If It’s Not Right, It’s Wrong: Relationship Epiphanies for the New Year

light-person-woman-fire

light-person-woman-fireThe New Year (and a much-needed clean slate) has finally arrived, so out with the old and in with the new! But wait… let’s not leave behind all of the insights we gained.

2016 was a big year for me. I fell in love for the first time, diving head-first into my first-ever serious relationship, suffered through my first break-up, and made my first Tinder account (then deleted it, then downloaded it again).

Needless to say, it was a year of many firsts, and through the thick of my salty tears cut with throaty bile, I may have learned a thing or two. Or six, to be exact…

1. He’s not going to change for you.

In college, I repeatedly went for jerks with commitment issues. When one of my friends would warn me, “don’t go for him, he’s notorious for treating girls like shit,” I would smile wryly in anticipation. Challenge accepted! I would be the girl that could change him. Just because he treated her like an object, that didn’t mean he would treat me like one! (Spoiler alert: he didn’t change for me).

Call me delusional, call me insecure, call me whatever you want, but while you’re at it, think back to the last romantic comedy you watched. It might have been John Tucker Must Die or a classic like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days; either way it featured a cocky, chauvinistic bachelor who morphed into husband material when the beautiful and self-respecting female lead took his heart.

Popular culture is daring us to go for the asshole and change him, because going for the nice guy means that you are desperate and settling for a boring relationship. But, in 2016, I broke my beer-guzzling Frat-Boy streak and went for a nice guy. A really nice guy, with female friends (because women AREN’T just for fucking) and feminist values. Cue the beautiful, freakishly passionate relationship. Note to self: go for the nice guy.

2. If it’s not right, it’s wrong (to quote Bob Dylan)

I was terrified to leave my last relationship because what if he was THE ONE, my SOUL MATE, and my only chance at true love? I clung to our forever and fantasized about having his children. But it wasn’t the right time for either of us—him, an aspiring musician in LA, and me, an aspiring writer in Paris. My older and wiser role models tell me that there’s no such thing as a soul mate. Apparently multiple people enter your life that could be right, and you end up with the one that your life circumstances select for you.

3. You will survive… I promise

Take it from someone who recently went through a big break up. It stings more than they tell you it will, but that’s because there’s no way to capture in words the crushing void that will be left in the wake of his departure. I’m the most emotional person I know, and I’m still here, living, breathing, and even smiling. It just takes time. So sit back, relax, and enjoy the grieving process as much as possible. Indulge in the sorrow. Run yourself a bubble bath and eat a burrito (you deserve it).

4. It’s more fun to be a whore than a Madonna.

This one’s pretty self-explanatory.

5. Ghosting is a real thing

As defined by Urban Dictionary, ghosting is “the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with the person the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date.” Suffice to say that ghosting is a pretty immature and cowardly move and you shouldn’t do it (communicate openly and honestly, everybody). But what about the other side of things?

When ghosted, you have a choice: you can either dwell on “what did I do wrong?” (a question that our society serves women for breakfast each morning), or you can feed your ego a little bit until you are ready to forgive him and forget him. Ghosting gives you the space to create your own narrative, so try entertaining these possibilities when the wound is fresh: Maybe he died, maybe his cell phone broke, maybe he figured out that you were WAY out of his league and got intimidated, or maybe he got scared of the intense feelings he was developing for you.

6. Guys have feelings, too

 

Sometimes I get so caught up in my feminist agenda that I quickly and easily dismiss every guy as an “asshole.” It’s just so easy and it feels kind of good, especially when he’s offended you. Be honest, how many times have you said the following to a friend: “He’s such a dick/douche bag/asshole/jerk”? 

I always thought this was harmless rhetoric until I witnessed my nineteen-year-old cousin crying a few days ago. I truly didn’t think he was capable of doing so—I mean why would you cry if you were a tall, muscular, objectively stunning, and very popular male? His mom jokingly called him a “douche” and hit a nerve. Lesson learned: Sticks and stones may not break bones, but guys are more sensitive than they look.

 

Esmé Valette is a recent graduate of Middlebury college. She is now working in Paris, France as a freelance writer and part-time teacher. Follow her adventures here!

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Discussion about this post

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