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Alone, But Not Lonely

contentment

About three weeks ago, I decided to make a change. I wanted to be alone. As a person who has spent the better part of five years unconsciously trying to avoid being alone, this was sort of a big deal for me. For most of that time I had been jumping from serious relationship to serious relationship…out of love, yes. But also out of fear. After many bouts of depression, I was petrified of being alone and facing my demons; I liked the safety and security of knowing I could always pick up the phone and run to someone who loved me. And while I will never deny the beauty and selflessness of that kind of reliance, I acknowledge now that it wasn’t always healthy for me.

Last January, my partner moved out-of-country. I was screwed, to put it frankly. My friendships were shot to hell; my courage was buried under self-loathing and pity. I withdrew from the world and everyone in it. And from that spiral of depression I hit rock bottom—quit school, quit my job, quit my life in that town and ran back home. Though I was ashamed of these decisions at the time, I don’t regret them. They were scary and awful…and exactly what I needed.

Everybody says to do the things that scare you. This has been my mantra for years. But during most of the time I took that as my excuse to dive into relationships headfirst without taking a breath. What I should have done was take some time: for myself, by myself. I realized all of this about three weeks ago, in the midst of yet another serious relationship.

So we decided to take a break. I needed to know I could still accomplish my dreams of traveling the world, and I needed to know I wasn’t in that relationship simply because it was comfortable. It wasn’t exactly an easy time for us either—medication had made my libido completely evaporate, and the passion between us went with it. I constantly felt guilty because of this, which made me start to distance myself from my partner.

And just like that, we were broken up yet again; I was on my own. And for the first time in a long time, I wasn’t struck by paralyzing fear. I felt okay…the world wasn’t ending; the sunlight had not been buried by clouds. I was free to do whatever I wanted, and I did just that. I spent time at home more, I tackled projects I said I’d do months ago, and I planned new activities to try. I slipped back into a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time: self-reliance. I was alone, yet perfectly content.

Only then did I realize how stressed I had been. The combination of a full-time school schedule, a part-time work schedule, and squeezing relationship-time into all my free time had done a number on me…it wasn’t until I sat in my room one night and let it dawn on me that I had nothing to do…not one thing…that I felt delirious with joy. No more living half my week at my partner’s place, no more driving, packing, planning, and no more feeling guilty for being tired and drained when we finally had a chance to enjoy our time together!

This time by myself has been so important to me… I have woken up, taken charge of my life, and decided what needs to change and what doesn’t. Sometimes that means burning bridges and disappointing the people you love, and other times it means building bridges and letting yourself love more. Like always, I had let my tendency to people-please get the best of me these past months…But now, I feel self-aware enough to say no sometimes, and make my own plans. After all, if I’m not taking care of myself then I can’t give the people in my life the love they deserve.

And they deserve so, so much…

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Trusting Yourself

All my life, I’ve been searching for answers.

Like most little kids, my favorite question was “Why?” I’d ask my mom about everything and anything, wanting to know why people did the things they did, how things worked, and what my mom thought about them.

As a teenager, I explored different experiences to find who I was and who I wasn’t. I tried being the over-achiever, the slacker, the arty kid, the theater kid, the choir kid, the daredevil, the music snob, the loner, and the social butterfly (at least as much as I could manage it).

Now, I’m a young adult. I’ve got an idea of how the world works and who I am. But like most young adults, I’ve struggled with another big question: what do I want in life?

For the past few months, this question has been interrupting my life almost every waking moment. It all started with my ex Jessie telling me that all of his relationships have fallen apart because he’s still in love with me. While this wasn’t exactly a shocking revelation, it still threw me off guard and left me thinking, “What am I supposed to do with this information?” That got me looking at my current relationship with my boyfriend Fred. Would our relationship allow me to pursue my dreams of traveling in the future? Suddenly I wasn’t so sure. And then I started thinking about the other big black hole in my future: my degree and my career. I thought I knew what I wanted, but the hoops I have to jump through to get there sound miserable. So, all day everyday I have been thinking, “What do I do? What do I do? What do I do?”

