to speak up, but have a difficult time verbalizing it.  This is such a common issue I feel like a lot of people, especially women, feel because there is so much outside influence on a woman’s appearance. It causes an internal insecurity that we start to feel about ourselves. What we feel on the inside ultimately comes out on the outside, making you act or dress differently all to keep your man. 

In my own experience, I have never been in a serious or official relationship. I never even really started to date until my senior year of high school because I had already felt insecure growing up in a predominantly white community. When coming to college my freshman year, that’s when I started to blossom and become the person I have always dreamt of being. This new found confidence led me into “situation-ships”. In these “situation-ships”, although I started to find myself, surprised that others found me attractive, I gave into it all. I strived to hold myself to a higher standard and was a little picky in what I wanted in a man. When I met someone who I thought I was compatible with, I loved hard and deeply. Now, you may blame it on me being a Cancer, but when it comes to love and giving consistent and qualitative attention and expecting that from others. I’m your girl. 

If I could go back, I would have stopped myself from continuously saying I am okay with these red flags popping up everywhere. Although I may not believe in the idea that actions speak louder than words. I am a huge believer in the alignment of words and actions. You can say “I love you” as much as you want, but if they aren’t treating you like they love you, it’s most likely not going to last. Plus, I feel as though it is always better to say that “I like you” rather than “I love you. This is because with saying “I love you” you can say it repetitively as a hyperbole and at some point, you might be so in love with the idea of a relationship that you forget the meaning of those words. “I like you” sets an example that you are always someone I can hold close to, because you can’t like just anybody. You have the basic foundation of a good healthy relationship.

The first situation-ship lasted two months, I didn’t have sex with him because I am a virgin and proud. I wanted to wait until I fully trusted him and knew his intentions. That didn’t end well because although “[I] have all the qualities [he] was looking for in a girlfriend besides the fact that we weren’t having sex” he still ghosted me. Two months without talking to him goes by and it gets easier and easier not thinking about him, he calls me telling me he made a mistake and didn’t realize at the time I was the only person who genuinely cared about him. The only girl he had been with that used him for more than his body. The first flag I saw was a week in about him questioning my virginity and honestly should have stopped it right then and there. The other situation-ship was actually with a close friend of mine that LASTED 6 MONTHS, and still couldn’t call me his girlfriend. I love him as a friend, but sadly learned that there is a small chance of a future with him. He is from a different state and we met on Instagram through a mutual friend. He messaged me first and it started off with us being really good friends until Covid happened. The first 3 months were amazing because he consistently called and we’d talk for hours. By the 4th month, he stopped calling, texting, and replying so I decided to put more time into communication for both of us by making the first step more often. By the 6th month, this pattern kept happening and even after I finally spoke up about how unhappy I was, I still gave into the idea of him because that’s all I knew and felt like I needed. I decided to buy a ticket and flew out to see him for the weekend. Stayed at a family member’s house about 2 houses away because it was the easier option. I got to see him the first day but plans changed afterwards, he flaked on me the rest of the trip. I went home more confused than ever, and without a real explanation or even a “have a safe trip home” text. 

After all of this, I was still willing to fight for a relationship that had been dead for a while. I felt the need to stay in an unnecessary relationship because it was one of the few times I felt connected to someone. Yet, being connected to someone doesn’t mean it’s a good connection. It can mean the exact opposite. 

When you end up being out of that relationship you feel more broken than ever. You’ll know if that person is right for you because they are consistently showing their love for you, they’re not taking week breaks and showing up every once in a while. That’s how toxic relationships start and always end up festering only to leave you with the wrong mindset heading back into the dating world again. Although I haven’t been in a relationship myself, I am glad that I didn’t end up settling for something less than I deserve. I have always struggled with this, but it has been something that I am working through and improving every day. Knowing each other’s limits and how to build that foundation of a friendship is vital to understanding yourself and your willingness to grow together in a relationship. So, when the relationship ends and you start back again at square one. Recognize what went wrong on both sides and take into account that information for your next relationship. Even with the insecurity that we all face within failed relationships. This time alone allows you to do what you like and not feel brought down by the idea that you might be only doing it for someone else’s pleasure or embarrassment. You are dating yourself and loving every second of it! We all deserve true love and happiness that lasts forever. So why waste those good months and years on someone that makes you question your intentions and your boundaries?

Nia Tate

Hampton U '23

Hi, girlies! My name is Nia Tate and I am a Junior Health Sciences Major and Sociology from Seattle, Washington. I aspire to work at a non-profit organization that works towards equity in the health care system. A lot of my hobbies include yoga/meditation, kickboxing, trips to the lake, and upcycling old clothes into creating something new. I also aspire to travel the world and experience all different types of cultures and fashion. Some of my dream destinations I hope to visit include Japan, Brazil, and Greece!
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