I was a fair bit behind my time in high school when it came to boys. My friends all lost their virginity before me, and dated seriously before me. I guess I mostly wanted friends and to play soccer and sing in choir, and read too many books. I have always been a true introvert. I find large groups to be tiring, and have to spend time recovering from things like parties. I am quite shy, though I hide it by being abrasive and loud, and at a party (if I have a had a few drinks) will try to be the center of attention. I am also a total softy. Like cry during songs and movies (please don’t tell people I still cry at the movie The Lake House like I did when I saw it in the theater, ugly cry…) This set me up to be quite the target for people who knew they could take advantage.
My first boyfriend wasn’t like this, and honestly was probably the most real of my teenage relationships that I ever had. I was quite young, but he got to know the person behind the wall of overly aggressive me, that I used to cover crippling shyness me. He had to move 2000 miles away and I must say that at that age long distance doesn’t work no matter how much first love wants it to.
My second longest relationship was to someone who took complete advantage of me. It took me YEARS after the breakup to realize how emotionally abusive and horrible he was to me. I always wanted to HELP him. If I could pay off his dealer he would get clean right? If I could pay his rent he would love me more wouldn’t he? If I let him drive my car he would finally understand my value as a person, he would have to! Yikes. Honestly even thinking about this is cringe city.
Don’t think I don’t take the blame for this as well, believe me I know my faults. I thought people were only supposed to be in your life for a few years, then everyone moved on (military brat syndrome,) I was majorly depressed even when these things were going on as well, so it becomes hard to see where bad ends and okay begins. Add to that the horrifying self-esteem issues and you get what is basically a recipe for dating disaster.
As an adult I am much more sure of what I want, who I want, and things I will NOT compromise on. At 16 I thought I knew everything. At 30 I know that I know just about nothing, but I learn new things every day! I wake up in the morning hopeful, and that is a huge change.
There may be a lot of people who didn’t end up the one, but I sure as heck know what I want!