The more I realized I hadn’t thought things out, the more questions seemed to be hurdled at me: do I want to get a Ph.D? Do I want to be in a relationship with Jessie? Am I willing to give up on travel? What type of job should I pursue if I don’t get my Ph.D? Would I be willing to let Jessie go? Would I be willing to let Fred go? Should I just be on my own? Should I start traveling now? What do I do if I take a year off? How did I not think about all of this before now?

The trouble with happiness (as weird as it sounds) is that you quit questioning things. The way that sadness makes you hyper-analyze your life, happiness makes you under-analyze your life. After all, if you’re happy, why should things change? Isn’t that the goal, to be happy?

When I was a kid, I knew I wanted to change peoples’ lives. Probably not in a fancy way, like being president or discovering a planet, but changing them in a small, meaningful way. That’s why I chose to pursue psychology, so I could help people manage their everyday lives. I also knew I wanted to travel, to see every continent (except maybe Antarctica) and discover how other people live, and how different life could be. I held these two goals close to my heart and promised myself that no matter how far away they seemed, that I would do them because that is just who I am…I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have these goals.

Now, I’m in my early twenties, and I feel as though every decision I make right now will influence whether or not those goals will become accomplished. I’m terrified of waking up in ten years, stuck, and wishing I had done something different. I’m terrified of choosing wrong, and being unable to make it right.

So I had to make a choice. It all happened in one night, when I sat down with my mom and told her everything I had been thinking. I didn’t exactly want her to tell me what I should do, more like her perspective. What did she want when she was my age? Did she get what she wanted? What about the things she didn’t get—does she regret the decisions that stopped her from getting them? What happened? What changed?

Basically, that conversation with her reminded me of every other moment of doubt in my life. Time after time, I’d feel so lost and helpless…and what did I do? I did what I had to. I chose a college, I chose a degree, I chose to drop out, I chose to go to therapy and get medication, I chose to go back to school. I’ve always done what I had to, and when I found myself lost again I made a change. No matter what has happened, when I’ve had no other choice than to trust myself, I’ve ended up happy and content in the end.

So I chose to make it work with my boyfriend, and try to let Jessie go. I chose to pick a career within psychology that would get me a job easily, so I could have the money to go back to school later if I didn’t like it. I chose to make a choice—to suck it up, pick a direction, and trust that I’d take myself where I needed to go.

Weeks later, I’m more or less the same. I still haven’t figured out how I’m going to get into grad school, and I’m still working on letting go of Jessie, despite not talking to him for weeks. But I feel better, I feel confident in a weird way. I may still be a little lost, but I know it won’t last forever. Eventually I’ll move on to different problems, circumstances in my life will change, and I’ll still be the one calling the shots. The problems I’m stuck on now will seem smaller; the insecurities I face will have faded. Life goes on.

So maybe down the road I’ll change my grad school plans. Maybe I’ll decide to travel on my own. Maybe it won’t work out with Fred, maybe it will be too late with Jessie. No matter how scary it gets, no matter what happens, it’s going to be okay. I’ve kept myself safe thus far, and I know I’ll do it again.

Empty Futures

Well, everyone, here I am starting my senior year of college. By December I’ll be done with this college town and undergrad, and ready to start a new adventure… But, like a decent portion of college seniors  I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I’M DOING.

Never before have I had less of a clue about my future plans. In high school, I didn’t exactly plan for college extensively (actually, I just took one lousy tour and applied to the place I’m at now), but I did have an idea of what I wanted. I had this vision of my future college self in my head, and I knew that’s what I wanted to be. As for post-undergrad, my vision is…nothing. I’ve got a giant stack of nothing ready to be served up as soon as I graduate, and while I know I’ve got a year left to figure something out I’m not optimistic. I keep searching and searching for what I want, and I either find nothing or find it in the wrong places.

