I was 17 when I began my relationship. What is the average life span of a high school relationship anyway? 3 months? 4 months? 5 months? There are the unusual relationships that last 6 months, then there are the very rare relationships that last 1 year. Taking into consideration the average life span of a high school relationship with the fact that I was a senior in high school with plans to move far away for university, I was convinced that this particular relationship would not last until the beginning of summer. So, I kept it a secret, remaining elusive of the official status of my relationship. Why go through the hassle of announcing it to the world when I was not even sure it would last past a month?
But then it passed the one month mark, then the two month, three month.. And soon, I was at the six month mark. Some, at this point, would begin the introductions to their friends, family, parents. I hesitated. To some extent, it was out of fear, fear of being pressured. I did not want to be the girl who introduced a fresh, unsure relationship to serious, significant people in my life. Serious and significant people who would have their opinions, biases, and personal experiences that they would attempt to impose on me, tainting my viewpoint and preventing me from creating my own experience. I was still just having fun because graduation was around the corner and who knew whether or not we would last past then?
Eventually six months became one year. At this point, many would strongly urge the need to make the proper introductions, but after one year, I still barely knew him. We were still immature teenagers, attempting to realize who we were while getting to know each other better. Though we were both at the same university, the next four years could possibly change our lives and pull us in separate directions that the relationship could not withstand. After one year, I barely knew whether this relationship would continue to grow into something serious. I was still getting to know him and he was still getting to know me. So, I delayed out of fear, fear of being negligent. How could I possibly introduce a boy I barely knew to the important people in my life? I needed to make sure that he was who he presented himself to be, that he wasn’t just putting his best foot forward all the time. Though I wasn’t expecting him to be perfect, I needed to make sure that there weren’t any red flags that could possibly be hurtful to anyone I deemed significant in my life.
One year became two years. Still, I was reluctant to officially introduce everyone in my world to the boy that I was starting to fall in love with. I realized that our relationship was serious and I had a good idea of who he was, continuing to get to know him more and more as the days went on. Despite the growing intensity of my feelings and the growing strength of our relationship, it did not necessarily mean that we were compatible. So, I stalled out of fear, fear of being embarrassed. I did not want to be the girl who introduced a boy that would disappear eventually because we realized how incompatible and ill-matched we were. I needed to make sure that we were compatible, that we were a right fit before I began to explore his compatibly with the significant people in my world. I did not want him and them to go through the struggle of assimilation in each other’s lives, only to realize how pointless it all was because the two of us were not compatible to begin with.
Eventually, we stood at three years and still I hesitated. I knew it was time to make the proper introductions, but there was something that needed to be addressed beforehand. I delayed out of fear, fear of being overwhelming. Before I threw him into the den, I needed to make sure he knew what kind of lions he would encounter. So, I began to open up about my family’s history, drama, and personalities. I needed to make sure that he knew what he was getting himself into before I pushed him into the deep end and he realizes he cannot swim. It’s one thing to love someone, but it’s another thing to love that person enough that the family drama and history does not affect you. I needed to know that he had the understanding and the patience to deal with the effects that my family had on me. I wanted him to be aware of the dynamics, so he could be able to position himself accordingly.
After four years, I finally begun to make the necessary introductions, slowly incorporating him into a life that I once kept separate from him. My relationship isn’t perfect. I was not waiting for him to be perfect before I introduced him, nor was I waiting for the perfect moment. I was waiting for the right moment. The moment our relationship was secure enough, established enough, and strong enough. I wanted us to be secure enough to know the difference between someone’s constructive criticism and someone’s straight hate. I wanted us to be established enough to be aware of our strengths and our weaknesses as individuals and as a couple. I wanted us to be strong enough to deal with the multiple personalities, opinions, and biases that the people within our spheres might present. I needed to make sure that he was the right person for me, before I make sure he’s the right person for everyone else.
So, that’s why I waited. I waited almost five years. I needed to know what this was, who he was, and who I was. I’m not saying my way is the right way, but it was the right way for me and I’m glad I waited.