Love U: On the dangers of a bubble-wrapped relationship

Elizabeth Gu | Daily Trojan

Elizabeth Gu | Daily Trojan

From break ups to make ups and everything in between, “Love U” captures the nuances of college students’ relationships. “Love U” runs in DeeTs on Mondays.  

A bubble. For exactly a year and three months, I was trapped in a bubble that my ex-boyfriend and I had enveloped ourselves in.

When someone suddenly comes running into your life, someone with whom you invest your time and emotions, it’s easy to become focused on that sole individual. They become your priority, on a level equal with, if not above school, friends and family. Looking back, it sounds foolish to revolve your world around one person. But that’s exactly what love can be. Stupid, foolish, consuming, yet also innocent, exhilarating and fulfilling. This person becomes your world, if even for a short period of time.

As our relationship got deeper he slowly became my everything, and I, his. My activities were rearranged around his availability, his friends and family put aside for spending time with me. It was worth it at that time, with every visit a comforting time of reassurance and support. We grew emotionally dependent on each other, safe within our bubble as long as we had each other. Whatever obstacle or frustration the world threw at us was fine. It seemed it would always be OK.

Until those within the bubble, began to break that bubble itself.

He made mistakes. I couldn’t forgive. He was passive. I was indecisive. In a relationship, the highs can launch you to incredible heights of bliss. The support of the one you love most can empower you with newfound confidence and self-esteem. Whenever I was stressed or discouraged, he pulled me back to my feet and kept me grounded. He and I created memories that I will always look back on fondly. Regardless of the aftermath, they were beautiful, innocent times of two souls who became enraptured with each other. On the opposite spectrum, the lows can be crushing. These lows have the ability to depress even the most optimistic and joyful of people. Though I treasure those times of young love, what I don’t miss are the times of distress over his lack of response, or the times of heartbreak I felt after he betrayed me with another girl. He crushed my soul and cast me into deep wells of depression time and time again, eventually overcoming the positive memories of the past. I gave him the power to influence my emotions, something that required a certain level of trust. My trust was misplaced, however, and the consequences were devastating.

After months of a downward spiral, things fell apart. I realized I was in too deep, too preoccupied with someone who did not value me or treat me the way I should be treated. The relationship was toxic, and my dependency on a person I could no longer trust was mentally and emotionally draining. The glass bubble we had built around ourselves crumbled, leaving me emotionally shattered with heartache that plagued me for months to come.

You hear those stories about individuals who fall into depression and become suicidal, people who are so broken that it takes them months to heal into an emotionally stable state. You never think that it might happen to you, but it’s the natural fallout of dependency. I had grown too dependent on my ex-boyfriend, and though I left him, I ended up emotionally struggling for months. For a long, dark time, it seemed like my life was without purpose. Not that I was at the point of self-harm, but I was a breathing shell, a zombie. I had lost sight of myself, my identity slipped away as he became my purpose. Even now, I sometimes slip back a few steps in my emotional state.

It’s dangerous to grow dependent on another person. Life is one heck of a curveball, and things can change so fast. In the blink of an eye, the only remnant of your time together may just be your memories. We can’t let our entire being be dictated by another person, someone who is also flawed and trying to figure out their own path in life. There are just so many things in our lives to focus on; we cannot just give them up if a relationship fails.

Without the support of my family and friends I would have been driven to the brink. If there’s anything I’ve learned, it’s to never grow dependent on someone to the point when you find yourself thinking you can’t survive without them. You lived a perfectly fine life before you met that person, and you will do the same even if they leave. You are you, beautiful autonomous you who has control of your own life. Don’t ruin a good today because of a bad yesterday.There is so much to live for, and I thankfully realized this when my bubble was broken. I will forever be grateful for friends and family who constantly reminded me of this, and also of the fact that my ex-boyfriend is also human. I don’t harbor intense bitterness towards him anymore; I pity him for letting go of a girl who loved him so much that she was willing to give him her all. Considering that however, ironically, I am thankful. Because he let me go, I realized that if I did continue to give him my all, I would have left nothing of myself, nothing of the former me for my friends, family, the world, and that’s something I cannot and will not accept. I hope he has come to realize this too not only for me, but also for himself.

And here I am, enjoying and living life to the fullest. That isn’t to say to say there aren’t times that I miss him, or times when I wish I had someone special in my life. But what I value even more is my regained freedom to reconnect with friends, spend more time with family, explore the world, and pursue my passions. I will not be trapped in another bubble, nor put myself in such a vulnerable position. Independence is a beautiful thing, and it can be maintained even within a relationship. It’s just about making the right choices in forming relationships that are both healthy and happy. I really believe it’s possible, and I hope to do so with someone in the future. And once we do, the world itself will become our bubble, full of unlimited love and memories to be made.

Vanessa Yu is a sophomore majoring in neuroscience.