5 Things I Learned After Having My First Relationship At 26

1. Your inexperience doesn’t matter as much as you think it does.

When I say firsts, I mean first everything. First kiss. First date. First time I had talked to a member of the opposite sex on the phone. First sexual anything. First really touching someone else point blank. So, what did I do when this great guy asked me about my past relationships?

I lied.

I told him had many relationships, but that I had dated before. I was ashamed and naturally assumed that he would be as well. And in my hubris, I just automatically thought that I could fake it.

Outcome: You cannot fake physical intimacy. The moment he kissed me I pulled away like I had been shot. Then we kept trying, but all I could think was “This is fucking awful. How does anyone procreate because this crap is horrible? Disney has LIED to me!”

And as far as my “acting” was concerned, once I eventually told him the truth that he was the first for everything, all he said was, “I know.” He could tell right away, he said, that he had known that he had been my first kiss. Did I feel stupid? Yes. Was I completely honest with him after that? Yes. Was our second bout of kissing better? Heck yes.

Your experience doesn’t matter half as much as your willingness to learn and engage with other people does.

2. There is no more I, only we.

A few weeks into our relationship I mentioned something about maybe possibly going kayaking. There’s this little place near my house and I genuinely was just thinking about checking it out. Little did I know my little thought would turn into a thirty-minute discussion about why I hadn’t even mentioned him coming with me. I had no idea what he was getting upset about. And that’s because I wasn’t thinking like a “we”. I had been so used to doing things by myself, going to the movies, running errands, etc., that I never even considered that he would want to come with me. The idea of having someone actually want to spend time with me like that was insane to me. He said, “I want you to consider us as a team. Taking on the world, fighting bad guys.” It may have been a little dorky, but I liked it and I understood it. It should go without saying but relationships should be treated as an ongoing commitment and that means extending invitations and speaking like a “we” instead of a “me”. And even being able to casually mention the future and knowingly placing them in it is a super important thing many don’t often consider.

3. You do give up a lot of your time.

I never knew how much time and effort it took to carry on a conversation via text. I would be sitting in my car eating lunch and just shoving the food in my mouth as fast as I could so I could text him back. Nearly every waking hour was devoted to some form of communication whether texting, calling, or seeing one another. And for someone who has always enjoyed her alone time, the new edition to my life took time to adjust too. But it was definitely worth it.

4. Fantasy is not reality.

At points in our relationship, things were awkward. He tried to hold my hand on our first date and I pulled it away and exclaimed, “That feels weird” before just offering him my arm like I was about to have blood taken.

When I had envisioned being with someone before, things always went rather smoothly. My fantasy boyfriend always apologized and I could tell they meant it because it was my own subconscious. I always looked flawless in my dreams and there was no sea of spit running down my face after I satisfied one of my lovers with a blowjob.

In reality, you are two different people not one consciousness in control, and arguments and disagreements are a real thing that happen because not everyone communicates in exactly the same way.

And kissing or anything intimate is affected by the weather. How hot/cold is it? How does their breath smell after that Chinese? What I’m saying is that everything is different when it’s no longer just in your head.

I never knew that intense feelings of more and butterflies that you feel when someone you’re attracted to touches you. And that having someone else’s tongue in your mouth could feel so erotic. Some things you just don’t know, no matter how much you’ve thought about it or planned for it, until you actually experience it.

5. Breakups are the worst thing on the planet.

In my countless dreams and wonderings, I have been engaged to Dean Winchester, had a torrid love affair with four out of the five members of One Direction and had very, very dirty thoughts about Michael Fassbender. I’ve been engaged, had one night stands and elaborate wedding ceremonies, but I have never envisioned what it would be like to break up with someone.

In a relationship, you are essentially responsible for that person as far as their emotional well-being is concerned and you have to safeguard them as well as you can. And you never intend for it to happen. I certainly didn’t.

I really liked this guy. He was sweet and amazing and cute and we just clicked, but after a while, the sparks were gone. Previous arguments had made me feel distant and I started to pull away emotionally. I didn’t know that my emotional center and my ability to feel sexually charged with someone were so closely linked.

I had everything planned, had written out the texts in advance, praying that he wouldn’t want to talk because I couldn’t bear it. Of course, after the first text, he instantly called me. A phone call which will be burned in my memory for a while. I basically felt like I had wasted his time and mine. I hurt him because it seemed so sudden to him and I felt like I was the worst person on the planet. I was crying for days because I missed him. He had become my friend and I felt his loss in my life intently. But I wouldn’t change it.

I wouldn’t change the good or what I learned and no matter what I’d still stand by the decision to end things because I honestly believe that there are other people out there for the two of us to find. And before, where I always felt like I would be alone, I now feel like affection and love and desire are things that I’m going to be able to have again and experience in the future and that is the best feeling in the world. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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