I was always one of those girls who had a boyfriend. I’m not talking T-Swift style; my flings totally lasted longer than 2 months. I mean I had long-term boyfriends and it started in the 5th grade. At first I wore my relationships like a badge of honor but after a while I started to realize that I didn’t know how to be single. After each break up, I always told myself that I didn’t need another boyfriend but sure enough another guy would roll around and sweep me off of my feet… okay so I was a little like T-Swift.
Now that I am married and in a forever relationship, I look back at those non-T-Swift-totally-meaningful-relationships and saw what I was trying to hide all along.
I was afraid of being alone.
By now you know most of my story. I had a pretty messed up childhood and it totally changed my outlook on life. My dysfunctional childhood lite a fire underneath me to go after my hopes and dreams and I am still going strong at 28 years old. Hell yeah I’m a totally #GirlBoss.
What most of you don’t know is that I really struggled with relationships because of my past. No, I wasn’t bad at relationships. In fact, I was really good at them; I was scary good at being a girlfriend.
I was so afraid of being alone that I mastered the art of keeping a boyfriend. If you ask any of my high school friends, they will totally vouch for me on this one. With each new relationship I changed into what my current boyfriend was in to. I have dated football players, golfers, wrestlers, hockey players, musician’s, accountants, frat boys, cow boys…. You can imagine how my interests got confusing. I just want to bring back the point that these were not just 2-month flings. I dated guys for years at a time and I was totally invested in them.
Looking back I see that I simply wanted to be wanted. There was a time when I didn’t think my parents wanted me. (Totally not true by the way, they fought hard to keep me. I know that now.) The uncertainties of my childhood made me long for consistency in relationships. I wanted something meaningful that I could count on. I needed someone who supported me and was there for me when I needed him most. I wanted to feel loved and that I served a purpose in someone else’s life. Having a boyfriend gave me all of the above, even if I fabricated who I really was. It was a short-term fix until I couldn’t keep up with the gig. That’s when I knew a break up was approaching.
My last breakup was without a doubt the hardest. I met Drew at a frat party freshman year of college. I didn’t want to jump into a new relationship but.. OH someone shiny and new! Drew was different than anyone I had ever met. He was bold and certain of what he wanted in life. He didn’t care what other people thought of him and he was an “ass hole.” Seriously, thats how he introduced himself to me…
I dated Drew all 4 years of my college career. We had some amazing adventures together and I totally thought he was the one. As graduation drew closer and closer, I had to make some serious decisions on life after college. I wanted to move back home, take the internship at the radio station, and win Miss Indiana. However, Drew wanted me to get a 9-5 in Grand Rapids with him. He claimed that I wouldn’t make enough money as a radio DJ and being Miss Indiana was not a real job.
That was my breaking point.
When I had to ask myself what I really wanted I didn’t know how to answer. I spent my whole life trying to make other people happy; I didn’t stop to think if what I wanted was important.
The last month of college was rough. Final exams and goodbyes are never a good combo. I put distance between Drew and I so I could take a good look at my future. I blamed it on my schedule but I needed to clear a path for myself that didn’t have a boy standing in the middle of it. We graduated and moved back to our respective homes. I took that internship at the radio station and we slowly grew apart. I was uncertain about being alone and I was scared to death. Drew was supposed to be the one, it just made sense. You date someone for 4 years and then you get married. Right?
I am here to tell you that you don’t need a man or woman to tell you that you are good enough. Each of my relationships served as a crutch in life. I made sure that I always had someone to lean on when times got tough. While my friends were making their dreams happen, I got lost in the pursuit of a relationship. I didn’t know who I was or what I wanted.
For those of you who are graduating or simply moving on to the next phase of your life, I want you to step back and take a look. Are you living your life for you or for someone else? Life is too short to live with regret so I beg of you to not get lost in someone else’s dream.