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Hard Line to Walk
I am the worst person in the world to ask love advice from, which is probably a problem, seeing as I am the ‘go-to’ girl in my group of friends, and most of their questions are, inevitably, about either boys, or parents (More of the former than the latter).
No, it is not because I have no experience in the subject—I have had five boyfriends, to date, and all over the spectrum, at that. I have dated local, long distance and online. I have had my first date and first kiss. Suffice to say, I know what I am doing. Experience is not my problem; paranoia is.
My first boyfriend was a sixteen-year old that suffered heavily from depression and an attention complex, with a gift for words and twisting your own mind against you. At the age of fourteen, he placed so much stress on my shoulders that I developed insomnia and anorexia, my slender frame of one hundred and fifteen pounds plummeting to a meager ninety-six over two or three months. My friends, scared for my health (And rightly so) forced me to break up with him and set about nursing me to health. However, naïvely believing that he was ‘the one’, I drove myself into depression which I hid, quite carefully, from friends that I could not bring myself to trust just then.
Still shaky and recovering, I drove myself into the arms of my second boyfriend. In short, he wanted nothing more than in my pants. The relationship lasted only a month, and I, stupidly convinced by my first ex that I was to blame for the break-up, lapsed back into depression and self-loathing. On hindsight, this is all incredibly dramatic. I cannot say I was seeking attention, though—most of my friends and family do not know to this day that I was suffering.
Friends pulled me out of my dark hole. I attempted to go out with another boy, but we broke up after two weeks, due to distance and my own misgivings about my feelings. Since it ended well, I was feeling a bit better, and more up to tackling a bigger problem.
My best friend of two years had started to go out with a girl friend of mine—two days before I had intended to tell him that I developed a crush on him. Struggling with my feelings for a month, I finally blurted the whole thing out to him and his girlfriend, only to find out (the hard way) that he liked me as well. After a number of confrontations with him and his girlfriend, she cheated on him (with MY prom date) and they broke up. He instantly came to me.
Perhaps that was when I discovered that he was a verbally abusive control freak.
The relationship lasted through six months of his continually becoming more possessive, less caring, more degrading verbally, and more controlling, until I (afraid, by this point) broke it off. He proceeded to cut me off from his life entirely, a sad end for a couple who were once best friends.
Needless to say, at this point I was highly wary of boys and their troubles. I began to notice ‘red flags’ in others—little things guys would say and do towards my friends. Often it was unconscious, in their defense, but my paranoia was well set at this point. I swore off boys for at least a year, remembering the drama that I had caused with my first four boys as a silly, over-emotional little girl. I did date around a bit, but nothing stuck—I was keyed in to little things at this point, little ‘red flags’ of behavior (Whether I was justified or not, I have yet to see). Even though, at this point, I knew better than to hang over what mistakes I had made in the past, previous relationships made a large effect on my entire life—even in schoolwork. I was sort of still recovering from my errors when I ran across another guy.
His name was Zachery, and he was a freakishly tall, long-haired, blue eyed, laughing goofball of a boy that loved video games and dirty jokes. I met him while hanging out at a friend’s house, and I was instantly smitten, much to my despair. It took me two weeks to begin to trust him, and by that time, he had already gone back to Idaho to start the school year. I did not want to get into another relationship, especially not a long distance one. Never mind the fact that I had just gotten over four failures.
Somehow it worked out. We began dating the first of September, and we are still together. Yes, I still watch for those little red flags, and sometimes I have false alarms, but he is patient—unlike the others. He understands, having had some pretty bad relationships himself. Right now, I am as close to happy and satisfied with my life as I have ever been.
Perhaps it just took me a while to find a good person. Or maybe I just have bad taste in guys. I still occasionally suffer from a lapse in self-esteem, and yes, sometimes I still fall into depression (Not from the first relationship anymore), but whenever I do, I wake up before school to a phone call—despite the three hour time difference—from my boyfriend, saying he believes in me. It means the world to me.
So, no, I will not give you advice on guys. I cannot, honestly. Look at my past taste. All I can tell you is, if it does not work out, pick yourself back up again. And again, and again. No one finds their soul mate during high school. Shy away from that L-O-V-E word. Do not rush into it. And do not make excuses for someone else’s behavior—if the guy acted like a jerk, chances are, he is (No, it does not matter how cute he is!). And if you come out of it battered, do not, for the love of everything good, fall into a depression. You will spend time and energy over something that, in the end, will mean nothing to you.
But never stop believing in love. It is out there. You just have to find it. It might take a while, but, no pain, no gain. Maybe you will wind up with a video-game loving goofball of your own.