When I was younger, around the age of 13, I thought I would never get a boyfriend.
At 13, every boy I had liked hadn’t liked me back. I was devastated. What was wrong with me? Was my hair too curly? Too frizzy? Was I still carrying too much puberty weight? Was it my acne? Did I smell? Was I not funny?
I’ll never know the answers to those questions, but what I do know now at 24 is that I’m glad I didn’t have a boyfriend at that age. I wouldn’t have been ready.
When I eventually did get my first boyfriend at 14 years old, I was still too young. I know I was too young because I focused too much on what it meant to have a boyfriend rather than how I was actually feeling about the situation.
I was so happy that someone who seemed popular and cute could possibly show any interest in me. It felt like a movie or a Taylor Swift song. I was over the moon. But, about a month in, it should have become clear to me that the boy, while seemingly great on paper, was not actually a good fit for me, and I was not ready for a boyfriend.
The first time he tried to kiss me, I expertly (awkwardly, more like) maneuvered my face away. At a school dance, I didn’t want to dance with him because I felt awkward. After more time passed, I started leaving my phone in other rooms so that I would have an excuse not to reply to his texts. I began to get embarrassed when he hung out with my friends because their senses of humor just didn’t match.
I even started crushing on other guys. At that point, I began to realize maybe this wasn’t what a relationship should feel like. But then I would talk myself out of it. After all, you can still find other people cute even though you’re in a relationship, right? The mature thing, I thought, would be to ignore it and stay with the guy I was with.
Sage advice from my 14-year-old self but not applicable to the situation. If you’re having more fun talking to another guy than your boyfriend (whom you’ve only been dating a month), and you’re embarrassed by things he says, and you actively avoid affection from him, then yes, in that case, you should break up. I thought I was being mature, but it was actually a sign of my immaturity that I ignored my feelings in order to keep the status of “in a relationship.”
After a while, I finally did break up with him, but we stayed in an “on-again, off-again” relationship for a while longer (due to my immaturity and people-pleasing nature) until he finally dumped me, ending the cycle. He finally saw what I had been seeing since the beginning. We were not a good fit for one another. Not at all.
And you know what was the most telling moment? It wasn’t my constant avoidance of his affection. It wasn’t my cringe when he told jokes to my friends. It was a moment we had on a date when he asked me one simple question: “What are you thinking about?”
We were sitting on a bench, looking out at some trees. I had been quiet. That day was actually one of the few happy days I had with him. Probably because we were doing something outdoorsy. I had a brief glimpse of what a good relationship should actually look like. I was reflecting on the joy I felt and how nice it was to be cared about by another human being (other than family members or friends).
But at that moment, I was having a rather random, silly thought. I was thinking about what we would do if a bear suddenly appeared and started climbing one of the trees near us. It was such a silly thing, but I remember I didn’t want to tell him that. It was too silly, too weird, too specific. He would think I was so odd.
“Nothing,” I said, instead.
Ladies, that silly, silly thought is the type of thing I would now get a kick out of sharing with my husband. That’s the exact type of silliness he would completely understand and relate to. Those are the types of ridiculous things half of our conversations are made up of.
That was when I knew my husband was the guy for me—when I realized those random thoughts were not only things I wouldn’t mind sharing with him but were the things I would go out of my way to share with him.
Don’t be so in love with the idea of love that you would settle for telling someone “nothing” because you’re too embarrassed to share your thoughts with him. Wait for that person who excites you to share your silliest thoughts with. Don’t waste your time, and don’t waste someone else’s. It’s not fair to either of you.
You both deserve so much more.