It’s only the first week of school and I’m stressed. My latest dilemma is that the deadline to renew my lease is coming up, and I’m not sure I want to stay at my current place. It would be incredibly easy if I stayed, but I feel like I’d be less stressed if I went (at least once I found somewhere else to live). I don’t want to hurt my roommates’ feelings by leaving, though, and I wonder if it’s too short of notice to say something. But I bet they’d be better off without me, anyway. The thing is, I’m ready to live on my own. I know that’s a scary option, given my past with depression, but I know I’ll never feel comfortable living with anyone other than a romantic partner. I close myself off and I perpetually feel like a visitor; it’s time I make my own space where I can feel at ease. But it’s hard to make a decision that isn’t people-pleasing.

Speaking of, things with my ex-partner (who I’m just simply going to refer to as Jessie from now on) are interesting. She told me she wants to marry me someday, can you believe it? Actually, what she said was: “I’m going to marry you someday, ____. And goddamn it, you’re going to say yes.” What does a person say to that, especially when their whole life is a giant question mark? It made me very nervous and guilty, for reasons only some of which I understand. I don’t always know what to say to her, you know? The more time passes with her living in Central America, the more different our lives are becoming. She seems to be growing so determined and decisive about her life, while I only seem to be growing less.

I just want to find a dream to go for again. I used to have my whole post-undergrad plans figured out, and I wanted them so badly. I had a whole life I wanted to live, I dreamed of living…I know now that it wasn’t the right life for me. But what is? All I know are the things I don’t want, and the things I should want, but that isn’t the same as having a dream: knowing what you want and going after it with everything that you’ve got.

Hell, I don’t even know what plans to keep for this weekend…What is wrong with me?

The Hard Decisions

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I didn’t plan it like this. I have no plan. Maybe that’s a problem, maybe it’s not.

Last night I suddenly found myself asking my partner for a break. It was incredibly hard, because a) I still love her very much b) I knew she would not be happy about taking a break c) I absolutely hate disappointing her, and generally anything that makes her unhappy. But it was the right thing to do, and I have to keep telling myself that despite all of the guilt I feel.

It’s not like I’m unhappy being with her. On the contrary, she makes me so happy and content with life. But there are things I need to learn about myself, and I need to learn them alone. Like, for instance, how to have a life a part from my relationships. I disappear in the people I love, and I stop doing what I need and do what they need instead. And that’s not the worst quality to have, I know, but it’s not fair and it’s not what I want. I want to be able to love someone and be self-reliant at the same time. I want relationships that are healthy, and not functioning as my lifeboat.

She’s an amazing person. She makes me laugh, holds me when I cry, surprises me all the time, and inspires me to pursue my dreams. But the thing is, I don’t know what my dreams are anymore. And while I was happy to be with her, even long distance, I found myself trying to live through her. I would wait for our Skype conversations each night, and her texts each morning. Everything else was just passing time. So I found myself questioning if that was the kind of life I wanted to live for the next two months, until I see her again.

It boils down to this: I’m not ready for the kind of serious relationship where you start thinking in terms of years from now. I’m only 21, and I have so much left to figure out about what I want in life. I don’t want to decide who I’m going to marry because I haven’t even decided when, where, and how I’m going to grad school. I haven’t decided what kind of career I want to have. I haven’t decided where I want to live, where I want to travel, or even where I’m going to live this fall when my lease is up on my current apartment. I’m just not ready, and I’d rather be honest about that than try to make promises I can’t keep.

It hit both of us last night when my partner (ex-partner?….sigh) said, “I know that you’re the best thing for me.” And I said….nothing. At least not at first. “You seem so certain about that, and the thing is, that’s what I want.” I wiped off my tears, “I want to be that certain about something, whether it’s a person or a place or anything. But…I’m just not.”

It was the kind of brutal honesty that leaves you with nothing to say. I looked at her and could practically hear both our hearts breaking, because that’s not what she wanted to hear and not what I wanted to say. But it was the truth, and while I hope one day I can say all of the things that make her happy, I’m just not there yet. And I’ll be damned if I hurt her even more by leading her on and pretending to be ready for things I’m not, like Fred sort of did with me.

So that’s where I’m at. I think this is important because I don’t want to lose her, and I didn’t want to break up. But I did it, I made the hard decision, because I believe it was the right one for me. And I’m not ashamed of not being ready, and I’m not going to beat myself up and say I was the bad guy.

