Ariana Grande sang it perfectly, “One taught me love, One taught me patience, And one taught me pain.”
Mine won’t be in this order, but they are here.
Fun fact about me – I have only been in three real relationships my entire existence. And each one has taught me something about myself. So lets start in chronological order.
*DISCLAIMER- These are from my point of view and from how I felt. I am sure each individual has their side and their version of the story.
January 9th, 2009 is the official start date of my first ever relationship; although it was pretty much a thing before Christmas 2008. We were both Freshman in high school in two very different social groups. We were mostly together throughout high school but he broke up with me a few times and completely ended the relationship in June 2013. Almost four and a half years with this guy that I thought we would be together forever. The best way I can describe my feelings for him at the time was infatuated teenage love. When we were good, things were so amazing. Being 14 years old and thinking you have any idea of what real love could be, it’s ridiculous now that I look back at it. Of course at the time I wasn’t going to listen to my parents or anyone else, I thought I knew what I was talking about. After being broken up with multiple times so he could go “be” with other girls… some way younger than us. I still was there waiting for him to come back to me, because I knew he would. In my mind I thought we were meant to be together forever. HA! Throughout our high school career he had already cheated on me, and of course I took him back with open arms and a forgiving heart… I used to be a very forgiving person. I have since learned that it is okay to be forgiving, but at a certain point you have to take care of yourself and realize when a person is just toxic. When did I say enough is enough?? Well, I left our small town in Montana January 29th, 2013 to go Basic Military Training for the Air Force. I was gone, couldn’t use the phone often, but every chance I got I would call him, just to hear his voice. At this point in my life, he had been the one thing to be stable and consistent. Like I said earlier, when we were good, we were the best. I finished Basic April 5th, 2013. He was the only one who came down to see me in San Antonio. He was there to watch me accomplish my biggest accomplishment. We only had two days together before I had to go to Technical School for my job. Two months go by, we haven’t really talked much, me being busy with school and on a strict schedule, him… being busy with cheating on me once again. I came home the first week of June. At this point it had been almost 5 months since we have really been together, I was only home a couple days before a few of my friends had told me what happened. My thought process was so screwed up, too because I thought “wow, what did I do to make him cheat on me….” I WAS BLAMING MYSELF. Looking back on it I get so frustrated for being so weak and not realizing just how much is out there and this man was so not worth it. We had been through so much in the past four years it was like losing my best friend. At that point in my life he knew everything about me and more it seemed like. Not only was my first relationship officially ending, but I was losing my best friend. This is the relationship that taught me a lot, but mostly pain.
*Note – I don’t have any hard feelings towards him, we stayed friends for a couple years, but exes can’t be friends. Just doesn’t work.
November 2013 when my next relationship officially started, but really it was sometime in October. He was nothing like my past relationship. He was about his group of friends and me. I wasn’t worried about if I was going to get cheated on or anything. He was also in the military, so he knew what I was going through. I was in a spot in my life where I was discovering who I was without being attached to someone. I hung out with my two girlfriends and we had so much fun just us girls. Then one night my group of friends and his group of friends met and we all started to hang out. It wasn’t “love at first sight” it was more like, he kept bugging me and I finally gave him a chance and we clicked. He was the kind of guy who did the small stuff for me, like buy me chocolates or flowers. We didn’t get a lot of time to discover our relationship and where it would go. He got orders to Alaska in January 2014. We had a decision to make soon. We could either try long distance and hope that me staying in Idaho and him going to Alaska we could make it work. HA – like long distance works well – or we can get married. So thats what we did, we got married. Taking a leap of faith because we really did love each other and we worked well together. He proposed on Valentine’s Day with such a beautifully written poem and coordinated with one of my friends to take pictures of it. Of course my parents questioned whether or not this was a good decision to make that quickly, but ultimately they did supported my decision. We got married April 2nd, 2014, which by the way was less than six months of even knowing each other. Things were good for a while, then the small things started to become the big things that just seemed like I couldn’t handle them and I was doubting our love and marriage. Thankfully with some deep conversations and changing our ways we made it work. This was the beginning of 2015, not even a year of marriage. We had survived driving 3,000 miles in a small Jeep together, moving to Alaska and figuring out just how our relationship works. Well shortly after we figured out our marriage and what works and what doesn’t, we decided that we would try to have a baby. I always knew that I was meant to be a mom and couldn’t wait to have a little baby. Well, this wasn’t an easy journey and we had many struggles, after nearly 7 months of ACTIVELY trying – tracking ovulation, taking tests – we finally got pregnant. This was one of the hardest struggles that I had personally been through. But once again I was feeling like I was doing everything and this wasn’t an equal marriage and he had his priorities elsewhere. When we had Owen…. everything was perfect. He was a healthy baby boy and this little human just became the center of my life. He was now the only thing that truly mattered. I breast fed for almost 11 months and that was all on me. During that time I once again felt like I was the only one doing anything and no matter how much I “nagged” or therapy we went to it just wasn’t changing. I had ZERO patience left and this was starting to effect how I was as a mother and I was NOT okay with that. It took so much courage to tell this man that I couldn’t do it anymore… I felt so bad, I hated hurting him. It broke my heart that I couldn’t just “tough it out” so that our son wouldn’t have to grow up with a broken family. But thats not the case at all – as long as we have respect for one another, there will be nothing broken about this family. Towards the end of our marriage it was like having a roommate that I had to clean up afterwards and it was so frustrating. Fast forward a little, we got divorced and figured out our custody with Owen. We were civilized and realized it wasn’t about us at this point, it was about our son. It took some time, but I am so happy with how my relationship with him is. He is a great dad and Owen is so lucky to have him. Our Co-Parenting relationship is so much better than I could have ever hoped for, especially after moving from Alaska and living so far away from each other. This relationship taught me patience. I hope whoever you end up, that they have a lot of patience, because they will need it – also, go get a retainer so you can stop grinding your teeth.
Lastly, on to my final and current relationship. October 2017 is when I think we officially started dating? I don’t remember the exact date. We had known each other since 2015, but never really worked together or said more than small conversation. But in September 2017 we really started to hang out and went on a scary movie watching spree. Thanks for the nightmares. But after being cheated on multiple times as a teenager, to being divorced with a toddler, this was TERRIFYING. Dating was terrifying. I had been through so much at the age of 23, why put myself through another heart ache? And now I had to think about my son, too. Not to mention he had recently gotten out of a longer relationship and he is two years younger than me. That’s not a huge difference, but at the time he couldn’t even buy himself a beer at dinner. The more we hung out, the more I realized how much he was becoming my best friend and how quickly I trusted him. I couldn’t keep looking at the past and holding back because of it. It took a couple months before he met Owen, but when he did, it was clear that Owen adored him very much. He is so good to Owen as well. Owen is such a lucky kid to have so many people in his life that love him. Over a year later, I can very much say that he has taught me love.
Over the years I have learned a lot. I have learned that you don’t have to share any of your personal life to anyone. I share some special moments now, but not all. I try to spend more time in the moment, for my son and for him. Everything doesn’t need to be shared on social media and sometimes thats best.
To anyone who is in a relationship where they don’t feel its working for whatever reason, have the courage to leave. Have the self love and respect to do it for yourself and your own health (and mental health). There are times when you need to be selfish and if you feel like you aren’t being the best you possibly can be because of a relationship, change that. If this is you and you need someone to talk to please reach out to me and I’ll be here to just listen if that’s what you need, or if you want some advice.