I knew for about a year that my relationship wasn’t going to work, but I still had a hard time letting go. Some nights, I’d be in bed and just think about how my partner was pretty great. He loved me, I could be myself around him, and I wanted to make his life better. And then I’d think about how I didn’t want to be there, and I didn’t feel fulfilled. For a long time I ignored and pushed back those thoughts. I even moved across the globe to be with this person, hoping that what I had been feeling would magically disappear.
When I finally made the choice to end it, I had to do so without thinking about what I’d be missing. Sometimes, it’s fairly obvious and depressing about what will no longer be there when the relationship is gone. Hand holding, cuddling, late night chats, and being with someone who loves you – these are wonderful things. It’s nice to have someone love you, right? We all want that to some extent – to be accepted, loved, and thought about. These aspects are comforting, and can make it hard to let go.
But those aren’t really what relationships are about – at least, not for me anyways. But unfortunately, I didn’t always think like that. I had a very selfish and narrow view of what a relationship should be. It should look like what I had. Two “nice” people coming together, saying cute things, making each other smile. But nothing was ever mentioned to me about being ready for a relationship. No one ever told me that I had to love myself before letting someone else try to love me.
Even with an amazing and caring individual by my side, ready to move across the world to be with me, I didn’t feel complete or even good. Maybe that has something to do with him not being the “right” person, but I don’t really believe in soul mates. What I do believe in is timing and circumstance. I don’t really think breaking up had to do with him as much as it had to do with myself. The problem wasn’t the other person. The problem was with me, and how I felt about myself.
Being in a relationship requires me to love and care for another person, not just receive that love. I will admit that in my past relationships, especially the most recent, I loved the person I was with. I wanted to make his life better and help him along the way, but I had a hard time letting him do the same for me. I wasn’t happy with his attempts to help me or comfort me or love me. I think that in his mind, he tried everything he thought would make me happy. And instead of accepting that, I rejected it. Sometimes I even made him feel bad about it. It was awful, and I regret those moments.
And this went on for years. Of course there are details I haven’t included, and instances that made me realize that this wasn’t what I wanted for my life. I don’t think there was a problem with the people I dated. No deal breakers or anything like that. It just happens that one person actually doesn’t really make you “whole.” Turns out, only you can do that. I have met and dated a number of people who are just kind and wonderful, but it was never good enough. Not because of them, but because of myself. I even began dating another wonderful person shortly after I broke up with my boyfriend. I didn’t really think much about it at first, but then I noticed the same patterns of unhappiness. I only knew the good of this person, so I couldn’t blame his personality or annoying habits for my unhappiness. It was really then that I started to notice the pattern, and I’m choosing to recognize it and deal with it rather than ignore it.
Another person can’t make me feel incredible if I don’t believe it myself. Ultimately, that’s what I’m trying to work on now. I truly don’t think that whether I feel good about myself or not has to do with being in a committed relationship. At least, it shouldn’t. That individual could be absolutely wonderful, but I’m trying to focus on being happy with myself. I don’t want to blame another person for my unhappiness; I know I’m capable of being content without someone else’s help. Of course, sometimes circumstances don’t make it easy – but I think that being happy with who I am, and if not, making changes to become the individual I’d like to be, is key before venturing into another relationship.
Submitted by an anonymous reader