“Is it ever gonna change? Am I gonna feel this way forever? Are you gonna be around for me to count on?” - Clairo, “4ever”
Due to the fact that I just graduated high school, I played this highly relatable song about a million times in June alone. This is the time of the year in which most teenagers are carefree and ignorant to the year to come, but for every 2018 graduate, the next school year represents one big, glaring unknown. There are countless scenarios that make the season a ticking time bomb: moving across the state for college, leaving a high school sweetheart behind, wondering what friends will replace the ones at home, etc. Clairo’s song echoes in my head when I’m folding napkins at the job I’ve had since I was 15, picking out what to wear on one of the last spontaneous dates with my boyfriend, or cleaning out my closet before I move into my dorm in the fall. For me, every day of summer is one day closer to the beginning of my new life, and one step farther from the world I’ve so carefully curated around myself.
I know my friends and family will remain solidified. I can count on a group text from my friends as soon as we’re all back in town, and a big plate of my mom’s homemade fideo as soon as I step foot into my house. The substantial unknown, the predicament that makes me take warm baths to soothe my thoughts, is the future of my relationship with my boyfriend. Some may think I’m dramatic or silly to fret over something so seemingly futile, but he is a great, intelligent, and honest man. Therefore, it’s damn hard to not worry about losing him.
My friends who are single innocently suggest things like “Well, just don’t dwell on the future, things will work out! If things don’t work out between you two, then you guys just weren’t meant to be in the first place.” I am not one to take advice with a grain of salt, and my fears are only brought to a head when given friendly guidance, mostly because I am reminded of fears I didn’t even realize I had. Despite their pure-intentioned advice, things “not working out” implies a multitude of my insecurities coming to life. “Not working out” implies growing apart from my best friend, being replaced by someone better than myself, or worst of all, my boyfriend and I simply not caring about each other anymore. My worries and fears concerning my relationship had formed one giant anxiety-monster in my head, and without actually asking my boyfriend to help fend it off, I had inadvertently made myself miserable.
Every time we hung out I would picture us saying our goodbyes, being apart for a month, or merely falling apart. I began to question why I was still in the relationship if I was so sure of its downfall. So, I did the unthinkable: I actually communicated with my partner. Not surprisingly, upon swallowing my pride and choosing to speak to my boyfriend about these intrusive thoughts, my fears began to cease.
At first, I felt like a burden even bringing up the subject of what would happen to our relationship when I left for college. What if I came off as clingy? What if he actually wasn’t comfortable with the idea of being apart, and had been waiting for an out? Remember the scene in Mean Girls when Cady Heron says she has “word vomit” because she uncontrollably says words she shouldn’t? Well, all of these anxieties accumulated into one big, sobbing, word vomit-esque mess one night, and I felt truly sorry for my boyfriend. Within a matter of seconds, I had dumped all of my deepest darkest fears right onto his unsuspecting lap. Thankfully, he took my concerns like a champ. One by one he checked off each fear I had and put every single concern, including the ridiculous ones (such as the fear that he would randomly ghost me), to rest. He reassured me that there was no point in worrying about our future if we both knew we wanted to be together. He reminded me that despite the change in our relationship, the simple fact that we wanted to be together was enough for us to at least TRY to maintain the relationship. Who knew guys could be so nice?! Not only did I feel better, I understood that he loved and respected me enough to tell the truth about how he viewed our future together.
When you’re with someone you love, you trust them when they tell you not to worry. I leave for school in August, and this conversation happened in early June. Since then, I have felt no need to constantly seek reassurance about the subject because I trust him. No one said going through a major transition in a relationship is easy, and being brave enough to give my insecurities a voice was even harder. However, once I did, my partner allowed me to receive the peace of mind I deserve.