Jenna Hoffstadt – Indy Writer
It’s my last week of winter break. I stopped working my seasonal retail job a couple days ago and I’m just riding out the rest of my break before school starts again. I started today much like I have been the past few days, by checking Facebook’s “On This Day” app.
Usually I find funny pictures of myself and friends or song lyric quotes. However, today brought a much more painful memory. Even though I had a spelling error in my status, before Facebook’s “edit” function, I am reminded of a lesson I learned four years ago.
“Not dating ever again. Or at least untill I get a therapist. Don’t start dating people if you (have) problems, you’re just gonna hurt them.”
In 2012, I was a Junior in High School. My friend group was the kind that hung out every day after school. We would walk to one of our houses and jam out on acoustic guitars until dinner time. I was dating one of my best friends for about five months when he broke up with me.
Things were going so perfectly on the outside but he was struggling with his own problems, which made it impossible for him to be happy in the relationship… but I had no clue. Instead of being open about his struggle, he hid it inside until he couldn’t take it anymore. It hit me like a brick wall.
Here’s what hurts the most. Before him, I had a big heart and all the trust in the world. I just always thought when you are in a relationship with someone, they are matching everything you give. 16 year old me was giving all she had to this guy thinking she was getting all he had back. Then suddenly, a text message turns it all upside down.
“It’s not you, it’s me. I’ve felt this way for some time now.”
I mean, it’s not me, right?
The second, I mean the very goddamn SECOND, you think your feelings are changing is when you need to tell your partner. Apparently he had felt this way about a month in to our relationship. I thought I knew everything about him because he was my best friend for two years prior to dating. Turns out, he had issues I couldn’t solve and it tore him away from me.
Which is fine. High school is a time for development and you need to make choices that are right for you. However, if you’re going to be in a relationship, your partners’ feelings need to be right up there next your own… especially when it’s your best friend.
Break ups happen all the time. Heck, I’ve gone through about 10 of them. But losing your best friend is painful on a whole new level. He was the person I would have gone to and talked about the break up with. He was the person who would have checked on me throughout the healing process to make sure I was ok. Instead, I had to let time do its thing.
Now I knew he was having family problems, but so was I. And that was our first mistake. At 16, your coping skills and judgment are not fully developed. If you are having problems you don’t know how to deal with, don’t drag someone else down with you. Your significant other is supposed to be your confidant, not your therapist.
This is why you need to work on your mental stability before getting into a relationship. Problems come and go and I’m not saying you should break up every time you have a new issue. I’m saying you should learn how to face those problems in a healthy manner instead of letting them eat away at you until a break up is inevitable.
Dating in high school is a set up for disaster. Even dating in college can be a train wreck. It all depends on the type of relationship you want and can uphold at the time.
Four years later and here we are. We had a couple conversations after the whole fiasco but he was never my best friend again. He overcame his problems and has been dating his girlfriend for over two years now. As for me, my family problems finally worked themselves out and I’m waiting for a guy who I know will be worth my all.