Space to Grow

My freshman year, I arrived at school mostly single – I truly wanted to try casual dating and “being free” or whatever. But I had also just gotten out of a serious relationship, and was still hurting. As a result, I spent way too much time with boys I knew I had no future with because I was lonely. And when I got tired of that, I spent way too much time watching tv and napping. I had all this space, but wasn’t doing a lot of growing.

I know that makes me sound really dependent on being with someone, but I’m not. Being in a long distance relationship, I know how to be incredibly independent. But I came into school heartbroken, which led to being lonely and depressed. And it’s hard to make friends when you’re depressed. And no amount of strangers with video games was going to fix how lonely I was.

Why put yourself through that heartbreak and depression, when everything else around you is already going to be so new, just so you can have “space to grow”? And, how long do you stay single once you get to this new place, so that you can have enough time to grow?

One of the most beautifully supportive and constant things in my life these past few years, both as a friend and a sig other, has been Sean. With him I feel like I can truly do anything, and I have someone to pick me up and push me forward if I don’t succeed or if I’m just feeling discouraged in that moment. Motivating yourself can be difficult, and failure can hit hard. Having someone who believes in you and encourages you can be the difference between marathoning Orange is the New Black or marathoning internship applications. Between spending January learning underwater basket weaving or studying abroad for two weeks. (Be with someone who encourages you to grow by studying abroad, not encourages you to stay because they’ll “just miss you too much.” Find someone who knows your wildest dreams and pushes you to make them happen, even if it means only talking via email for two weeks.)

As you prepare to go to college, graduate from college, or take whatever other big step you are taking in your life, when you have people telling you it’s best to break up with your sig other so you can grow at your new school or new job, please remember that you can do just as much growing with a significant other who encourages you. A relationship doesn’t have to hold you back, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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