Thought Catalog

What On-Again-Off-Again Relationships Teach You About Love

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I met him when I was 14, and soon barked up a tree of amateur love. We loved like any other teenager would, through hours of late night (prohibited) phone calls, little to no physical affection and a lot of gazing.

We broke up shortly after because that’s just what happens. It was my call for whatever natural pubescent reasoning I might have had, and as naive as I was (and sometimes still am), his little 16-year-old heart, tugged along with mine — would never be the same again.

It was the kind of juvenile love that resonated in me but I could never explain why. I would repress these feelings because of how relentlessly you’re told by your elders how “You’re too young to know what love is,” and “Don’t be foolish, you have your whole life ahead of you”.

So naturally, I believed them.

After the called-for breakup, we kept minimal contact and really only casually saw each other maybe once or twice over a 4 year time span.

The summer of 2010, I ran into him unexpectedly at a nightclub (that I was definitely not old enough to be in yet) and get ready for it… fell for him.

I know what you’re thinking: with all the blinding lights and boisterous music, romance was just beaming out of my ears.

— Yeah, no.

When I say, “fell for him“ I don’t mean it in a “love at first sight“ or “let’s go elope, have a bunch of babies and pretend to like each other after the 1 year mark”.

I mean, I actually physically fell. On my face. 

The shocking, yet comforting sight of him filled with me such joy and retrospect. So as I stood to walk towards him, preparing to cue my charm onto full-throttle, I took one too many steps — and shamefully, got very much acquainted with the sticky, whiskey-stench floor.

He reacted right away and helped my pathetic, clumsy self up. We then, quickly inverted into a bash of laughs that is ongoing, to this day. Somehow, we still ended the night with our lips perked and pressed.

That evening marked the beginning of a prolonged relationship that has conflicted me in the most amiable yet perplexing way. 

Now forwarding through the ever-so tragic prologue and mushy details, we did fall in love (thankfully, no actual falling this time) and at another moment’s notice, decided to move in together right around my 18th birthday. And boy, was that an experience.

We were pretty much a regular young couple, for the most part. We rarely ever argued because he was always submissive to my rather strong-willed personality and self-proclaimed myth of “never, ever being wrong“ —- Only until my sanity relapses and self-realization occurs. But when we did both mutually argue, they were never-ending and significant in weakening our epic love. They almost always consisted of me being reluctant to live out my youth and him struggling to keep a balance between keeping me close to his heart and being a 21-year-old, ready-to-deterioate-his-liver average guy.

This might seem like a pretty cliché case in point of how most young, yet serious relationships play out; where youth ultimately becomes the deal breaker. Maybe that was the case, maybe it wasn’t. But what I do know with certainty, is that in the 3 years we shared together we dealt and struggled with sophisticated issues that were not fitting, considering our mild lack of life’s lemons and maturity — causing me to inevitably make a long noted decision to part, in the hopes that we would grow as individuals first and then perhaps (eventually), evolve into one again. 

We aired each other out as a year apart sped through, keeping our love at a distance and our shatterproof friendship at a thriving peak. But, when the time finally came for one of us to make the necessary step to move on, I fell short. 

Letting him go was part of the plan. I was thoroughly enjoying the time I spent single; I was getting to know myself in all different elements. But, I wasn’t sure if I necessarily liked the person I had become, without him. I was deceiving, manipulative, and well, a bitch.

And isn’t the whole point or gist of loving, just instinctively being the best possible version of yourselves? You better each other with no status quo or conscious of doing so. It just happens, the way love intends. 

So you see, what I have finally acknowledged is that they don’t call it epic because it is meant to be overlooked or repressed — no. They call it an epic love because no matter how you try to dissect the reasoning behind why you can’t be with this person, whether it be for the time being or never, no explanation or logic will let you consign to any oblivion of what is so easily embraced by your mind, and more importantly, your heart. 

Some habits and mistakes are indeed better off dead; especially those that come with new wounds, that almost always come in the same shape and colors as old ones. However, I do believe there are some things we just need to learn over, and over, and over again.

That’s the only way we can someday, wisely mediate and differentiate what’s really right — or, what’s really wrong.

I can now finally and assertively determine that what he and I have is really… right.  

So, although our ‘happily ever after’ doesn’t fall under a cookie-cutter Walt Disney-themed ending, we make do with our firm grip to hope and ever-so strong will, that our partnership will thrive above all else — because at the end of those emerging credits, that’s what we will always truly have.

Here’s to third time’s the charm. TC mark

featured image – Shutterstock

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