I’m just a young person, searching for a purpose, a dream, and a chance to become the person I’ve always wanted to be. I need time to grow up, and then someday, whenever that may be, I’m going to use that progress to build a life with someone I love. And I’ll not only be the person they deserve, but the person I deserve, too.

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A Wake-Up Call

Why do I do this to myself, readers? Why, why, why…?!

As some of you may have gathered, I tend to have a more go-with-the-flow relationship with other people. When my friends and I go out, they are the ones that decide where we’re going and what we’re doing. When my mom wants me to come home and spend time with my family, I go and spend the better part of 24 hours trying to ignore my dad’s criticisms despite the fact that I’d rather be doing almost anything else. When I’m in relationships, I will myself to be assertive about what I want and need from the other person….but somehow, it’s always the other person holding the reins.

My present partner moved to Central America. My ex-boyfriend never graduated college and moved in with me. My only other serious relationship, which happened when I was 17, consisted of months spent waiting for the guy to acknowledge that we were even in a relationship. That’s the key word in this story, folks: waiting. I am always waiting—for Charles to love me and call me his girlfriend, for Fred to grow up and choose me over convenience, and for my current partner and I to find a place where we can both be happy and together. Waiting, waiting, waiting. And so far the record shows that in the end I never seem to get what I’m waiting for.

Of ‘course, this lack of assertiveness is nobody’s fault but my own. For some reason, I seem to think that loving a person means living my life by their speed. And while I realize that it takes two to tango, maybe it’s time that I actually take the lead instead of letting my partner drag me around the dance floor.

Here’s the deal: Today my partner and I were messaging. The conversation was innocent enough at first—we were talking about our plans for the day and flirting. But then, out of no where…

Hey. I don’t think I’m going to be here a year.

I’m sorry, WHAT??!?! You think I’d be dancing, you think I’d be jumping up and down singing, you think I’d at least send a 🙂 emoji….but no. I was just shocked. I didn’t say much of anything, and let her explain. So she tells me she’ll probably come back to the states in May, and then leave again in August to go traveling with her ex-roommate while I finish my degree. She doesn’t know where exactly she’ll go (probably Spain) and what exactly she’ll do (get a job eventually?) but suddenly that’s her new plan. And I found myself getting frustrated rather than happy.

We already did the painful goodbyes. From the first night we hung out, I knew she was going to leave eventually and travel to the country she’s at now. And now she’s there…after almost a year of “I can’t wait to go back” and “I just want to leave”, she finally left, took my heart with her, and turned everything upside down just to say that she’s coming back, and then leaving again, and then maybe coming back once I graduate so we could travel together if we’re even still an item at that point.

And that’s when I realized that I have a problem.

For about two years I was in a long distance relationship because my boyfriend wasn’t willing to make sacrifices (granted, he tried to remain faithful even though he didn’t succeed if you want to count that). Did I want to be in a long distance relationship? Hell no! But I stuck to it because I believed he would put in the same effort as I was to finish school so we could be together. Because I loved him and believed in him, and no one could tell me he wasn’t anything less than the best thing that had ever happened to me. Now I am in a long distance relationship once again, despite the fact that I hate LDR’s, because my partner has always been hell-bent on going back to Central America. I love my partner and want her to go after her dreams. Here I am, saving up the little money I make so I can visit her during spring break, just to find out she’ll be back in four months? After almost a year of preparing for the impending doom of her moving away for a whole year? It’s the same friggin’ situation; I’ve let my partner change up my future because it’s what she wants, and I’m left feeling out of the loop and powerless. Again. And it’s all my fault because I let my heart rule my decisions.

I wish I could talk to Fred about this. I know the stuff in the last couple of paragraphs probably sounds resentful, but believe it or not, I feel pretty detached from our past. I was stupid, he was stupid, and sometimes young people get together, fall in love, and are stupid together. I need his perspective on this whole thing, even if it is to tell me I’ve got it all wrong, because I don’t want to make the same mistakes with my partner as I did with him. I don’t want to always be playing catch-up with the person I’m with—I want to be involved and make decisions with them. And I know that my partner can move anywhere she likes and do whatever she wants with her life…but I wish I wasn’t left behind, trying to make our relationship work around her decisions. When will it ever be my turn to take risks in life, and let my partner wait for a change?

