5 Things I Learned From My First Big Relationship
My first hot and heavy relationship was in high school. I was absolutely in love and obviously thought I was going to marry him...OBVIOUSLY.
For privacy reasons I am going to call him *Bobby. Yeah, Bobby is a good name.
Bobby and I met in high school when I was a sophomore and he was a junior. My first "boyfriend" broke up with me over text while I was in math class and Bobby saw me crying in the hallway...later that day he messaged me on AIM asking if I was okay. Bobby was my type to a T with his tan complexion, Italian roots, long "Justin Bieber" hair that was all the rage in 2010.. We instantly became inseparable and I had no idea what I was doing because I'd never really had any experience with guys at that point.
We did all of the things you do when you are in love for the first time: get close to each other's families, travel, say "I love you", lose your virginity, graduate from high school, visit each other at college, and then become interested in other people and realize that we are too young to be with each other forever.
Flash forward to almost 5 years later and we had a pretty shitty breakup. Like BEYOND shit. I'm not going to write out the details because I want to keep my privacy (because who knows who is reading this)...(also it was so long ago so let's not relive it); let's just say that this particular breakup helped me become the woman I am today. It was a hard thing to do and go through at the time, but I've never been more proud of myself.
Over the years since I've been single, I've had a lot of time to think back on a few lessons that I learned from my time with Bobby. Here are some of them:
Never put your friendships on the back-burner.
This is something that I 100 % regret doing. I was the girl who was completely consumed with her relationship at the time, but it was my first boyfriend and I didn't know any better. Sure, I had my after school programs, family trips, a job, etc., but I unfortunately lost touch with my close girlfriends because all of my free time was spent with him. Once Bobby and I broke up I was then left with weird friendships and realized how far gone I had gotten. It took some time throughout college to gain those close friendships back. Lesson learned: Never lose sight of your friends, they are who will be there when all goes to shit and to give you a good laugh.
Trust yourself + voice your opinion.
I think this is hands down the greatest lesson I learned from my first relationship.
TRUST YOURSELF. K!?
I've always felt that I've have strong intuition; when something doesn't feel right I usually know right off the bat. There were quite a few times when Bobby and I had differences (again, like most couple), but being so young I didn't know to stand up for myself and to voice my opinion on things that bothered me. I tried being that perfect girlfriend and tip-toed around my feelings.
At the end when things were getting super messy I finally found that voice inside telling me to trust myself...and I'm glad I did. I knew something was off and I ended up being right. Finding out what was actually on that other side after voicing my opinion was pretty rough, but it gave me so much strength in myself and I felt like SUUUUCH a bad ass.
As my Dad says: "You can listen to your heart, but you also have to listen to your brain."
Make sure to hang as a couple around your friends.
This relates to my first point above. Don't lose your friendships. It's usually not worth it. Looking back I wish that I made more of an effort to have Bobby and I hang out with other people. It would have brought us more fun and it may have shed a light more on our relationship. Again, I didn't know any better. I was just consumed in my love for this guy and wanted to spend all of my time with him.
Interestingly enough, this is something that I have to remind myself of in my adult dating life today. I'm not sure why, but I've never been one to bring guys around my friends and it is something that I am aware of and want to become better at. After all, I can see how close I am with my friend's boyfriends and Iove it that way! It's great to be friends with everyone in the group.
Don't lose yourself.
Along with maintaining your friendships, also remember to maintain a healthy relationship with YOURSELF. I have learned this more as I have gotten older, but your #1 cheerleader is you. I was so wrapped up in "love land" that I hardly made time to just be me. I was always sleeping at his house on the weekends, hanging with his family and not mine, going to visit him at school. It wasn't healthy and I noticed that right after the breakup.
YOU ARE THE PRIORITY. Keep your priorities straight.
Lay some ground rules and morals for what you want and what you deserve.
What comes along with a healthy relationship with yourself is establishing some morals and ground rules. I know this is tricky to do when you are 15 and have your first boyfriend, but I wish I had more people in my life telling me to write down my goals and how I wanted to be treated in a relationship. It can be difficult to do when you are young and do not have other relationships to compare to, but it is so important for self confidence and self esteem.
I think it could be really interesting to create a workshop for younger girls who need to build that self esteem and to understand what they want for themselves. It is a smart way to think ahead and lay a good foundation. It teaches one to put themselves first and then the rest follows.
Do I regret this relationship? Not one bit. Loving Bobby taught me a lot and I am glad that we had our amazing moments and also the crappy ones. Your first true love is a big one! It is a massive part of your life and a time you will never forget. The memories and lessons learned only build to your self growth later on in life.
My advice to my younger self: Do not let your sweetness get taken advantage of. Fall in love, show your fire, have fun, stand for what you deserve, hang out with your friends, and trust yourself. It's all going to lead you to a wonderful place.