So I had a really good Dear Sara question come in the other day and I decided that I would share it with you. And my response, of course.
What was your first love like? Why did you break up? I'm in high school, and I've been dating the same guy for my entire senior year and it just feels... like it's done? But I don't know if it really is or if I should just try harder. I don't even know if I really love him, but I think I do. I also don't want to hurt his feelings and I feel like I would and then it would just be weird the rest of the year until May when we're done. So, should I wait until then, or just not?
First off, a good life lesson is that when it feels done? It is probably long past done. I'll tell you about my first love and what I learned about myself during that time.
I met my first boyfriend at my very first job. I was 17 and by then I so desperately wanted a boyfriend. I hadn't even kissed a boy yet and it was awful. But J was older than me, wasn't boy next door good looking, had kind of a reputation for being a partier and was hilarious. I absolutely loved working with him and I looked forward to the schedule coming out so I knew which days we'd work together.
Eventually one night we closed together and right before my dad picked me up, J handed me a note that basically said he liked me (swoon) and wanted to go on a date. At the time, I didn't realize how totally balls-less that was but I was more impressed because it was kind of romantic. I'm pretty sure my dad knew the gig but thankfully never said a word about it. So J and I did go on a date, which consisted of us going out to eat, I think. It was kind of great. Even though I had to drive and I think I even paid? I don't remember.
I do remember that we didn't even kiss for like two weeks. I was terrified. Totally terrified. And it was awkward but awesome, on a park bench. From then, I basically couldn't get enough of him. We hung out all of the time and he made me feel like I was an adult. I was totally naive, and inexperienced, and it didn't matter because he made me feel like I was a total princess.
Fast forward a few months and we were engaged. Folks, I KNOW. I know how incredibly dumb that is in retrospect, but believe me- I thought I was bad ass for walking into my senior year of high school already engaged. I had bridal magazines in my back pack and I actually had a ring. It was amazing. I really felt like J and I were going to make a future together. He was romantic, he really loved me, he treated me really well, I got love letters and presents and everything was what I thought it would be.
Then one day in October he told me that we're engaged, and we know we're going to be together... we should just have sex. And at the time, I kind of bought it. I mean, it made sense. I wanted to wait until I got married to have sex and I really thought I was going to marry J. I should just include here that my parents really didn't like him. They had no idea I was already engaged at this point because quite frankly, I was scared to say anything. But back to October. I totally fell for his line and gave away my virginity. Right then and there.
Afterwards? I felt dirty. I felt used. It wasn't romantic and I was so confused. I thought that it was supposed to be special and landmark moment in a person's life and it wasn't. It wasn't anything. It was basically and in/out thing and that was it. And because it didn't feel like anything I never enjoyed it because I didn't realize that you could. To be completely honest, I had no idea what the big deal about it was.
When I turned 18 that following March I decided I had to tell my parents about my engagement. I was terrified. It should have been a clue that J didn't want to tell my parents with me. He left me to do it on my own. And I remember clearly my dad having a total look of disbelief on his face and him asking me where the fuck J was and my mom crying. Crying HARD and I felt like shit. It wasn't a happy moment and I remember feeling like I was a huge disappointment.
Then I graduated high school. J didn't want me to go to the all night party because he said it was stupid and a total waste of time. He couldn't go obviously and so he felt like I was passing him up for my friends. So I didn't go. And to this day- I regret it.
In the fall I started college and I had three jobs. I didn't have a ton of time for friends so I didn't have any. J convinced me all I really needed was him. And if I really loved him, I wouldn't need anyone else. So I believed him. I worked, I went to school, and I was with him. He wasn't super supportive of me going to school and I didn't know why but I didn't care. I knew no matter what I was going to graduate college.
Fast forward to my second year of school. We decided that it was time to move in together. We moved into this really horrible, ghetto, expensive apartment. Some day I'll do a post on how shitty that apartment was because it was pretty memorable. I also know that we broke up with a few weeks of moving in together. A lot of things culminated at once and I don't know if it was any one thing that made it a done deal or if it was a culmination of a lot of things that I had been feeling for awhile.
I found out J was basically a chronic liar. I loved him a lot and I put a lot of faith in what he told me but it turned out he had been lying the entire time. I had met a girl who started laughing when I told her I was engaged to J. Turns out, she was too. And at least one other girl he dated. To say I was crushed was an understatement. Then I found out he didn't have a job like he said he did and he hadn't in years. I was so angry I could barely breathe. About the same time that all of this was happening I realized I wanted friends. I wanted to go out and do stuff you do when you're 19. And dumb.
Also around that same time I found myself crushing on my boss at my new job. Which totally was epic FAIL on so many levels, but I knew at that moment, things with J were done. My first love was done. And I was sad. I really felt like a failure and now when I think of that I laugh. I went home that night and broke up with J and decided that I had to find something else for me. J was upset. I was upset. I think he felt like I betrayed him but I know I did the best I could. I never cheated on him but I remember telling him that I wanted to date other people. I was finally figuring out that I can't possibly know if what I have is what I really want the rest of my life if I have nothing to compare it to. He didn't understand that and I feel bad that we left on bad terms. I moved back home on Thanksgiving Day and I cried for an entire month. I also ended up dating my boss for two weeks and quitting my job. I was having a hard time in school and basically everything was going to hell.
I spent all of December crying in my bedroom at my mom's house, doing homework, and working my part time job barely making it. I also shopped like nobody else ever did and it was that time in my life that screwed me. Even now, when I am sad or depressed? I shop even when I can't afford it. It's bad.
But in January, Matt asked me out on a date. I was skeptical. But I hadn't left my mom's house in a month so figured why not? And the rest? Is history. Matt was the fireworks, the butterflies, the sun and the moon. He was everything J wasn't and I knew right then that Matt was it. I didn't need any other guy, I knew Matt was THE guy for me. He was honest, he had a job, he loved me, he encouraged me in everything, and he just did everything he could to make me happy.
So the bottom line? When something is done, you need to be honest with yourself and the guy. It's OK for him to be hurt for awhile and you will too. But you don't know what opportunities you are going to miss sticking around waiting for a good time. There is never a good time to break up with a person. And you know what? If you aren't getting what you need out of a relationship, you have to move on. And you'll be fine. No matter what. Better things come around and always when you least expect it.