Maybe this is my wake-up call to start making plans of my own that don’t involve any relationship. Maybe I should just pack up and move to Australia by myself or go study abroad on my own and just let everyone else deal with it. I don’t want to be this person who wastes their whole life doing what is convenient for everyone else just so they’ll love me and stay with me.

Besides, giving people everything—my future, my body, my love, my time—doesn’t seem to be enough to make them stay anyway.

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Moving On (For Realz)

As The Doors said, people are strange. And for some reason, all of the people I choose to date are by far the strangest to me. Not in the way a guy singing to himself on the subway is strange, or the way homeless people might talk to lamp posts, but the way someone can appear so normal, so familiar…and still do things that make you scratch your head and say, “What were they thinking?”

Last week Fred and I Skyped. We mostly were just shooting the shit, talking about TV shows and food and his job, but then at one point the fluffy stuff stopped. I forgot what exactly made me say this, but I told him: “There is no us.” “There’s an us,” he said quickly. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Just that there’s an us.” I wasn’t taking that—“But what do you mean?”. “I…” he looked down at his lap and thought for a moment. “I want to be straight forward with everyone before I tell you this…” Oh god, I thought to myself, what is this that he wants to say? Does he mean that he wants to get back together?? That’s insane! 

So let’s fast forward in the story. Sunday night he visited me in my 20150225_163336_eeeafbf_smcollege town. He “misses” me. Okay, okay…he says, “I still think it’s possible for us to have a future together.” Uhh….okkkkaaaayyyyy…….he adds, “But I don’t want to get back together.” Then why are we having this conversation???? I was frustrated. What did he think, that I would just fall into his arms, open up my life, my vulnerabilities to him, just because there’s a possibility of a future with him?? He hadn’t thought this through at all.

I asked him about his “friendships” (as he calls them) with Miranda and this other girl he sees. Basically, he still makes out with the one chick whenever she’s in town (but doesn’t fuck her because she’s asexual and they’ve had bad sex in the past), and he still fucks Miranda, even though he keeps telling them he just wants to be friends. Does he realize how completely misleading that is to Miranda?? And as for the other girl, she just sounds like a security blanket for when Miranda gets too “let’s be in a relationship”. Now these are just my assumptions, and they aren’t very nice, but how does he seriously think I would ever consider the “possibility” of a future with him when he still acts like this?? I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Fred doesn’t have friends, he just has people he fucks with (literally and metaphorically).

And I told him, “The thing is, we can talk all night about what we want our futures to be, but that doesn’t mean that it’s going to happen. The only way to get the future you want is to work on it in the present.” And let’s face it, Fred and I’s present lives right now are a mess. We’re both scrambling to figure out our futures, I’m going through my own personal issues/working on being a non-shitty person, he’s juggling these “friendships”, I’m dating different people…and then there’s the same shit that’s always been a problem: we live in two different cities. Not to mention the fact that I don’t trust him, that our communication skills are wack, and we would need to get to know each other all over again, because we’ve changed so much. For once I felt as if I was asking all the right questions, the one thinking things out logically…and I couldn’t believe he drove two hours to “hang out” with me without thinking it through.

But as much as I was frustrated with Fred for not knowing what he wants (again), I wasn’t. I feel like I’ve been making a lot of progress lately. The meds are helping, and I feel stronger. Sometimes when I miss my relationship with Fred it feels like it was all a dream…like that was a different girl, and a different guy. I miss the happiness I shared with him, but the thing is, I don’t think I’ll ever get that same happiness back. I can only go forward, and create new versions of happiness.

I’m going to go back to therapy and work on myself. I’m going to graduate next December, I’m going to spend time with my ex-girlfriend before she leaves for Costa Rica, and I’m going to learn how to be ok with being alone. Even though I love Fred and believe he’s a good person at heart, I refuse to be him. I’m setting these goals, and I WILL make them happen. Because I deserve to be happy.

