Written by Ashley Guerra
She and I were together from our sophomore year of high school up until the beginning of my freshman year of college. For those two years, we constantly fought about money, infidelity rumors, who put more effort in the relationship, sex, and a whole heap of other things teenage couples normally argue over due to lack of communication and understanding. And she was my first serious relationship.
Instead of learning from the mistakes she and I made in that relationship, I internalized them, bringing them and bad habits to the other relationships I later on pursued. Needless to say, because of these problems, all of my other relationships fell short.
Last August I met my current girlfriend on Facebook. I noticed her promoting her music and complimented her on her musical skills. She immediately messaged me and we exchanged numbers. We talked every day that week and decided to meet in person the week after. We kept in contact for two months when I left to start my sophomore year and last December, made our relationship official.
Unlike the other women I’ve come across, she was not tolerant of my immature relationship patterns.
During our first argument I had gotten so upset that I began to walk out of the room; it was a habit I picked up during my high school relationship. Now, any other girl would have let me leave, but she wasn’t having it.
Unknowingly that day, she taught me my first lesson: communication is key.
Instead of letting me leave, she stood in front of the door and said, “I love you and I’m not going to let you leave without clearing the air. We’re going to talk about this and if you still want to leave after we figure things out, then I’ll take you home and give you some time to think about things.”
At first I was shocked.
I had been so used to running away from relationship confrontations and having my partners respond with equally petty actions, that the idea of actually facing the problem scared me.
We sat and talked about the situation, how it made each of us feel toward each other, and what we could both do in the future to avoid letting misunderstandings get out of hand. A few months passed and my girlfriend continued to be a great teacher.
She eventually taught me the importance of give and take: both in the financial and emotional sense.
Somewhere in my last relationship I made it a habit to leave my partner with most of the burdens, expecting her to fully take care of me without allowing myself to give her the support she needed in return.
She showed me that it was both of our jobs to provide for one another.
This meant helping out with the restaurant bill from time to time, even if it’s picking up the tip; or complimenting her on her appearance and achievements every chance I get. For me compliments not only made my partner confident, but they created a stronger relationship.
My girlfriend and I are now thriving in our relationship.
She continues to help me break my old relationship habits as I remain eager to continue on this path of an adult relationship. I have just met her family and we are hopeful about spending our lives together.
Ashley Guerra is a college student who hopes to one day become a psychologist for the FBI. She writes poetry, dabbles in freelance modeling, and recently opened her own small business making custom strapback hats and lighters. Follow her on IG under: coconutaura.