Lessons Learned From a Bad Breakup
Because I have always been an independent person, I never felt like I truly needed someone in my life. I never really pushed for full commitment from guys, unless they stated that’s what they wanted. As long as I felt like I was important to them, I wasn’t so worried about what they were doing when I wasn’t around.
But a few years ago, I entered my first real, long-term relationship. It was not quite what I imagined it would be, and after it was over, I realized that I was blind to a lot of warning signs that this love was not infinite, like I had felt so deeply it would be.
Tipping the Scales of Effort:
It was simple in the beginning (isn’t it always?). He was a guy I had known through mutual friends and had a class or two with in high school. When we started seeing each other, I felt this crazy, sexual chemistry with him, and was comfortable in a matter of weeks. However, even as we progressed into a committed relationship, I noticed that it was me making the effort to see him, and rarely the other way around.
So, I mentioned this to him. I wanted to feel like I mattered to him, and he assured me that I did, but he just “liked when I hit him up.” At the time, I accepted this selfish remark. This small statement was actually him just keeping the relationship in his control, exactly how he wanted it. This was the first sign I should have noticed: There should be a balance of effort made; both people should share control.
We weren’t always hanging out, but every night at some point, our paths would meet. As our problems grew, he would come over or hit me up later and later, numerous times he after 3am. Eventually, I grew a backbone and told him this was not going to work; we needed nights COMPLETELY apart. I thought it would be healthier for the relationship because this sleeping schedule was affecting our sex life. I was always too tired because of the late nights, and he would pester me so much that I would end up giving in. It was not even enjoyable for me. I’ve always had a high sex drive, but I need my sleep to function. He didn’t understand that if he would be considerate enough to come home early, I wouldn’t have to be pestered for sex — I would want it.
Set Aside and Put Down:
It was almost as if I was his secret. Everyone knew we were together, but we were rarely in public together. In the almost three years the relationship lasted, my friends had probably encountered him around ten times. This is not okay. When you are with someone, not only do you have a life with each other, but you should become apart of each other’s lives. I’m not saying become completely consumed into one, but be present enough to show that you want to be a part of all aspects of this person’s world.
I was ready to be a part of his life; I wanted to get to know his friends better. Time and time again, the invitation wouldn’t come, or it would happen late after the night was almost over. The random times I was around his friends would be followed by accusations of flirting, which turned into me being called a slut and a liar. I knew that I had done nothing inappropriate, so I would defend myself and my feelings towards him time and time again. I had never in my life been emotionally put down by someone before, and I couldn’t believe it was from the one person that I truly loved.
This behavior is not normal. BIG RED FLAG. The accusations and name calling were constant. And coming out of NOWHERE. Why would he accuse me so much of something unless maybe he knew he was capable of it? I’m not sure why I stayed with someone that hurt me so deeply, but at the time, his opinion is all that mattered to me.
Moments of Clarity:
With more time to think, I was able to see that although I was in love, I was not happy. It’s the most conflicting feeling I’ve ever experienced. How can something that once felt so amazing hurt so badly, and how could you still beg for it even though it hurts? I didn’t even feel like a girlfriend anymore. I was always the one driving, even though he had a car. I would make us lunch and clean up afterwards. I would be the one who paid for food most of the time, although he did pay sometimes. It felt like being a babysitter. I was so fine taking care of someone, but no one was taking care of me. So why did I want to stay?
Deciding to Take my Life Back:
One day, I had to practically drag him out of the house to go get lunch at a restaurant, a common issue in our relationship. During this lunch and afterwards back at his house, I kept thinking, “why am I here?”
“I can’t do this anymore. I love you, but I haven’t been happy in awhile and I don’t think you are either.” I said it even before I realized what I was doing.
I honestly could not believe how much of a shock it was to him. I had been struggling with the decision to leave for months. I think deep down he felt like I was way too attached to ever leave him. That, although I would complain about stuff that he never changed, I would just deal with it because we were in love.
All You Need is (Self) Love:
Over time, I began to fall back in love with myself. My friends and family always told me how happy I looked and how relaxed I was. I was in a better place, and it was noticeable. I found my worth, my strength, and my focus. This relationship taught me that things should never be one-sided. Both people must put in an effort, be considerate of each other, and help each other grow into the people they want to be.
I am free to live for me, to put my own needs and wants before someone else’s. I feel like I have taken control of how I live my life again instead of trying to adhere to a schedule someone else makes for me. I now know it’s okay to be consumed in my own goals and activities in order to build the future I see for myself and that it’s okay to do it alone.
I love myself, and that’s what is most important.