I started my freshman year of college in an abusive relationship. I wanted out for a long time but felt stuck—he was manipulative and I was scared to leave. I was miserable and the relationship exposed so many bad sides of me that I didn't know I had.
About a month into the school year, we reached our 1-year anniversary. This was enough of a wake-up call for me. I was 18 and had wasted so much of an important part of my life. I finally did what I needed and got out of the relationship.
I vowed to focus on myself for a while and get to know the person I was growing into. I casually dated, flirted on Tinder, and talked to cute guys on campus. However, I didn't want anything serious. I had lost hope of being able to be in a healthy relationship and "forever" would never work for me. I had been in two long-term relationships that ended with hatred and heartbreak. I couldn't do a third.
And then I met Andrew.
We matched on Tinder a month before winter break and exchanged a few messages, but it didn't really go anywhere. A few days before the semester was over, I decided to message him again and gave him my number. We spent a majority of winter break exchanging messages and goofy Snapchats. We live three hours apart, so we decided to meet in the middle for lunch one day. It was a nice date—he was cute and a total gentleman.
Suddenly all of my time was spent with him. He snuck up on me—one day I was just flirting and the next I was hopelessly in love. To this day I am not sure how it happened.
It's been seven months, almost to the day since we made our relationship official. It seems like such a short time, but I finally understand what people mean when they say "when you know, you know." For the first time in my life, I know it what it means to be in a healthy relationship. I have never felt the way I feel for Andrew until now. Even on the worst days, I know I would never trade this feeling for anything else.
I found somebody I can see myself with for a very long time, and I'm absolutely terrified.
I am almost 20-years-old and he'll be 21 soon. We are so young and have our entire lives ahead of us. In some ways, I feel so fortunate to have somebody to share my whole life with. In other ways, how can I possibly have found that somebody when I still haven't found myself? I am so unsure of most things in my life, like most 20 year-olds. It seems insane to be sure of something like a life partner.
Half of the time I feel like a child, I am just now learning how to navigate the adult world. Why wouldn't I be terrified of forever? That's a huge commitment. It took me long enough to decide where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to study, and all of the other big decisions that 20-year-old girls make. It'll take time to accept this big decision, too. Lucky for me, I know Andrew feels the same way, but he loves me endlessly.
I don't see Andrew and I splitting any time soon. I want to be with him for as long as he'll have me, but it's 100% okay to be scared. I can't wait to see where our relationship goes, but until then I am not going to let "forever" freak me out too much. Instead, I'm going to enjoy the perks of college life and a great boyfriend, who I really do love so much.