To all who have commented post-me replying to those who commented, I have taken some time to sit down and mull over every one of your stories and opinions. I wanted to take the time to spell out my realizations and go into further detail of what has led me to this question, as requested.
First, I want to say that I am incredibly happy and thankful for all of these unique stories and opinions coming together to help me navigate this rather confusing time in my life. As discussed, I come from a family with young marriages. My parents on the other hand have a larger age gap, so my mother was 21 and my father was 25. Yet again, my mother had graduated with her associate’s when my father proposed, so it was a different world for them; they came from a generation that was expected to stay in the bubble they grew up in.
I am the first from my family to go to a college for their bachelor’s (and subsequently, master’s). I chose Drexel University, one of the leading institutions for gaining a full-time career while in college. IR goes to Temple. For those who have asked how I am sure he is the one and that I am not flirting with the idea of marriage itself, the answer is not short, as I’m sure you’ve all expected, so please bear with me as I spell it out not only for you, but also as a gentle reminder for myself.
Allow me to use the cliche phrase, we’ve been through thick and thin together. I lost my grandmother very early on in our relationship, I’m talking not even a week in. I had a hard time expressing the loss, but IR, without even knowing me as well as he does now, pulled me from that shell and allowed me to break down. It was the first time that I felt truly vulnerable and open to a significant other. I lost two other relatives throughout our relationship, one being my cousin whom I lost in a horrific motorcycle accident. His passing left me a changed person, for the better. I told IR that I did not want him to attend the funeral with me as I needed time to myself to figure out how this was going to change me. He gave me the space and I blossomed into the person I am today.
IR lost his childhood best friend, the dog he quite literally grew up alongside. I recognized him reverting into a shell and offered him the same advice and attention he gave to me when I lost a relative.
We’ve watched each other at highs (winning awards and competitions, landing gigs he’s dreamed of, being accepted into my master’s program against all odds, watching friends and family get married, etc.) and at lows (deaths, losing awards and competitions, realizing that a gig is not what he thought it was, being used by others, losing friends, apartment hunting and all its ugliness, etc.). I’ve talked to his family, both close and extended, and really gotten to know the IR they’ve known their whole lives. And his family has gotten to know me for who I really am. I love his parents like they’re my own, and he finds my whacky Irish family to be the most loving and accepting people he has known.
I value family more than anything. My three siblings and I bicker unlike any other, but we come together for each other no matter what. IR treats my nephews and nieces as if they’re his own. He spoils them with love and they truly recognize that in him. I value my family’s opinion on my significant others. In fact, they have been the deciding factor in ending a few of my past relationships that I had a hard time letting go of for all the wrong reasons. My family can’t say enough good things about IR.
I’ve been through relationships that I thought would last forever, in that high school immature way. I thought a cheater ex-boyfriend would choose me over his fling because we were meant to last. For what reasons? I couldn’t tell you. But what I can tell you is that IR has given me all the reasons without moving my lips for me. He has dropped everything and rushed to my side when I fell horribly sick in the middle of the night, halfway across the city. He drove to my apartment right after he got off of a plane just as I was about to leave for a week-long girls trip and kissed me goodbye because he couldn’t bear to go another week without seeing me at least once. He held my hand as I said goodbye to my only grandmother. He gave up a rehearsal so I wasn’t alone on my birthday.
Yes, him being a working musician while in school has been difficult. We’ve had our times where we almost came to the breaking point when he had to miss yet another holiday to go tour with a band. It got to the point where I walked out, too overwhelmed with the reality of it all, and he chased after me, telling me he wanted to make this work. We’ve worked it out to where certain holidays (“the big ones”) just can’t be missed, like Christmas Day and our annual anniversary. I go to his public gigs and I cheer him on in the crowd (I also give the stink eye to girls trying to give him their numbers, but you know, that’s just part of the girlfriend job description).
I can keep going on and on about why he’s the one, but we’ll eventually hit the trivial, albeit still important, parts like he brings me flowers out of the blue or we cook for each other.
So, all that being said, I want you all to know that I appreciate all of your stories and opinions. I have come to the realization that many of you are right; I should take my time and really sit down with not only him, but myself and figure out if college is really the right time to make that leap. Yes, we are young and we have all the time in the world to figure this out. I agree that there should be an element of waiting involved, whether it be a year or when we both graduate.
In the meantime, thank you all again. This has been such an enlightening experience and I truly believe that having such a unique mix of voices on this matter has really helped me to navigate this part of my life and relationship.