First Real Relationship

The first time I was allowed to have a boyfriend was age 16. My family established this rule for my cousins, siblings and I because of their history with dating. They thought that If we waited to date there would be less room for us to make the dumb mistakes that they did growing up. This rule never made me feel like I wanted to rebel, it just made me not care about dating. From a young age my parents had been telling me, “focus on school and your future, you don’t need to focus on boys”, and that really stuck with me. I never cared enough about finding someone because I was busy focusing on everything else. Through the years I’ve seen my peers so desperate to have someone that they go from relationship to relationship, and I just never saw the point in it.


The day I turned 16 I was finally allowed to date, and I did immediately. I know I said that I never cared, but the idea of having a boyfriend was fun and new so I chose the first guy I could find (big mistake). He asked me to be his girlfriend at the lockers during dismissal and then broke up with me over the phone four days later. Obviously, you can see why I never defined this as a “real” relationship. The next boy I dated was my best friend of four years. That relationship was about four months of double dates and weekend trips to dinner the movies (literally, every time we hung out). We lived about 20 minutes from each other and both didn’t have cars, so we didn’t get to hang out too often. I never considered that to be a real relationship either. Sure, we both liked each other and would go on dates, but we didn’t get to ever hang out alone or even see each other often. He was always way more into the relationship, and I never really cared (as horrible as that sounds). After we broke up, It was my senior year and I just focused on everything else in my life. There were a few guys that I crushed on through the years, but I hadn’t actively tried to pursue a relationship until I met my current boyfriend. We started hanging out at the end of my sophomore year of college. It kind of snowballed from there until we both realized that we were into each other. We’ve only been together for seven months, but I do really define this as being my first “real” relationship.


Being in college and experiencing this is weird because you feel so behind in the dating sphere, especially when the person you are dating has been in relationships before too. There are times where you feel especially behind, like when your friends are sharing embarrassing date stories and you have none, or when people talk about their sex lives and how they lost their virginity at age 16 and you lost yours last month (true story). Navigating your first relationship is never really the easiest, but I don’t feel like I'm inexperienced in dating.Through the years my friends have all been in relationships and I feel like I’ve learned more from them than I would have in first-hand experience. I was always that level-headed friend they came to for advice, and looking at situations from an outsider's perspective has helped me learn how to handle the situations when I’m involved in them. There definitely is something to be learned from facing those situations in your own relationship versus when you’re a third party, but I think their experiences shaped my views on relationships and how to deal with them. Watching how things affected my friends and the outcomes of their problem solving with their relationship issues have really helped me understand how things work and how to handle them. Everyone defines a relationship differently, and everyone starts dating whenever they feel is best. I don’t think there is one definite point where people need to start dating, it all depends on who they are and what they feel. If you think you’re ready to be in a relationship with someone then just do it, and if you’re too picky (like me) then wait. It doesn’t matter how old you are, you’ll find someone. Honestly, it doesn’t even matter if you find someone or not as long as you are content. That's the biggest lesson I’ve learned from waiting all these years, you don’t need another person to be happy. I was happy alone, and I’m happy with someone. As long as you have your friends and your family you will be just fine, don’t rush anything just because society is pressuring you to be “normal”.


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