When I was around 17 years old or so myself and a friend decided that we were perpetually single. Throughout my childhood I’d see my friends and the people around me in and out of “relationships” (if you can even call it that), whereas the most I could muster up was a 24-hour “relationship” with one dude in year 7 which ended because I didn’t want to have to commit to putting his name in my MSN status and well, because I wasn’t allowed to have a “boyfriend” anyway. Fast forward 6 years later and I just couldn’t fathom the fact that I still had never had a boyfriend. 17 and still single?! That sh*t sounded hella crazy to me. So a friend and I coined ourselves “single and sad”, then spent at least an hour each time we met up talking about what we were doing to make ourselves tragically single. Oh – did I mention – I was 17…?
Something changed just before I started uni and suddenly decided that I was totally and 100% content with being single. I went to university without a boyfriend or even an old friend by my side and I thought this was the best actual outcome for me because it really formed solid grounds for a brand new and totally fresh start. Actually, as I was living my best fresher life – I often looked at people in existing relationships and thought how do you do that? The thought of coming to university, doing that whole long-distance thing, and not really truly starting afresh and being 100% free most definitely didn’t look fun to me.
I’d say a few months into uni, the “single bug” struck again, so I thought I’d actually pick myself up a “tester boyfriend” – given I’d never had a boyfriend and it seemed that everyone around me had at some point, I clearly needed to some girlfriend training (or so I thought). I fell back into a pit of woe-is-me-I’m-single, but this time I was in this pit with a new batch of single ladies from uni. I did manage to pick up a “tester”, and whilst the person wasn’t quite a boyfriend and actually the entire situation was fairly tragic (a story for another day, that day being never) – the whole ordeal taught me a lot about a few smart ways to pick a partner and approach a new relationship.
Now – lets skip to present day. Last week marked the 4 year anniversary of Levi and I first getting together. This means that after cries of being single and sad, thinking something was wrong with me, and yearning for a partner (I thought it’d make my life “complete”), I eventually met someone at age 19, and at the ripe age of 23 now, we’ve been growing together ever since. Life has changed – and we have changed – since we first got together 4 years ago and were a lot more immature. The most ironic is that when we actually met and got together, was the first time in a long time I had decided I was totally happy with just being single (they say you meet someone when you least expect it…)
Soon after I was in my relationship, I started hearing about why I shouldn’t be. How can you focus on living your best life, and being your best successful self, when you have a partner that takes up so much of your time? Do they even get that you need to split your time to grind and be successful? Are they even on your level? (Disclaimer: these are all generic comments that I’d scroll by often on the interwebs, or hear about in videos). The general consensus seemed to be that if you were in a long term relationship from a younger age – then you were most definitely .
And whilst I was never going to leave a healthy relationship because some people on the internet had told me it was unproductive (or, better yet, just shared their own personal experience – things differ of course), it has made me at times stew over how exactly being in a long term relationship from a younger age has genuinely influenced the current outcomes of my life (and how that compares to what I’d heard over the years).
One thing I can say is that – whilst 19 (in my opinion) is a young age to get into a relationship – it’s not really that young. It’s not so young that I’ve never had any life or dating experience outside of my current relationship. It is a common thing – and I do see often – that people who do get into relationships really young, and really haven’t experienced what it’s like to be “single”, wonder if there’s something better out there or a life that they’re missing out on. Whilst I have yet to be an eligible bachelorette in my 20s – I’ve never felt the “what if?” yearn around the single life as from my last year of sixth form up until my second year of university (so a good two years), was quite a decent time for me to just do what I want, date and actually learn that there really wasn’t much to yearn for. It was a decent time for me to make mistakes, meet different types of people – and I guess… just… learn.
And then we come onto the topic of being “held” back, this is what I hear the most about and I can’t say I’ve never asked myself wait – am I? Is my time really my time? I get it – relationships require a lot of your time and a lot of your headspace and often, they can be a distraction from what’s really important. In some cases, you may end up in a relationship with someone that is (quite frankly) a deadbeat, or someone who is controlling and truly holds you back. I’ve seen it all before. What I can say is that in my case – I’ve honestly experienced the opposite. I’ve spoken frequently about a period of time where I seriously lost motivation, you’d know that whilst I grew up super hard working and very ambitious, I hit a rut in my late teens where I just didn’t really care anymore. I was being heavily influenced by the people around me and I decided that I was totally fine with living whatever would be a very mediocre life. But actually, although we were both young and immature when we met, we were able to be some sort of force that could both push and motivate eachother (and I definitely needed it the most). If I didn’t meet Levi, my blog wouldn’t be where it is right now, and whilst I may have ended up in an investment bank it could have been a very different role, and lets not even get started on various other side hustles!
Everything is not all rosy – and that was not the point of this reflective post. Because one of the major things I’ve experienced is that relationships take sacrifice sometimes. I was speaking to a friend recently who wanted to spend 6 months+ travelling but decided to cut things down to a few less months because she didn’t want to spend that much time away from her partner. I totally got it – whilst I think that when young you should be selfish – the reality is that we all make decisions and deciding to hop half way around the world for a long period of time from your partner is not a decision you’d take lightly. It’s definitely a choice that won’t be easy and maybe one you may decide not to make (or in the case of my friend – one you may just decide to tweak a bit). I travel a whole lot, and actually, a lot of the time it’s without Levi (and then again, a lot of the time it is); however deciding to move to another country permanently or for half a year + is a decision (which I have yet to be faced with), that I would find tough. Does that mean my relationship is holding me back? Or stopping me from making unforgettable experiences? Or rather – does it just mean that in life we have to make choices, and sometimes, this is just the reality. I’ve never had to make this choice myself – but I can’t say that speaking to my friend that day didn’t resonate with me in some way.
But – these are just my own experiences. A little mind fart on this page as we pass the 4 year mark and I reflect on what I’ve already been reflecting on for all these years! This post was inspired by Chloe at The Little Plum and her post I’ve Been in a Relationship Since I Was 18: How Has It Shaped Me?