Exes and Oh Gods

In today’s day and age, being in a relationship is one of the biggest pressures that society has placed on young adults. Everywhere we look, there’s billboards and TV ads for dating websites; the average age of the user keeps getting younger and younger! Out of it, a culture has grown… One where more and more kids feel like they need to be in a relationship. You’re twelve; you don’t need a relationship!

More than ever before, society is pushing relationships in our faces, saying:

You can’t be anything without a boyfriend.

That’s not true, it’s hard to figure out what you’re supposed to do about being in a relationship when so many different opinions are flying at your face. You don’t need to have a partner to be fulfilled, but having one is really nice. At that point, when you realize what you want, it’s time to take a little risk. And sometimes it doesn’t turn out well, and the dude is a jerk, or maybe you just aren’t as in LOVE as the other person (the other way around too). But sometimes it’s the best thing that could happen, and that’s the real magic. In the end, you have to learn for yourself what’s right for you and that it’s okay to be a little afraid to get hurt again, as long as it doesn’t run your life.

Hey, I’m Lana. I’ve got some “ex­-whatever,” horror stories for you…

Hi, my name is Rachel, and guess what? I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was nineteen…. Here are the stories of us “figuring relationships out.”

Lana:

If you have, you know that oftentimes, the split goes horribly wrong. Sometimes, things work out. If you’re lucky, you can stay friends—if not, you’ll be darting between bushes across campus when you see their familiar form.

Rachel:

As someone who has never had an “ex,” I don’t know what it’s like to have those awkward ‘we can still be friends’ conversations or the eventual family investigation of ‘he was so perfect. why’d you break up?’

That’s kind of weird though, right?

I just got my first boyfriend ever over the summer and I don’t know about you but if we were to ever break up, I have no idea how to handle it. Like, what happens? What is this crazy nonsense people call “exes”? We are obviously going to be together forever.

Don’t harsh on my vibe.

Clearly, that is not a realistic viewpoint of relationships, but one I hope to keep.

Lana:

It started off as friends, as these things often do. We had a great friendship, especially after seven years; we were really close. We were so close that the thought of being romantically involved with him was a little bit disturbing to me. Um, he’s pretty much my brother! Ew, no way.

There was a time when people would ask me if he and I were “a thing,” and I could honestly say, “No, are you serious? We’ve been friends forever.”

However, as college drew nearer and high school ended, eventually my feelings grew into something far deeper than I had ever intended. Stupid, right? Feelings are lame.

Less than a year. He held me up and tore me down in less than a year.

Rachel:

I’ve had crushes before, just like most other nineteen year old girls, but never one that

amounted to anything. High school was a mix of nice-­guys, adequate guys, popular guys, the massively off-putting guys, and the seriously inept-at-life guys. Just about all of them were shy as fuck and had no idea how to even tell a girl they liked her, let alone flirt in any sense of the word.

Of course, senior year I finally figured out that I like girls too. There I was, in the most homophobic township I had ever known. Plus, most of the girls that were available to the same sex, were not my type ot say the least.

No matter what gender I decided was the flavor of the day, I was pretty much doomed.

#ForeverAlone

Lana:

It sucked that we both liked the same university. It really sucked that we both committed there. At the time, it was pretty cool; I thought I’d be seeing a familiar face around my new school that I would always love—platonically or otherwise. I looked forward to growing together. But things change, and even though I’m okay now, I still want to punch him in the face for sending me pictures of indecent girls laying in his bed when I’m just across campus. Like, what?

Rachel:

As one of the few people in my high school, and eventually college, friend group who had never had a significant other, I was somehow the go-­to for romantic/relationship advice. What am I supposed to know about relationships? There were so many of my friends who started going out with a guy and suddenly they found out he was a douchebag, or severely clinging, or emotionally abusive. But they stayed in the relationship!!! Even after everybody repeatedly told them to get out now!

I guess now that I have a boyfriend, I kind of get that need to make things work out. Having someone who ‘cares’ for you and is always there to chill is really awesome. Maybe I just got lucky enough to not meet a dick. But even if the relationship isn’t fantastic, now that I am in one, I can see that the connection is sincere and to have this person who thinks you look beautiful is an ego boost I would not give up easily. I still like to think, though, that if I were ever in a toxic relationship, I would get the hell out of it. No connection, no relationship, or friendship is worth keeping if it makes you unhappy, and especially if it drives you into a dark hole.

Lana:

Whatever we had is dead and gone, and honestly, I prefer it this way. On occasion, the toxicity of remaining close to an ex is too harmful. Would I have learned what I know now, if the whole ordeal never happened? Maybe not, but I would rather not have an “ex-whatever,” at all, so I could have a clean slate. So I wouldn’t doubt the compliments people give me, or so that I could easily give my trust.

You shouldn’t stay with someone who tries to play with your emotions. You shouldn’t, under any circumstances, allow them to manipulate you. If they lie, sneak, hide things from you, or dismiss what you’re saying and feeling, I can tell you now: they are not worth it.

My ex taught me this: if you give them the power to take advantage of you, some people will. I’m not cynical, no, but I’ve become wary. A lot of the time, our experiences in relationships teach us valuable lessons. In my case, I learned how to block a number and empty my camera roll within a span of 30 seconds.

Rachel:

I can only say that holding back on relationships, whether the situation is that you can’t find a partner or that you aren’t sure about the other person’s intentions, is a good idea. Don’t be so careful you cut yourself off to ever finding love, but don’t be naive.

Yeah, maybe you’ve been best friends with them for years, but that doesn’t mean

people can’t change or that they’ve been hiding part of themselves from you. People are crazy.

If I’ve learned anything from the relationships my friends have been in it’s that: even if you don’t agree at least listen when your friends are telling you that he isn’t good for you. Your friends are probably right and good friends have your best interest at heart. It’s easier to see a situation when you’re on the outside of it. So take a step back and think about what you are getting yourself into.

Personally, I would rather have no exes than go through shit because some boy/girl decided to break my heart.

Really, there’s nothing wrong with never having been in a relationship. There’s also nothing wrong with being in several—the bottom line is, you do what’s comfortable for you.

Regardless of societal pressures, don’t feel obligated to take part in something that you want nothing to do with. Some people are douchebags, so why would you want to throw yourself on the market with those kinds of people?

You shouldn’t feel any obligation whatsoever.

If you’ve had great relationships, or even similar horror stories, what’s done is done. At the very least, you can look back and say, “Oh, God,” when you realize how many bullets you’ve dodged.

Take pride in who you are, and the right person will come along, eventually.

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