I’ve noticed relationships have a cycle. First is the Cupcake Phase, as I like to call it. This is the time when it’s so cute and the two of you are “soo totally n luv” and you do all the stereotypical relationship things that new couples do. People get way too much of it and are fighting the need to puke, just like eating cupcakes. Once that finally ends, there’s the stage of a relationship where the good stuff happens. You talk every day but not all day. You display affection in public, but you’ve learned to sense when people are starting to get nauseous. You’ve had the late night Life Talks more times than you care to admit, so you know virtually everything about the other person (or at least you think you do). It’s the truly happy and innocent phase, but sadly no one stays here.
At this point, it can go one of two ways—both equally terrifying. One scenario, you live happily ever after with your perfect match and together go on to do all the things you’ve always wanted to do. However, most couples don’t get this ending. Most relationships end. It sucks and it’s hard to face sometimes, but it’s the truth and the truth hurts.
Honestly, I have no idea how many relationships I have been in throughout my life. Definitely more than I can count or even attempt to begin counting. Some were good. Some were bad. Some were indescribably bad. Some made me wonder what I had done to deserve such harsh punishment. Each one was unique in its own special way, which makes sense since they were all with different people. The one thing they had in common is that they all ended.
The last relationship I was in lasted a little less than a year. We’ll call him John. I loved John, truly, deeply, miserably, and unconditionally. John met every expectation on my List of Requirements. (Literally, I had a list. Written on paper and everything.) I was just finishing my recovery from an emotionally damaging relationship going into this one, and honestly at first I wasn’t sure if I even wanted a relationship at that point. John broke my walls down and loved me as unconditionally as I did him. Our relationship was different in that we didn’t have a Cupcake Phase. We fought from the very beginning, but we would always stop and laugh at ourselves and everything was fine. He made me believe love still existed in a time in my life when I thought I was unlovable. I wanted nothing more than to be with him and only him for the rest of my life. The scary part? I wasn’t scared.
As time went on, it became routine. Love. Laugh. Fight. Laugh. Love. Repeat. Somehow, the romantic aspect dissipated and we ended it. The routine still existed, we were just more of best friends. I was fine with it. No one ever said the person I spent my life with had to be a romantic partner. But one day even that stopped. We didn’t talk simply because we didn’t have anything to say, and days turned into weeks, weeks into months, etc. The longer I thought about it, I wondered if that relationship was just a crutch to help me get over the last, and the last to get me over the previous, and so forth. I wondered if it was all a dream and that’s why I wasn’t upset about it ending. I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t care if I truly did love him, or why I ever loved him in the first place. After that, the relationship part of me shut down. It was definitely not voluntary, but it didn’t start to bother me for a long time.
Eventually, my mom began pressuring me to find a boyfriend (she wants grandbabies), and even asked me a few times if I even liked boys. Most of the time my answer was, “No, Mom. I don’t like boys. Or girls. I like math.” I wanted to like boys. I wanted to be in a relationship and make people throw up from watching us be disgusting. Obviously, I couldn’t do those things with Math. It was a never-ending cycle of wanting a relationship but being repulsed by the idea of letting someone ruin me even more. I had gotten used to going to the movies alone, eating alone, running errands alone, spending Saturday nights alone (with the exception of the pizza delivery guys that I have had lovely conversations with), you get it. I was perfectly content and miserable at the same time.
I started college as an Electrical Engineering major. Nearly every one of my classes were all boys, and I was 100% O.K. with that. I’ll be honest; I believe I got a touch of SPS (Sudden Princess Syndrome). At this point, I was sure I was ready for a relationship, but I still had the problem of making myself like people. I faked emotions and forced compliments and even went on a date with a lesbian (just to make sure I was on the track I needed to be on). I gave up again and decided for sure I was blessed with the gift of singleness.
And then I found him.
It happened both slowly and suddenly at the same time. My friend and I “adopted” him as our friend since he was from out of state and seemed to be having difficulties socializing. We had had a few awkward encounters in the laundry room in the first few weeks of school in which I tried to make small talk but left feeling sure he thought I was both creepy and annoying every time. I quickly learned he was a pretty cool dude, though. Actually, the more time I spent with him, the more I realized how much it felt like I was talking to the mirror. (I know because I am all too familiar with the feeling.)
I tried to fight it. I’m single. I’ll always be single. That’s just how my life is going to go and I’m fine with it. I need to stop hurting other people with my denial. Lucky for me, the more I fought it, the worse it got. I couldn’t understand how one person single-handedly flipped my world upside down in only two weeks. I couldn’t understand how another person had come up with so many of the same strange thoughts and theories as me. And I REALLY couldn’t understand how another person knew all the lyrics to the Lizzie McGuire Movie soundtrack.
I finally went absolutely insane and told him everything. For lack of a better description, it was a big pile of Word Vomit. He said he felt the same and that was it for the time being. I honestly expected (and wished for) the feels to go back where they came from after this, but of course they didn’t. So now I’m here.
If you haven’t guessed, this is my “Wonderful Relationship.” And I don’t use the word wonderful lightly. It is just that—full of wonder. We are so close to the same person, it’s creepy. We think the same things, we’re interested in the same things, we’re afraid of the same things, we just have one tiny difference—I’m his first girlfriend. First girlfriend, first date, first everything. Which does scare me to death, but that still isn’t even why I hate it.
I hate it because it’s confusing.
I hate it because only a few weeks ago I couldn’t even be attracted to anyone, and now this mess.
I hate it because it’s forcing me to open up after I’ve spent so much time closing off.
I hate it because it makes sense.
I hate it because I’m not in control.
I hate it because we both love the third person in our relationship, Math.
I hate it because I’m afraid of hurting him and that he will end up like me.
I hate it because the person I’ve spent so long creating—the loud but quiet, social but secluded, caring but careless girl who can’t be broken—is disappearing faster than I can control.
I hate it because he makes that girl seem like a silly naïve selfish idea.
I hate it because he controls me without even trying.
I hate it because I hate being alone, but alone is my comfort zone.
I hate it because it’s happening entirely too fast for my comfort (which I also have no control over, which—like I said—I hate.)
I hate it because I know it’s either going to end or it’s not.
I hate it because not even John could make me feel this terrified.
I hate it because it makes me feel weak and raw.
I hate it because he’s showing me that I’ve been wrong this whole time. That there is someone who can put up with me. That I’m stupid for trying so hard to find someone. That I’m stupid for trying so hard to fight it when I did find someone.
I hate it because I’m a woman and women hate being wrong.
I hate it because I love him.