One of the cliches of college is that you'll graduate high school, attend university, and that is when you'll finally meet "the one."
Before going off to school, my high school relationships were... well, honestly, they were just terrible. So, when I entered college, part of me thought that would be how my story would go, too. Truth be told, that is how the story went, but not because I sat back and thought some magical, mystery guy would would miraculously appear one day.
As it turns out, getting screwed over a lot in relationships can either make or break you. It can either cause your self esteem to plummet and leave you with terrible trust issues, or it can shape you into a more confident individual. Seems like a paradox, doesn't it? It's really not, though. I became much more confident in what I wanted, deserved, and expected out of a relationship.
My freshman and sophomore years of college only confirmed these values of mine. Much like other girls my age, I was excited to enter the collegiate dating pool at a big university. Only I quickly realized that I didn't want to really "date" around. I was seeing what my friends were experiencing and had begun experiencing it a little bit myself, and I remember thinking that this was not something I simply could not put up with. My bullshit detector had gotten way too good.
I had decided that I had already dealt with too much in the past to even consider doing it again. I wanted to be selfish and put myself first. Maybe I thought it was "safer," you know? A "don't let anyone get too close and you won't get hurt," type of thing. Which in some ways was true, but really it was about not wanting to waste my time.
I would start talking to a guy, and the moment a red flag popped up, I kicked them to the curb. Not without criticism from my friends, either. They kept telling me I was being too picky. I kept telling them I knew what I wanted, and when I found it I would know. Because I wouldn't be second guessing anything. He wouldn't make me play games or jump through hoops. He wouldn't ever give me a reason to feel a knot in my stomach.
So until then, being single, for me, meant time to commit to making friends, joining organizations, attending school events and being more involved. It meant discovering more about myself in this next phase of life. It meant being able to go wherever with whoever and not have to worry about someone else's. Being single those two first years of college gave me a chance to figure out who I am, so that when someone does come along I wouldn't be defined by them.
Now as I mentioned in the beginning, eventually, someone did come along. You know how I knew he was "the one?" I didn't have to give up any of those parts that I loved about being single in order to make our relationship work. I don't have to sacrifice friends, school, clubs, or myself, and he doesn't have to do that for me. If I hadn't spent that time learning about myself and wasted it on just anybody who came along, I don't know what kind of relationship I would be in right now, if any at all.
When people say, "The right one will come along when you're least expecting it," or "when you're too busy enjoying life," it's true. Believe them. Life isn't just about meeting someone, but it is important that you know what you're looking for. Don't settle just because they're the first one to come along in a while. Being single doesn't have to be this horribly lonely experience. It's what you make of it that.