During high school, I had friends who went through boyfriend after boyfriend, and I had others who had one stable guy (and some are still dating to this day, three/four years later and I applaud them for that). While they weren’t always consistent, I was: no boyfriend. Ever.
Of course I had crushes on guys, but none of them were mutual, and most of the time I ended up making a fool out of myself. I always wondered if there was something wrong with me or if there was something I wasn’t doing right. Anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely into sports (I even managed my high school’s baseball team my junior and senior years), and there’s the saying that guys love girls who love sports. So that means I should have a loooong line of guys for my choosing just waiting for me.
Nope. No line. Nada. Zip. Not even one guy.
When I managed, the boys saw me more as a sister than dateable or a potential girlfriend (that didn’t stop me from liking three of them, but nothing ever happened). As I reached my senior year, I began to realize that I just didn’t see any guy that I could possibly date in my school. The good ones were taken, and I wasn’t interested in the other 70%. I continuously told myself that there wasn’t anything wrong with me, that I would find someone, maybe in college that fall.
Well, actually kinda.
The transition from high school to college can be tough, and even though I commuted, I still had some trouble. I made a few friends here and there, but for a school with a ratio of guys/girls being 60/40, you’d think it’d be a little easier to find a guy. I knew going into college I’d probably be pretty low on the “experience scale” (actually, rock bottom): never had a boyfriend, never been on a date, never been kissed, never really even “talked” to a guy for a long period of time.
That all changed in February.
Well, almost all changed.
I went on my first date in March of last year at age 18 with a guy I know from high school and goes to the same college as me. He’s a year older than me, and we had been talking for little over a month and would continue to talk basically every day for another month. We saw Silver Linings Playbook four months after it originally came out (he loves Jennifer Lawrence and I love Bradley Cooper). He held my hand for more than half the movie and hugged me after he walked me to my car. During the couple weeks after the movie date, we hung out twice in his suite, cuddling on his bed and watching baseball games (those were mostly my doing, and he was good about watching them because he knew I wanted to). He and I never kissed, and I’m not really sure why, because I would have been okay with it and would have finally gotten my first one out of the way.
He ended things in the beginning of May, saying that he didn’t want to lead me on if I was expecting more than friendship (I would later find out that he still wasn’t sure if he wanted a relationship). And I was upset. I had assumed we’d get together once we were done with the semester and have four months of summer ahead of us. I was planning on living on campus that fall instead of commuting, and we were going to be living just down the street from each other.
But now that was all gone, and there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t text him back for almost two days, and when I finally did, we decided we’d still be friends, which I was okay with. He texted me “Happy Birthday” three weeks later, and we’d Snapchat and text every couple weeks, and things seemed to be going fine. It was nice to catch up with him and see how his internship was going and I could complain about my work and we’d talk about getting ready to move back to school in August.
When we ended up going back, he and I had ups and downs… well a lot more downs than ups. There were mixed signals and misunderstandings and a (slightly) drunk hour and a half heart-to-heart in October that I thought was going to fix everything, but it never really did. I mean, there were a couple good times where we could hang out and be normal friends (like watching Red Sox games or going to Saturday football games at school), but something always came along to screw it up.
He and I aren’t exactly talking right now (we haven’t had a conversation since the middle of November), and I don’t really know what we are. There’s never been a good line of communication between us, and towards the end of the semester, it turned into fights and me not talking to him for two weeks until I caved and said I wanted to be friends again. Maybe we just want different things, or maybe he’ll just never really know what he wants. I would have done anything for him (within reason, but you know what I mean), and sometimes I’m not sure if I would receive the same treatment. To be honest, I miss having him as a friend and talking about classes and our families and work and sports. But maybe for now this is what’s best for us, and who knows what can happen down the road.
He was a lot of firsts for me: my first date, the first guy to hold my hand, the first guy I’ve cuddled with, the first guy that’s wanted to date me, the first guy I could truly see myself dating, the first guy to tell me I’m pretty, and the first guy to break my heart. We never dated, and I didn’t love him, but I do consider him my first heart break. After the initial break in May, my heart continued to slowly shatter every time he made me think I had a chance or led me on, especially in the fall. But I think that we all need that person who will own some of our “firsts” and you may never forget him/her.
Although nothing extraordinary happened between us, I’ll always remember what movie we saw (and how it took me 45 minutes into the movie to realize he wanted to hold my hand), the late night texting where I learned little random things about him, his roommates blaring music in the common area while we were in his bedroom the first time we hung out (I still deal with harassment from some of them to this day that I’m told “is all out of love”), and how the September night that he kinda-sorta stayed over it felt so normal to be laying in my bed with his arm around me.
So here I am, back at square one, still trying to pick up the pieces from last year. I’m not going to lie and say I’ve moved on, because I haven’t. Just because we never actually dated doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. Because it doesn’t. One important thing I’ve learned is that you can’t force yourself to do something your heart isn’t ready for. It’s been ten months of replaying memories and wondering if I had done something different how things would be now. But I know I can’t keep torturing myself like that. I did all I could and tried so hard to make everything work, but it just wasn’t worth it if I was the only one putting in effort.
The things that followed that text in May taught me many lessons about myself, and so what if it took me eight months to realize things that everyone may have saw over the summer. It’s just the way I heal, and it’s not something I can speed up. We can’t have control over everything (or someone else), no matter how hard we try, and that’s just something we have to accept.
I was able to dip my toe into the dating pool, and I was able to move up a little on the “experience scale.” But I’m hoping to just focus on myself for now, because it’s something I never really do. We need to be able to love ourselves first, even with all of our flaws and quirks, before we can love someone else.
So instead, I’ve taken up writing more lately (mostly to try to help me get over this last year) and binge watching Duck Dynasty over winter break. I still watch a lot of sports, which will never change, and I’m patiently waiting for baseball to start again. My friend and I also started our own “Lonely Hearts Club” for this semester that consists of us complaining about how single we are and how much ice cream we consume when we eat our feelings. And I think things will be okay.
I’m probably the worst person to take guy advice from because, well, lack of experience, but, hey, I try my best with giving relationship advice. Another important thing I’ve learned is that I can’t compare myself with others. I didn’t have a boyfriend in high school, but it could have been because the right guy for me just wasn’t within those four walls. I almost dated someone in college, so I look at it as a start for me. We all have different paths laid out for us, and maybe I just haven’t arrived to the bridge where I’ll cross over into “Boyfriend Land.”
You may not be happy with your current “single” status, but just know that better things are coming your way. So you might as well continue to be in love with that TV character or movie actor, or if you’re me, a professional baseball player. They’ll never break your heart, and you can make up as many impossible scenarios as you want.