NinaJuan_picI met Max my freshman year of high school, when I was 14. However, we didn’t start dating until I was 19. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but we started spending more and more time together, then time alone. Then hours on end with this kid had me thinking I didn’t want to watch my friend date someone else again. I found out he was thinking the same thing.

Life Lesson #1: You might find your soul mate in the friendzone, right where you left him.

I went from living away at school and hardly seeing Max to transferring closer back home, and seeing him nearly every day. Max got me a job answering the phone at a Chinese restaurant (sigh) but I was working toward graduating and moving forward. Two and a half years later: I’m graduating this semester; have a job working with special needs children that I not only love, but actually makes sense with my psychology major; and I’m constantly making new goals for myself and my future.

To be in a solid relationship during college, I feel thankful. Through everything, he’s been behind me, telling me to never give up. To put it down and come back later, try again tomorrow, try another way. But no matter what, to not give up, because I can, I  have, and I will.

DatingI can name a million things about Max that make him perfect to me: How he kisses my forehead when we’re folding big blankets and have to make the corners meet. How he takes me fishing and unhooks the fish for me because I’m scared I might hurt them. And especially how he remembers I want no onions on anything, ever. I can spend all day right next to him, or doing homework while he’s in his garage. No matter what we’re doing, we’re on each other’s side.

The problem? More than 100 times I’ve been asked, “What’s Max doing with his life? Why are you with him? Don’t you want to be single in college?” Max is my best friend, who has absolutely no idea what he wants to be. He is also everything good to me. We bicker, sure, but I’ve never once gone to sleep or left him feeling any type of bad. I thought about this: is he holding me back? If I’m in a healthy relationship, do my partner’s life choices need to interfere?

I thought again…What kind of person would I be if I left when the going got tough? What kind of partner am I if I can’t stick with him while he finds himself? Not the kind I would like to be, that’s for sure. I would like to be the kind of person he can ask for advice, the same way he was that person for me when I needed it. The kind who doesn’t give up just because things in life aren’t going “by the book.” If Max were to leave me just because of my own personal challenges, he wouldn’t have even asked me out to begin with.

Life Lesson #2: Relationships are not going to be easy, but that doesn’t mean they have to be crazy either.

dating2Worrying about the future is OK, but that doesn’t mean you have to let these worries impede on the present. You don’t need to break up with your boyfriend today over problems in your head that might not even happen tomorrow, in two months, or even two years from now. It’s hard to have faith in something as uncertain as the future especially when it involves someone else. I’ve learned from this that sometimes it’s okay to look to the past when thinking about the future.

Life Lesson #3: If your past is showing you consistency in something, take a breath.

That’s called reliability. You often know in your gut what you can (and can’t) count on.

And all of my answers were right there.


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