From Tinder to Exclusiveness, In One Fowl Swoop

It’s a weird time in my life, readers. So get this: last week I went on a date with this guy from Tinder. I had my speculations, mostly because I found him on Tinder, of all places…but I decided to go ahead and go on a date with him. After all, he had a motorcycle.

So he comes to my house, and I lock my front door, heart pounding and muttering “What the fuck was I thinking?” to myself. I get in the car, he introduces himself. We shake hands. And then he starts talking….and talking…and I blissfully realize that it won’t matter that I’m shy, because this guy is super nice and an open book. And we go to his place, and get on his bike….and I fell in love. In love with the incredible rush of being on a bike. And hey, the guy wasn’t bad either. He was cracking jokes and I was already feeling really comfortable. Fifteen to twenty minutes into the date, I already wanted to kiss him. Blah, blah, blah…we go on a romantic motorcycle ride through the countryside during sunset. I’m not even kidding—that’s seriously what happened. And then we go back to his place and order pizza. He shows me all the stuff in his office because he’s a computer wiz with a few 3D printers. Smart, adventurous, funny, with killer abs and great eyes? I was impressed. This guy already had a 6-figure salary and was only in his twenties. He loved animals and was outgoing, but considerate enough to ask me about myself. I felt the worries about my fucked up love life disappear….and then we started smoking. Now, I’m an occasional smoker. Like once every six months is where I stand. So I figured, why not? Bad decision. The more I smoked, the less I spoke and the more thoughts became jumbled in my head. I listened to this guy and became paranoid that everything he said was rehearsed. It was all a lie. He was just trying to fuck me. So the rest of the night I was stuck between suspicion and admiration. Every time he asked me a question I messed up my answer, and everything he said became more twisted as I contemplated it. But, on the upside, the pizza tasted delicious.

Where did the date end? Around 1:30 in the morning, after we both scrambled to find our clothes after maybe ten minutes of Netflix. He took me back to my house, and I wondered if we’d see each other again. He said he wanted a second date, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything except wanting to go to sleep. So that was it. I kissed him goodbye, shut the front door, and fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow.

He’s texted me some. I told myself he wouldn’t put in the effort of texting me three times if he was just looking for a fuck buddy. However, I was still unsure if I trusted him. Was the paranoia justified? Or was it the leftover hurt from Fred that made me want to keep him at an arm’s length? I couldn’t decide.

So a few days later I had a date with Isaac. (I’m playing the field, okay?) There we are, having a great time, and this feeling starts bubbling up. It was there the last couple of times I hung out with him, but now it was stronger. It was the feeling of attachment, of wanting to share my feelings and let him in. But I was so freaking scared. “You…you make it so hard for me to keep you at a distance.” I finally admitted in a small, scared voice. We were just laying around in his room, cuddling. “Is that a bad thing?” he asked. I sighed, “Yes and no…I…I haven’t really shared my feelings with you because it’s hard…I’m scared.” I hate these kinds of conversations, but Isaac made me feel safe enough to choke the words out. We lied there for a moment. I tried not to think about how badly it hurt when I found out Fred cheated, or how badly it hurt now to know that his cheating was hindering my relationship with others. “I don’t know what to say,” Isaac admitted. “That’s okay, you don’t have to say anything.” He sighed and paused for a moment. “I…I’ve been thinking about something for a while now…No, never mind.” I turned toward him, interested, “No, what is it?” “I….was wondering if maybe you wouldn’t mind not seeing other people.”

And just like that, we were back to the what-are-we? conversation. Time to go balls-out truth mode. I told him I really liked him, that I wouldn’t mind being with him, but that I was afraid that the expectations that came with “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” would change things between us, and that I didn’t want anything to change. Pause (me resenting my honesty). He finally agreed, and said he wasn’t ready for those labels either. “So, we’re not dating, but we’re not seeing other people?” I asked. “I guess so.” I let that sink in, “That’s kind of screwed up sounding.” He thought about it and laughed, “Yeah…” “We’ll figure it out,” I told him with a smile, and wrapped my arms around him. Believe it or not, I had thrown out the possibilities of dating the motorcycle guy, some girl I was talking to on Tinder, and getting back together with my ex-girlfriend in less than a minute. And surprisingly, it was an easy decision.

