As everyone starts to settle in to his or her semester this year, I can’t help but to think back to where I was this time last year. This time last year, I was settling in to my new relationship with a boy who had just stepped out of a ten year friend-zone sentence. I’ve known my current boyfriend since the 3rd grade, when he used to pull my hair in class and had an annoying habit of targeting me in tag on the playground. Usually, people warn you against coming to college with a boyfriend because: “You need to meet lots of new people and see what you like,” or so my mother told me. I, however, proved her wrong.
I did not come to school with a boyfriend; I waited a week into the semester to ask him if we could officially date, after having spent the summer getting to know each other better as adults who no longer felt the need to antagonize each other on the swing set. When we found out that we would be going to North Carolina together come the fall, we decided it was time to become close friends. I knew back then that soon he would be the only person I would know in the foreign world of college. Once we got to school and decided to become exclusive, he told me he had been waiting all summer to date me, but wanted to wait until I was ready. Neither of us initially wanted to come to college in a relationship, but a week in to school we knew that we were meant to be together.
Yes, here I am, one year later, still in the relationship that I basically came to college with, and I could not be happier. Last year, I wrote my first article about the uncertainty of where my relationship would go. Now I’m back to say that my year has been incredible. I’m so happy that I started dating my boyfriend, regardless of the warnings people gave. My advice is to do what you want to do. I’m fairly certain that my mom still thinks that I need to go out and date new people, but I don’t want anyone else.
This year, I feel that I’ll face a new set of challenges. As my relationship grows more and more serious, more people will begin to tell me that I’m too young for a serious relationship or that I need to go out and be independent and live my life. To those people I have this to say:
I was raised to be independent, and I will never stop being independent, regardless of whether I’m in a relationship or not. I don’t feel like I’m truly my whole self when I’m not with my boyfriend. When you find someone who completes you, you’ll know what I mean. I may be unapologetic about my relationship, but I am not naïve. I refuse to let people control my happiness. Maybe you’re in my position. Maybe you’re a freshman who came to school with a boyfriend. If that’s you, my advice is to be true to you.
If you want to be in that relationship, do it. If you find, after a few weeks or months, that you need to meet new people, that’s fine too. No one can tell you what your feelings are. Why should anyone have the right to criticize you for finding someone who makes you happy? Isn’t that what we all hope for? My happiness is what matters to me, and my boyfriend – well, he makes me the happiest girl alive.