So last month, I found myself single again. In a way, it sucks, because breakups always do. But this was my first relationship in a really long time. For years I avoided them, telling my family that I was just focused on school, or I was living somewhere temporarily so it just didn’t make sense.  And almost a year ago I realized that when it came to relationships, not only did I have no clue what I was doing, but I had no clue what I wanted. In the last five years, I went from believing I was asexual and destined to be alone forever, to having a female friend ask me out which sent me spiraling for a few weeks, to just now, at age twenty-five, starting to figure out what I’m looking for.  And I feel so far behind.

Honestly, the biggest thing that scared me about my previous relationship, was when to tell my partner about my abuse. For me, this isn’t negotiable. I am a huge advocate for taking control of your own narrative, and I have never looked down on survivors who chose never to tell their romantic partner. But my control of my narrative is very public. Every April I plaster it all over my social media. And that means that my partner will have questions that I need to be honest about.

I feel like I waited too long last time. It had been months, and I dodged the conversation each time, shying away from questions about my teal ribbon necklace or the reason I decided to dye my hair teal. When I finally decided that we had to have an awkward conversation, she told me, “I had a feeling this would come up today.” She guessed, because I am not subtle. But it allowed us to have a more open conversation.

I gave her the short story, a brief overview without too many details. We then discussed my triggers. My immediate distrust of anyone with his name. That damn nursery rhyme I used to say with him at night. The month of November. We then talked about my coping mechanisms. I told her how music grounds me. Talking about the little joys of my day. A cup of coffee and a funny Netflix queue. Keeping my hands busy. And last we talked about ways she could help me. I walked away that day feeling hopeful for our future. And my past isn’t the reason we broke up, which was probably my greatest fear.

Now I know I can do it again. This breakup has empowered me to search out what I am looking for now instead of putting it off.  This breakup showed me that I can have an open and honest relationship with someone who cared, and wanted to be there. This relationship showed me another way that I can take control of my own narrative, and share it with people that I trust. In the end, I guess, that was more than I could have hoped for. Here’s to the next one.

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