I don’t know what the future holds for Isaac and I, but I’m excited to find out. I like that we are both taking our time to figure out what we want from the other person, and not rushing into anything. I’ve had enough time playing the field for now, because deep down I really do like to focus on just one person at a time. And right now that person is Isaac. I’ve forgotten what it’s like not to have a complicated arrangement with the person I’m crushing on, whether it was an open-relationship, an ex-relationship, or an unattainable relationship. Finally, I’m able to enjoy goofy romantic feelings and not have them weigh my heart down in confusion. I know who I want, and now we both can have time to figure out what we want from each other, together.

And that’s better than anyone I could find off of Tinder. 😉

Trusting Time (and Nothing Else)

I guess it just takes time. Time to go from wanting to tear up at their voice to being unable to recognize it. Time for songs that used to be “our song” to go from utterly heartbreaking to enjoyable. Time to become someone else, without him.

This is the post where I rant and talk about how much I hate him while fully knowing that it’s not true. I want to hate him, is all it is. I want to punch him in the face so he might feel a fraction of the hurt that I feel, but I won’t. I’m trying my hardest to be mature and act like an adult in this situation…but that doesn’t mean I’m not seething on the inside.

I hate seeing guys that cram their pockets full of receipts, random change, and a wallet they’ve probably had since 8th grade. I hate seeing guys with freckles and calm, reassuring voices. I hate hearing people talk about politics and current events, or video games or even cheesy TV shows. I hate seeing people on the sidewalk with their shoes untied. And I hate him for ruining those things for me.

I hate tomorrow. I’m going to this amazing concert with one of my best friends Polly, but I know that the whole time I’ll be thinking about the wedding I was supposed to go to with Fred. I’ll be thinking about how much I love his family, how dressed up I wanted to get so he could dance with me and I could pretend he was mine. I hate that I no longer get to be there to share in that special moment with all of those people I love. I’m ready to write off Fred, because he’s an ass that cheated and lied, but I can’t bear the thought of breaking up with his family. I thought they were only to be my family one day.

I hate not having one of my best friends around anymore. I hate that in moments of uncertainty I still want to call him and ask for his advice. I still want to tell him when I try something new, like a TV show or food or even a new song. I still feel myself miss his arms wrapped around me, and waking up to his breathing…even though I lost those things way before I found out he cheated. I had lost a lot of things already, but I hadn’t lost my best friend. He might have been a crappy partner, but he was a great best friend.

But we can’t be just friends. I’m not naïve enough to convince myself I can get over him if he visits my college town or texts me now and then. After a while I would get used to him caring, and that would probably be the precise moment he would stop. He’s hurt me so much already, there’s nothing left for him to love or hurt anymore.

And it’s all left me with this big mess of a life. Most things haven’t changed, but my relationships with other people definitely have. I don’t know what is right for me to do…I don’t know what is best for me. All I know is that as soon as I got off the phone with him after I told him I never wanted to see him again, I dove into my roommates arms and sobbed, “How am I ever going to trust anyone again?”

I don’t know what’s scarier, the fact that the person I believed was my soul mate cheated on me, or that I was foolish enough to ever think otherwise. The trust I lost in my own judgement is what keeps me up awake at night.

Self-Destructive, or Just My Life?

It seems like no matter what I do, I have this constant need to make things extra complicated for myself. I try to watch out, I try to tell myself: “Just let things be.” “Quit getting involved!” “Is this really worth it?” But somehow, my self-destructive side always comes back to bite me in the ass.

Let me just give you some real-life examples:

“Quit flirting with your ex-girlfriend.” I shouldn’t. I know I shouldn’t. We both need to let go of our feelings if we’re ever going to be legit friends. But she’s attractive. And I still love her. And when she texts me I still get excited. …..And if she offered to have sex with me for the rest of eternity I would graciously accept, haha.

