My first serious relationship has been a complicated one. We have broken up and gotten back together more than once. This on again, off again type of dynamic is confusing to the people in my life.
When I tell people about my relationship situation they often try to insert their own opinions. I appreciate friends trying to look out for me, but the constant questioning and advice can be draining and even hurtful. The truth is that as easy as it is to make judgements when you’re an outsider looking into a relationship, no one really knows the relationship but the people who are in it.
When deciding whether to call it quits or get back together, I firmly believe that you have to follow your gut. You’re the one who will ultimately be impacted by your decision. Therefore, the choice should be 100% your own.
My boyfriend and I met for the first time in my junior year (his senior year) of college at American University. I saw him sitting with a friend of mine at a table in our on campus coffee shop and decided to go over. I had never run into him before. He was cute and he caught my eye, so I joined them at the table.
From there, the connection was instant. I was frazzled talking to him that first day. Afterwards we followed each other on social media and he asked me out on a date. We quickly became exclusive.
The beginning of our relationship was shy and sweet. We hung out on campus and went to events and parties together. I was constantly at his house doing homework and chilling with him and his roommates. I had never connected with someone so deeply so quickly. We said I love you within the first two months of dating. I had never said I love you to someone in a romantic situation before.
Around this same time, he invited me to come visit his home in central California and meet his family. I agreed. The trip was lovely and romantic. It really solidified for me that this relationship would be for the long haul.
The following semester, the spring of my junior year, I went abroad to London to study at King’s College. We did long distance for the months that I was away. We FaceTimed everyday and he even came to visit me during his school break. The week we spent together there felt magical. We went on dinner dates and explored the city. I introduced him to my new friends. Everything was going well in our relationship at the time.
The time without him hurt so badly. I couldn’t stop crying.
Things started getting rocky once I came back from London the following semester for my senior year. He had graduated and started a new job along with graduate school. He was under a lot of stress. I also was struggling with my depression and anxiety.
We broke up for the first time right around our one year anniversary. I broke up with him, worried that we were too unalike. We were at different stages of our lives and didn’t seem to have time for one another. I didn’t want to do it, but I didn’t feel like there was any other way. The time without him hurt so badly. I couldn’t stop crying. We barely lasted a few weeks before deciding to get back together.
Our relationship was great after getting back together. We had a newfound appreciation for one another and were working through our problems in healthy ways. This continued for several months. However, come January our relationship started going south again. We fell back into old unhealthy relationship dynamics. He felt responsible for my happiness and I felt like he wasn’t dedicating enough time for us. We fought often.
He broke up with me later in that month, saying he needed time to figure out his own life and mental health and that he couldn’t do it while we were still together. This breakup felt much more final. The time spent without him and barely talking were painful.
After a month or two he came back saying he had made a mistake and he wanted to be together again. I was hesitant. My trust had been betrayed and didn’t want to jump back into a relationship with him without solving our previous problems. Ultimately, I asked for some time to think things over.
Ultimately, I decided to try things again, but to take it slow and re get to know each other like in the beginning of our relationship. That is exactly what we have been doing since then.
I have learned valuable lessons through our relationships and have taken away a lot from us breaking up and getting back together.
Relationships are hard work and compromise and clear communication are key to making them last. Taking time to listen carefully and considering the other person’s perspective is essential. Showing appreciation and love for your partner through doing little things to make them happy also goes a long way.
No relationship is perfect, but repeating past mistakes and having the same fights are not productive.
My biggest piece of advice for people who may be going through similar situations is to give yourself space and time to really think over the relationship. Journal, make a pro-con list and really mull things over. I encourage you to ask yourself important questions like if the circumstances that caused you to break up in the first place have changed? Have you both grown since the breakup? More importantly, why do you want to get back together now? Obviously, no relationship is perfect, but repeating past mistakes and having the same fights again and again are also not productive.
Above all, listen to your heart. No one can tell you what’s right or wrong for you better than yourself. Talk to friends and family if you want advice or second opinions, but make sure your final decision is your own. If you’re anything like me, you let your feeling get clouded sometimes by other people’s judgements and opinions. The only thing that matters is the relationship being healthy and fulfilling and making you happy. If it checks all of those boxes, trust yourself, and go for it. Getting back together with an ex can work out if you take the time to address your issues and make sure the timing is right for your relationship to succeed!
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