Growing Pains

All throughout life people grow. You are either growing up physically, emotionally, exploring new opportunities, developing your beliefs and values. Generally we all are resilient people and are very capable of accepting this growth in ourselves, the changes that it brings about are usually driven by our own wants and needs.

Is it too much to hope that the person that loves you can accept that you need to grow as a person? Give you a little time to enjoy life and never stop learning about yourself and your possibilities. Well, Katy struggled with this as a concept, and that’s what brought about the end of our relationship the first time I went away for University.

Now that I was back for the summer and we were giving things another go and there was an elephant in the room. The past nine months had changed us. We thought throughout this time that we had known what each other were getting up to, but we never thought about how the time apart could change us when we already knew each other so well.

Today’s post is only going to be short, one reason is because I’m struggling to remember what happened when. The other is because I’ve been up late too often and getting in at 1am with work the next morning takes it’s toll these days. I’ll start the summer with an overview (in hindsight) of how the nine months had changed me, both individually and as part of a couple.

I was different, I left as a confident, intelligent, tea-total, determined young woman. I never doubted my own judgement. My first year away at Portsmouth found me flailing with my studies, partying, disillusioned and trapped in a suffocating relationship. It made me doubt my judgement as I never thought Katy would act that way, the way she didn’t trust me when I hadn’t done anything, ever, for her to have any doubts.

Sure, I ended things and throughout the nine months apart I went off the rails, missed her, hated her at times and played her silly little games. When you add all of this together, who was I now? I was still outgoing (confident would be a bit of a stretch!) I wasn’t sure I’d call myself intelligent at this time, I wasn’t really thinking about my studies. I liked to drink, often. I’d lost my focus, I had no idea what I wanted from my time at Uni, what job I wanted to end up doing. I was scared that I was making bad choices.

All of these things I struggled to admit to myself let alone anyone else. I think even now I’m probably putting it out there for the first time. Scared is the best way to sum up how I felt about everything that summer. Mostly I was scared to let Katy back in, I didn’t want a repeat of the year before when I’d inevitably have to leave again and start over at Uni. I thought she’d had her wild days and seen for herself what it was like to have some independence, so I thought we might be OK this time. It didn’t stop me worrying about it though.

Our relationship seemed to be more about the physical. Both of us seemed to ignore that we had changed, we instead chose to believe that we were the same people we had been before we broke up. It was naive of us to think that way. I had a whole other life in Portsmouth that Katy had witnessed first hand, and what she didn’t witness she’d received a second hand account from Peter. I wanted to know what she really thought about everything that had happened while we weren’t together and we tried to talk it through, it would usually end in arguments.

Was I blind to how much Katy had changed in our time apart? No. Did I chose to ignore it and believe that we would be just fine? Yes. I think it was wishful thinking on my part, simply because I loved her still. I wanted to be with her and she wanted to be with me, so of course that meant we were right for each other. I failed to notice that I’d hurt her so much it would make the irrational mistrust from the year before an even bigger problem this time around, or that she had a taste of what it was like to be young, free and single and that she might regret giving that up to give us another chance.

These were all things that I can see so clearly now in the wake of everything that has passed. There would be fights, over-reactions, sniping and emotional blackmail… Yet through it all we both thought we had something worth hanging on to. We were going to try and force ourselves to grow together, when in reality we had already started growing apart.

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