The Journey To My First Adult Relationship

I’ve been single since I could remember. After my first real relationship crumbled at 18, I’ve never been in a committed relationship since. I’ve been in pseudo relationships, you know, the ones where you’re together, but not really together. I’ve also been in the fill the void relationship, where you’re together but nothing about this union is representative of a real relationship. Before I knew it, I was 25, single, mingling but disappointed with the prospects, celibate and annoyed with my spinsterhood.

Reality hit me after I came back from Europe. I had an amazing experience and wanted nothing more than to talk to someone other than my friends and family about it. I yearned for a male’s voice in my ears; late-night conversations as I reminisced about the food in Venice and the beaches of Spain. I had no one to call because I pushed all-male companionship out of my life in an effort to get closer to God. I began to talk to my fill the void guy, but soon realized he still wasn’t ready for something serious; he got older, but his games were the same.

A few months later, I attended my friend’s wedding in the Bahamas. It was a blast. We had so much fun and I even met a really cute guy, whom I later found out had a girlfriend (bummer), but I thought I liked him so much. Now, using hindsight I question did I really like him or was my infatuation out of pure desperation?

The Bahamas allowed me to reflect on my love life tremendously. While on the trip, I got some free time to call my fill the void guy, but he seemed so preoccupied, like he couldn’t be bothered. I wasn’t offended; I just knew that would be one of the last times we would talk. I watched two of my friends get married and I was so proud of them. They were adults, in an adult relationship and I was still chasing after the emotionally unavailable. I made a pact to myself, to continue down my path of singlehood. I was doing so well; maybe another year sans men would do the trick. Spinsterhood seemed far more gratifying than dealing with men as a whole.

A day after I returned from the Bahamas, I received a text from a guy that I promised a date night before I went on vacation.

Guy: Hey I haven’t heard from you but was wondering if we were still on for dinner tonight?

Shoot, I totally forgot, I thought. I picked up the phone and called him. I was sick of texting him anyway. How would I go on a date with someone and not once chat on the phone? Technology is the enemy.

Me: Hey, OMG, I’m so sorry I forgot about our dinner tonight. I didn’t want to text you so I decided to call you and really reschedule a time that we would both be available.

My pleas of forgiveness ultimately led to us speaking for about 3-hours. The connection was instant. He was unlike any other guy I’ve spoken to in a while. I was so excited. I know I swore off men but he was different. He made reservations for us to have brunch on Saturday and we talked every night leading up to our first date.

The first date was at Poco’s in the Lower Eastside. I was 2-hours late (major traffic into the city) but he was patient and waited for me until I came. He proved to be thoughtful, having a glass of Hennessey straight waiting for me. One of the first things I remember about him was that he grabbed my hand and held on tight until we got to the restaurant. The next date was a few days later at Spice. I believe it was at this time, I realized I had a thing for him. He was charming, thoughtful and looked at me with those piercing eyes as if he could read the insides of my soul. A few more dates ensued which led up to my favorite date at his house on a Saturday night. We ordered Italian take-out and ate in his living room, which he cleaned up for me because I told him I would love to hang out there. After dinner, we looked through an old record collection his mom passed on to him and listened to the sweet sounds of Jimi Hendrix and Boyz II Men. I found myself near tears, as I sat Indian style on his couch. As simple as it might seem, this was all I ever wanted from a relationship: companionship, commonalities, and someone who loved Boyz II Men as much as me.

One night, after our Scandal premiere party, we got into our first spat. He made an assumption that was totally wrong, and I was disappointed in him. Instead of our disagreement escalating, we talked it out like two-adults in an adult relationship. The irony was that we hadn’t talked about being in a relationship as yet. Once again, I was very impressed with his patience, his ability to admit his wrongs and his desire to make sure I was happy. He didn’t want us to go to bed with anything weighing heavy on our hearts. The next day I received the following text from him:

Guy: Should I ask or will you?

Me: Ask what?

Guy: Will you be my girlfriend” I think we have something

Me: Omg, I totally want to be your girlfriend. I was just waiting for you to ask 😉

And just like that, I was off the market. But what does this all really mean? Is it weird that I feel like I lost a small portion of my freedom? Or that I can no longer do what I want to do without consulting someone first? What about the annoying quirks…can I still feel free to vent to my closest friends about this, or do I now have the obligation to protect him and the reputation of our relationship by all costs? To be honest these questions come out of fear. I am afraid that I don’t have what it takes to be a girlfriend. I fear that we will fall apart as fast as we came together. I’ve always feared commitment. I don’t want to love someone so much and watch it crumble to dust a few years later. What if I do end up marrying him, is it insane that I think about marriage already? How will he propose? When will we buy our first home? I fear that I will end up unhappy and stuck like so many other women who walk down the aisle with high hopes and end up in front of a divorce lawyer. I’m afraid of his past; the girls before me that can expose the man he used to be. I am also afraid of him finding out about my own past. I just might be afraid of it all. Yet all my fears are silenced when I’m with him and he makes me feel like I’m the only girl in the world, his gift from God. It’s a good feeling. I guess these are the risks we all take when jumping head first into an adult relationship.

