How It Began
We started out as classmates. A few weeks of school have passed and I didn't want to give in, but eventually I admitted to myself and to my friends that I've got a hopelessly big, fat crush on this guy. I'd see him in the hallways and say hi and smile like an idiot until I reached the next building. And you can ask him yourself, I was not at all subtle with my glances at him during class. (Believe it or not, relationships actually get past this stage, hang in there if you're struggling). We started talking more and that made it easier to sort of test the waters and see if he liked me back. (AKA flirting. A lot of painfully awkward, surprisingly efficient flirting techniques I'm not even gonna go into detail with) In terms of pace, we were pretty fast. Acquaintances by late August, text mates by early September, MU (mutual understanding) by mid-September, official by late September. No extravagant, public announcements of "Will you be my girlfriend?" or anything like that. It was as casual as a "Do you want to?" "Yes." over a couple of beers and the help of a friend.
It's true when they say that it's important to take your time getting to know the person. Obviously, that didn't take us too long, and I think that's fine. For me, there's no fixed amount of time you have to wait to get to the real thing. Each relationship goes at its own pace. Some like to give the guy the traditional "hard time" and make them beg for that yes, others don't see the point in waiting. Of course, it isn't the most intelligent choice to jump into it right away if even a tiny part of you isn't ready. It's all a learning experience, and I can see that even at five months, there's still so much to figure out. So yes, to answer your question, you should definitely send him/her a friend request on Facebook. You’ll never know where it’ll get you.
How the Family Reacted
My parents didn’t really set a minimum age for dating. I pretty much just surprised them, not even a single update that someone was courting me. I'm the eldest child, so it was kind of a big deal for them when I finally told them. (I kept it a secret until a month into the relationship, oops) I had no idea how to bring it up into the conversation, but I came clean anyway. It felt kind of awkward at first, and the car ride home was awfully quiet. I eventually learned that they chose to be neutral about it, and that’s fine with me. I really don’t know why I was expecting them to jump for joy at the news. Well, they approve, and that’s what matters. Right now, I just really dislike it when they tell me that “others” could’ve come along and that they really wanted me to see my options before calling anything official. I mean hey, life just threw a boyfriend-shaped opportunity at me and I decided to take on it.
It's refreshing to hear the phrase "Legal na kayo?" ("Are you guys legal?") and be able to say yes. My relatives would all have their scheduled "Who has a boyfriend/girlfriend?" surveys at family gatherings and gush over the news, following it up with a load of beauty pageant questions or a simple "As long as you put your studies first." Right now, my next project would be meeting his extended family and hoping I don't embarrass myself or utter a rather "conyo" side comment over dinner.
How Things Changed
Getting a boyfriend/girlfriend means commitment, and commitment means work. Work requires time. Your time is divided among work/studies, family, friends, self, and now, your significant other. Freshman year of college has taught me that some bonds in friendships (or even the friendships themselves) around here can be quite temporary. Another thing: grades. I’m not even going to sugarcoat it, I’m not doing so well in school. I’m drowning in a sea of C’s. As much as I’d like to say that it’s not because I got a boyfriend, that would counter my whole argument about time. It’s not that he’s a bad influence or anything like that. Let the records say that he probably cares about my grades more than I do. It’s been quite difficult for me to get by academically in college, even before us, actually. The very little focus I had before is even lesser now, and I guess this would be my main dilemma as of the moment. Don’t worry, mom. I’m currently in the process of rebuilding my grades, because (sadly) before anything else, I’m a student. I just forget sometimes.
Beyond all the holding-hands-cutesy-lovey-dovey stuff, there’s a lot of work to it. Every setback, no matter how minor, should be talked about. If you have something to say, say it. Whether it’s about that thing he did the other day that kind of pissed you off, or about not being ready to take things to another level. It’s really important to communicate because I think that’s where a lot of relationships go wrong. This is the one person you can’t keep things from - so always say what you feel. Secrets aren’t welcome in a healthy relationship.
On the brighter side of things, I believe I really changed as a person. I guess I was kind of forced to grow up, now that I’m part of a commitment. I’m more confident now when it comes to my appearance, my social skills are relatively better, I’m generally in a happier mood, and I’m getting a clearer picture of what my adult life could be like. That is, if things go really well. I’m learning to appreciate life more and it’s really nice to have someone to share it with, both in good and in bad moments.
I guess a lot of people would read this and think it’s a lot to say for a first-timer in a relationship that hasn’t even reached a year yet. I don’t know, I guess I just have high hopes for what’s to come. I really like it so far, and all the hardships are completely worth it. I’m definitely not a relationship expert, but I have a really good feeling about this one.
Happy Hearts Day everyone!
- Nikki Alarilla