I didn’t know what love was and paid for it in the end…


Fresh out of high school, I was out in the world away from my parental controls (emphasis on the control) and was free to do whatever I wanted. In a whole new world of college life, I was swept up in the lure of being on my own with no one to tell me what to do.

As I started to spread my wings, I was introduced to many different people. I was not a social butterfly in high school, not taking date offers and not going to any school functions (except for my senior year). However, I quickly turned into a big flirt with the guys. I met the RA, he was in his third year of school and he started to introduce me to some of the students his age resulting in me dating one of them and so started the journey of thinking I was in love with someone.

We started off small by hanging out together with friends. Then it turned into hanging out alone in his dorm room.

This is when it turned toxic. I wanted to try a drink, he was 25 and I was 18 so I knew he could get me alcohol. My goal was not to take advantage of this fact, but more so I wanted to be “brave” and be more educated on the worldly things and since he was the oldest in the dorm and we were close, I thought why not. Still not the best reason, but I was a sheltered religious child who grew up knowing nothing.

When the night came, many of us got wasted and I was super drunk. I am a silly and flirty drunk I figured out. After a few hours of drinking, the night turned sour, I was hoping to sleep it off in my room, but I was locked in my friends room. He was making accusations of taking advantage of me that night and I had no idea. For reference, I am 4 inches taller and have 40lbs on the guy (don’t ask me where that attraction came from). So our friends came and got me, put me in bed and we didn’t see him for 3 days.

For some reason I still stuck around. We talked about that night and he said that he never did anything like that. I wanted to turn his depressing energy into Golden Retriever energy so I kept pursuing him.

Was this what I thought love was? Trying to help someone be better? Making myself feel like I was helping someone?

When I finally figured out what was so infuriating about him was that he didn’t want to be better, he wanted to sit in his misery and he never talked to me about the deep stuff. I was trying to penetrate a wall that was made of layers of cement.

All the talking he did was through text and then through deflecting.

I ended up reaching out to two guys and since I wasn’t feeling emotionally connected with my friend I had moments with them that would be considered cheating. They were platonic friends where we would get together and make out every once in awhile.

What I didn’t know as the naive idiot I was, was that this friend loved me for my energy, tried to tell me through his own ways of communication, but I was not in a place to say the same to him. Even though he felt those feelings, he never actually showed me through words or actions that he was in this, that he was ready to be with me. He just wanted to play and be something he wasn’t.

He ended up finding out about my indiscretion and we had a fight. Still wasn’t communicating with me through the whole thing, so I bolted. When we finally got together, we talked and decided to resume our relationship. We then had a lot of fun together. I was always at his apartment (I am shortening the story, but he graduated and moved out) getting drunk and sleeping it off in his silk sheets.

Then his old habits picked up. He would drink into a depression, would only text me when he wanted to talk. I was done with it. I am the type of person who needs to fight, needs communication, needs to be heard. He was the opposite of me. Opposites attract? Not like this.

We eventually called it quits and he spiraled even more. Right then I knew that I wasn’t the one for him and that what I felt, that high (metaphorically), that fun that we were having was not love. It was a toxic relationship where we weren’t building each other up, just living in a delusional drunk bubble.

This story could go on for at least a novella long. We had 2 years of crazy back and forth of dating, being friends, toxicity, fake happiness, and not talking for long periods of time.

He then betrayed me. He told my parents all the bad things I was up too and I cursed him. It happened when I was 20 years old. Last year, at the age of 28 the grudge I carried was lifted. I finally talked to him and it was the best thing ever. We got so much off our chests and realized we were both stupid young adults not knowing what love was and trying to change each other into people we weren’t. He is now with a lovely girl and has a daughter. I am now happily married with 2 kids of my own. He still struggles with his depression, but his girlfriend understands him better than I ever could and I grateful. I wanted him to find happiness with someone who could help him. It just wasn’t me.

Love isn’t trying to turn the other person into someone we want. It’s finding a person whose personality fits yours and you both challenge each other to become better through your own merit. Love takes work and it takes two to tango.

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