Letter to my 19 year old self

Dear Lost One,

You are beautiful. Don’t you ever let anyone have that much power over you again. Yes, I get it, you love to be in love. You love companionship. You love having that special person by your side. You sometimes even go as far as to dream about true love one day. Your fantasies hinder you. It’s sweet that you have optimistic dreams of being in love but don’t confuse love with straight lust.
Once again you are beautiful. You have an amazing personality and you are so smart. You have the whole world at your hands and yet you don’t see that. You have dreams and aspirations. You are smart enough to make Dean’s List and get over a 3.5 GPA every semester thus far. Yet your thoughts are warped around a guy who doesn’t feel the same way that you feel about him. He doesn’t like you that much. He doesn’t see your worth. And with knowing all of this, with knowing that he is not the man of your dreams you continue to chase him relentlessly. In math class, your thoughts are surrounded by him as opposed to algebra. You can’t seem to get him out of your mind. What does he have to do to make you see that you are worth more than him? I mean he already has tried to talk to your best friend; He stood you up to sleep with other girls on New Years; He calls you once in a blue moon; After leaving your school and spending a wonderful weekend with you he uses Facebook to tell the world that he is taking applications for wifey, and this is all in the span of knowing him for only 3 months. The red flags are there. Does he have to go to the extent of getting his ex-girlfriend pregnant for the second time and forcing her to do the unthinkable?…oh wait he did that. Does he have to scream from the rooftops “I don’t want to be with you”? wait he did that and finally, does he have to critique your every move and make you feel terrible about yourself damaging your confidence?… Yah he did that. Aren’t you embarrassed?
What will it take, Lost One, for you to see that you can do better than him? You still think that maybe, just maybe, he can change and if you drunk text him enough exclaiming that you both should be together then maybe one day he will realize this too and ask you to be his girlfriend.
Lost One, you are blind. How could such a pretty face be so blinded to your own worth? How can you look in the mirror knowing that you are in college, working towards gaining a degree and yet you settle for someone two years older than you that cannot even get a job? You want so desperately to call someone who chains smoke reefers all day your man? What is wrong with that picture? Does he even know his own worth?
Aren’t you sick of being afraid to call him because he may not have time for you? Aren’t you sick of waiting around for his call and drop everything that you are doing so he can have your undivided attention? Aren’t you sick of being last place in his eyes? Lost one, you are so much more than this life you are living. You deserve calls every day, all day if your heart desires that. You shouldn’t be depressed, in your bed surrounded by darkness while your friends are living their lives. You should be out living yours as well. LOST ONE…HE IS NOT WORTH IT. Why can’t you see this? What is blinding you so…Do you even know who you are? You have picked up on all of his bad habits including drinking and partying to forget about the predicament you have gotten yourself into. When he ignores you, you find refuge with other guys. He sometimes makes you feel so low, that you have to be with another guy to feel better about yourself. You are not you. You are different. You have hit a rock bottom but you still haven’t learned. It will take two more years of turmoil and insecurity for you to realize you have had enough. It will take finally realizing that if he had the chance he would leave you for the next girl that was “light-skinned” enough to meet his standards-oh yes he is a colorist too. One day you will see you are better than this.
Lost one, you are so beautiful. The faster you see this the better you will be. Don’t you know that you could be using your time more wisely instead of wasting it with a low life. You spent a whole year preoccupied with someone who has yet to give you the type of attention you devote to him. He is too selfish to have a girlfriend and to deal with a girl as strong, intelligent and positive as you. He sees that you have a lot going on and he is threatened. Walk away as fast as you can he is not for you but hold on tight God has something greater and better in store for you, just exercise patience.

 

Letter to my 15 year old self

Dear Young and in Love,

You are beautiful. You are mature and you get what you want. You are very blessed. Your life is in transition yet you manage to stay true to yourself. You are one confident person. You love your friends, you live for your boyfriend but you are not having such great luck with your family. They don’t understand you. They want you to succeed and you do as well but having a social life and being popular is way more important. You find out about your mother’s past a lot during this period. It finally hits you that your mother was only 22 when she had you…22, which meant she was still very young and still had her whole life to live before you came into the picture. Talk about dreams deferred. You finally understand why your grandmother and aunt are saying “Shes going to end up just like her mother.” Does this comment sting? Sure it does because you are very protective of your mother. Although you are at odds with her, she means the world to you and you would be nothing without her.

If ending up just like your mother means being the positive light that she is, then you are more than happy to do so because she is a strong black woman who has been through it all, lost her husband at 26 and became a single parent overnight, yet was still able to hold her own and not ask for one ounce of pity.

Young and in love, you are losing your way. School is not a privilege but a burden. You fake sick in the nurses’ office so you can leave school early. You invite all your friends and your boyfriend friends to your house after school and sneak them into your closet when someone comes home early. When do you have time to do your homework? Did you forget you need to do good in high school to get into a decent college? When will you realize you are jeopardizing your life by the poor choices you are making now…who are you? You spent all your life getting good grades and being smart. When will you understand that you have to start taking your life and future seriously?
Love. You are fortunate to have found true love at such a young and innocent age. You’ve met your soul mate. He is kind. He is sweet. He is innocent. He is patient. You have this unrelenting passion for him. You are in a love far greater than your years which is why you don’t really know how to handle your feelings and emotions. You are in a reciprocated type of love.
You live in a world where sex is the thing to do in a relationship. Are you ready for such a huge commitment? Well, I guess you are, since you’re “so grown.” So once you and your boyfriend establish your unrelenting love for one another you take it upon yourself to say “Let’s Do It.” His face is mixed with shock and excitement but he obliges quickly and that night, just like that, it happened.
The next day no one could tell you that you were not a woman. You called just about every friend you had bragging about how romantic your experience was. Romantic indeed. Till this day you can still say you lost your virginity with no regrets. It was with a guy who loved you more than anything and you didn’t have to fear like so many other girls your age that he would go telling everyone about your escapades with him. Not only was he the love of your life but your best friend.
Young and in love you are a risk-taker. You live in the moment, you take chances and you do things without thinking. Some of the decisions you make during this time will have an effect on your near future, yet you are living life and enjoying the trials of being a teenager.