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All of a sudden I’m using the heart eyes emoji now?

6 Things That Happen in Your First Relationship

Epiphanies from My First Relationship

All of a sudden I’m using the heart eyes emoji now?

By Danielle Wilkinson, Purdue University


I just turned 21 and I also just recently entered into my first relationship.

I know you’re probably thinking that 21 is a pretty ripe old age to be in a first relationship, but I can explain. I’ve had a few flings in the past, by which I mean some drunken kisses with a boy in Cancun, holding hands with a summer camp boy and dating a boy my freshman year of high school for three weeks because my best friend at the time thought we were perfect for each other—in reality, we were probably just her only black friends, so we had to compatible right?

None of these romances ever amounted to anything because relationships scared the hell out of me. I was insecure and wondered why anyone would want someone around them all the time to see all their flaws.

I think my change in heart had less to do with my boyfriend and more to do with who I decided to be this year.

The author and her boyfriend
The author and her boyfriend

Instead of running from my fears, like I often do, and miss out on something amazing, I vowed to myself that I would run headfirst into what scared me. Since beginning a relationship, I have experienced a whirlwind of new emotions. Some days I feel warm and fuzzy, while other days I feel like the world is on the brink of collapsing.

Here, since entering my first relationship, are a few of the epiphanies I’ve had.

1. Everything Makes Sense

My freshman year roommate was obsessed with “Awkward,” a show I really wanted to get into. I tried watching it last summer, but I could only get through about four episodes before I had to stop. I was so annoyed that all the main character cared about, all she could talk about and all the show revolved around was her relationship (or lack thereof) with a boy.

But I get it now, Jenna. I get it. All I can think about most of the time is my boyfriend, all I want to talk about are funny things he’s told me and each day I look forward to seeing him the most. Those annoying country love songs, romantic comedies and even Taylor Swift all make sense now. I can finally empathize with some lyrics and TV situations and certain movies are much more entertaining now.

2. You Have to Get Used to the Word Boyfriend/Girlfriend

The other day my friend asked me where I disappeared to after class. I told her I went to see my boyfriend for a few minutes before his class started and she smiled.

“It’s so weird hearing you say that,” she said. I told her it was weird hearing myself say it.

It’s one of those words I’ve only heard other people say, so hearing it come off of my lips seems foreign. Even hearing my boyfriend call me his girlfriend makes me feel as surprised as Joey in “Friends” when he found out Monica and Chandler were hooking up.

3. You Overthink Everything

For a chronic over-thinker like myself, this has been the worst part. I’m constantly second-guessing myself, my boyfriend’s feelings for me and whether or not I’m even doing this girlfriend thing correctly.

My mind usually sounds a little like this: Am I texting him too much? What if I’m not texting him enough? Does he think about me when we’re apart? What if he doesn’t think about me at all? What if he gets bored with me? Are the girls in his classes interesting? Are the girls in his classes pretty? Does he talk to pretty girls in his class with his adorable accent? How can I subtly ask him not to talk to any females on campus BUT me? Is he going to be freaked out that I wrote an entire article centered on him?

It goes on and on and I’m sure most people in their first relationship ever or in a new relationship can relate.

4. You Feel Like a Child

Since I wasn’t in a relationship during my younger years, I feel like I’m now subconsciously making up for it. My heart flutters every time I get a text from him or a Facebook message, even though he’s usually sending me trivial messages like “I’m hungry, dinner?” My diary is filled with entries about him and I text my friends to gush about every little cute thing he does or says.

I rolled my eyes at myself after texting him heart emojis for the first time, realizing that I had become one of THOSE girls. I’m reading relationship advice from those stupid magazines I used to take so seriously as a pre-teen. And I’ve taken a couple of online relationship quizzes because now, I can do them picturing my boyfriend instead of Joe Jonas. I feel like I’m seconds away from writing Mrs.myboyfriend’slastname all over the margins of my notebook; it’s disgusting.

5. You Suck at Balancing

I never thought about how hard it would actually be to balance schoolwork, friends, clubs, a boyfriend and sleep. I figured it would be pretty easy—being in a relationship was just having a friend you liked to make out with on occasion. But I was wrong.

When one person gives you an emotional high, it’s hard to want to be away from them ever. Schoolwork is now the last thing on my mind. Why would I want to read a book about the intricacies of the 19th century slave trade when I could be laughing at stupid YouTube videos with my boyfriend?

6 Things That Happen in Your First Relationship

Sometimes friends want to hang out with you without feeling like a third wheel, and other times you want to hang out with your significant other all day long instead of going to class (not that he ever lets me miss class). It’s really exhausting trying to figure out everything and I’m still working on it.

6. You See Yourself in a New Light

My reaction to the first time I found out my boyfriend liked me was the same reaction I had when I received my first A on a math exam: This has got to be a mistake.

He’s so cool and smart and I was so shocked that he was interested in me instead of one of my other amazing attractive friends, not to mention the hundreds of eligible girls on campus. When he told me how I stood out from the masses, I started to see myself differently.

I know I’m my own worst critic, and I think viewing myself through someone else’s eyes allowed me to give myself a break. Instead of punishing myself for everything I’m not, I can better appreciate myself for who I am. Because after all, someone already does.

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