One of the best lines from Perks of Being a Wallflower is "We accept the love we think we deserve." And as someone that should never have settled, even for six months, this is most definitely true.
My first boyfriend and I met while pulling off an elaborate prank at the local McDonald's involving a cardboard box car and a video camera. He asked me to Homecoming on my 18th birthday.The relationship began quickly, probably too quickly. By two months he swore he loved me, and as shameful as it is to admit, I stupidly told him I loved him back. He used to smiled at me with adoration in his eyes, always pay when we were out on dates, called me at least once a day. Certainly I had found true love.
Then out of nowhere, his personality became irritating and demeaning, but I held on, because love is about getting through the hard times and being committed to someone regardless, right? He did nothing as his friends criticized me for wanting to pursue a degree in English and laughed harder when they realized I wanted to minor in history. He told me I was "too smart" to go to a nondenominational church and should go to an Episcopalian church, which, according to him, was the Protestant version of a Catholic Church. The guy that once ate all of the candy in our candy jar suddenly wouldn't touch an apple because it had "too many carbs" in it, which didn't fit with his diet to gain more muscle and tried to make me go on his irrational diet. He kept pushing to go farther, no matter how many times I told him my views on physical contact at that point in the relationship (and thank God for my stubbornness, because I never let him).
When he told me he didn't love me anymore, I called my friends in despair. They rushed over immediately, assuaging my pain by recreating him on the Sims and burning his (virtual) house down.
Someone asked me if I would have changed anything in the relationship. And now I know yes, I would have. I would have changed my attitude about the love that I deserved and realized the way he treated me wasn't love.
The only other time I've seen him since was on the interstate. I pressed the accelerator and got in front of him. I grinned. Because doing that reminded him no matter how far he got in life, I would always be one step ahead.
Gretchen has, as her grandmother always tells her, not yet found someone that deserves the happiness she could give them. For now, she's in love with writing for Quail Bell Magazine and interning for Life In 10 Minutes. She also runs the online publication On The Grid Zine.