Picture this: It’s your senior year of high school. You meet the love of your life. You work up the nerve to ask them out and miraculously, they say yes! You date for several months, the best months of your life, and you feel like you’re on top of the world. What could possibly go wrong? Then three weeks before your senior prom, after you’ve planned your outfit, the pre-prom pictures, the dinner with your group of friends and the after-party, they dump you then show up to prom with someone who was supposed to be one of your closest friends. What do you do then?
Fortunately, nothing like that ever happened to me while I was in high school. The girls I liked just never seemed to like me back, and the girls that did like me (all, like, two of them) I just didn’t seem to have a connection with. Between that and my busy schedule, I never did end up in any sort of significant relationship. But I did watch my best friend get in and out of several of them, including the story above. I’ll never forget the look on his face — something between confusion, disappointment and heartbreak — when one of our close friends showed up for the picture with his arm around my best friend’s ex of three weeks. It used to bother me that I never had a relationship in high school, but as I sat between them at Olive Garden for dinner that night — the proverbial “dividing wall” — in the midst of all the pettiness and subtle shade-throwing, I remember saying to myself, “thank God I never dated anyone.”
Everyone knows a person or two that’s never been in a real relationship, but is always there to give advice on the subject. That was me. In hindsight, being that person was probably the best thing I could’ve done for myself. When my best friend, among others, would come and talk to me about what was going on in his life, I noticed that a lot of times the decisions he made were decisions I would have made too, if I were in his position, and they didn’t always go so well for him. Like a lot of people in high school, I wasn’t ready for a relationship. I might’ve thought I was at the time, but I wasn’t. Fortunately, I got to learn from the mistakes of the people around me rather than having to suffer through them for myself.
Sometimes high school relationships turn into something longer. I’ve got a cousin that’s married to the boy she started dating at 15. Now they’re in their 30s with three kids and are very happy. Unfortunately, most high school relationships aren’t that successful; however, all of them see their share of problems, most of which are caused by one person in the relationship having their own problem and dragging it into the relationship with them. Watching my friends in relationships all four years of high school and seeing pieces of myself in them as problems arose helped me to learn things about myself that I wouldn’t have otherwise seen, and not being in a relationship myself gave me more opportunities to work on myself and solve those problems.
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