“Don’t start dating anyone, or do anything even close to dating. I mean it.” And yet I made myself an Okcupid account. I figured I could meet some new people, maybe make a friend or two, and at the very least take pride in the fact that other people still find me attractive. I wasn’t supposed to meet up with someone right away. I wasn’t supposed to make out with them. But it was just making out, right? That’s no big deal; it’s not like I’m at all serious about them, or that they are serious about me. But still, I don’t want to do anything I’ll later regret.

“But seriously, figure out your shit with Fred.” Yeah, like that’s really going to happen any time soon. I need to be on my own for now (whatever that means), and he’s tangled up in a few friends-with-benefits situations. And honestly I think there are some sacrifices he’s not ready to make, so why should I sit and twiddle my thumbs, waiting for decisions he might never make? But I can’t help becoming involved.  I still love him too.

But, even though I’m not succeeding so far in those categories, I did have one triumph…

“Do not send your ex-boyfriend topless photos. Do not. Do not.” And I didn’t. Yesterday snap chatting lead to texting which lead to some deep, personal conversation. It was the first time I had heard from this guy in months (I forgot his alias on here…something with a J, but then again there were like three different J-names). And I don’t think he intended to take the conversation to topless town, but it went there nonetheless. “Go to bed and think about your girlfriend,” I told him. “Or look up some porn. Because no offense, but I’m more than my boobs. But no hard feelings—we’ll keep this between friends.” (And apparently everyone who reads my blog.) So I redeemed myself as a feminist and simultaneously proved myself to be a solid friend.

So I guess I’m still learning. At least some part of me knows when the things I’m doing aren’t necessarily the most logical…now I just have to consistently side with that part of myself when making my decisions.

I don’t know why that’s so hard for me…I wish I was a stronger person, a better person. Maybe it’s time to stop wishing that and start doing it.

The Single Plan

So, after two (almost three) years of a constant stream of relationships (mostly with Fred, but also some others while he and I were broken up) I am single. It’s the strangest feeling…I haven’t been single since I was 18. Seriously, the energy I spend people-pleasing will now all be spent on me, and what I want…and for once I’m not chasing anyone, I’m letting myself take a moment to breathe, before plunging back into the dating world.

My girlfriend and I broke up last night. It was very much mutual; for about a month or so we both were considering it, but last night she finally put the words out into the open. (The plan was to break up fab32dbae7083ba1143c03bfcd584d61Friday and simultaneously move out, but this worked too.) Anyway, it was very straightforward at first, and then she left the room and started packing her things. And she was PISSED. But we didn’t fight, I just kind of hid in the room until she came back. We talked, we were calm, and we said all the things we couldn’t the past month. It boils down to three facts: our communication skills sucked, we weren’t happy anymore, and we just aren’t that compatible. The biggest takeaway for me is that a) I need to speak my mind more often, and b) even though you love someone, and want to be the right person for them, sometimes it’s just not meant to be. So we ended on a good note, by the time I left this morning we were joking and kind to each other, our parting words being: “Goodbye, gorgeous.” “Goodbye, handsome.” And just like that, I walked out the door into my new, single life.

Not that this makes everything in my life simple. Nah, I may have just finally unloaded the guilt stacking on my shoulders this past month, but c’mon people, this is ME we’re talking about. So naturally, last night while we were talking and finally coming clean to each other, finally being ourselves free of any expectations, we totally had break up sex. And then we fell asleep together, and woke up this morning and had more sex. What can I say? Just because we are broken up doesn’t mean I don’t still think she’s hot, or that we are suddenly bad at sex together. Nope, it’s like we picked up right where we left off back in May, back when we were happy. And then we discussed possible friends-with-benefits arrangements. I don’t know if we will still hook up or become friends or become strangers, but I do know that I will always care about her. So I’m happy where things left off.

As for my new single life, the plan is to stay single for a while. I need to gather up the pieces of myself and try putting myself back together, into an even better version of myself than I was before all of this. So on Friday I’m moving out, spending the weekend home, and then moving into someplace else on Sunday night. I’m going to find myself, gain back my confidence, and take charge of my life. That’s the plan.

Let’s hope everything unfolds as it should.

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