Anonymous Class of 2013
After ending a 4½-year relationship, I was afraid of not being able to find someone else to date. Lame, I know. I’m 22 and worried about it. Not only that, but I felt like I didn’t have the time it takes to really get to know someone the way I’d been able to get to know my high-school boyfriend.
When I went to Seattle at the beginning of the summer for Praxis, I didn’t know anyone. This made me anxious. But it was also exciting. My good friends (from Smith) told me they’d send me good vibes; they were sure I’d meet the love of my life. I was skeptical, at best.
Though I didn’t meet the love of my life, I did make good friends. One became a little something more. The two of us met and hiked almost every weekend. He introduced me to his friends and family. We explored the city together. I felt like it could be something – maybe something more than a summer fling.
As August came upon us, it became clear to me that we were on different pages. At first, it sucked. He wasn’t interested in making something work once I left. And here I was, thinking that all those good vibes had rubbed off.
All summer long, however, I’d made it my goal to live in the moment. (In my head, I’m thinking: “Stop getting ahead of yourself. You are miserable to start keeping track of how many days you have left before half the summer has gone by. Be present!) Instead of anticipating the end, I felt it a better choice to take advantage of what I had found. What I came to appreciate while in Seattle, and what I realize now more than ever, is that although it wasn’t meant to last, it sure made for a more exciting, and truly adventurous experience to have met the people I did. Had it not been for these relationships, I would have been on my own; “‘Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all” – or something like that.
What were the good things about a summer fling?
Learning about myself (and others) with someone else, and getting to know someone you don’t know anything about – really starting from nothing. It’s exciting. And refreshing.
What were the not-so-good things about having a summer fling?
Having to say goodbye. Having there be a time that I knew, for better or worse, things were going to change. I hate making transitions. And have a way of prolonging goodbyes in a way that makes me want to be sick.
How did you maximize the good stuff and minimize the not-so-good stuff?
I tried to focus all along on having realistic expectations of the relationship I created. In the end, one person (he) felt different from another person (me). By reminding myself of what had worked in previous relationships, and what worked and what didn’t in this relationship was something that became part of the journey. I really believe that things are meant to be. It’s really hard to believe this when things aren’t going the way you want them to – and at the beginning of August, things weren’t going the way I wanted them to. But, reciprocity is an integral part to any relationship (a mother’s wisdom), and if the person you’re with can’t provide for you what you are able to give to them – or what you feel inclined to give – it’s just not worth being in that relationship. Ultimately, this is what enabled me to let go of the relationship I had become part of in Seattle. What was in Seattle is no longer and in retrospect, that’s exactly the way it was meant to be. I needed a reminder that there are other people – good people, fun people, people that play the role of my “person” more successfully – in the world to be in relationship with. As hard as it was to say goodbye, it was inevitable. Now, I know more about the type of relationship I’m interested in, and still have happy memories of the summer and the people I met.
Take away message: It’s taken me a long, long time to get to where I am – at peace with the end of my first significant relationship, and able to appreciate being in the moment. It’s a work in progress. I still experience pings of regret, or anger towards my summer fling for ultimately choosing to “end” whatever it was that we had; but what I keep going back to is how much fun we had while I was in Seattle, and how much I learned from it. Even if it was temporary, it is good to have known such a good friendship. In the words of (the brilliant) Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with”; things are meant to be. And love and friendship is possible in any moment, as long as you’re there in it.