In May of 2005 I found myself lonely, desperate and completely heartbroken. I was at the end of my relationship of 6 years. I wasn’t only losing a relationship, I was losing my fiancé … or as I thought of it at that time in my life, my future and my whole world – as I once thought.
Years later, as I look back at my life and relationship and think about why it failed I shamefully admit that there were so many reasons that I was blinded to. I turned a blind eye to many red flags and simply walked through the motions of what and how I thought a relationship should progress.
I was in my early 20’s when it started dating this fellow and at the 5 years mark we started talking marriage … after all, isn’t that how long most couples, on average, date before moving to the next phase in their relationship?
Had I known that this relationship would not have been my “happily ever after” would I have given so much effort, given so many chances, forgiven so quickly? .. probably not now, but as the person who I was then, I honestly can say I hadn’t given the whole idea of real love an honest thought … I simply wanted to be in love, loved and starting a future as a wife, and one day a mother.
In my past relationships i’ve had a horrible habit of selecting the wrong individuals to pursue. From physically, to emotionally abusive … i’ve managed to find all of these broken people and gather them under my wings. Time after time forgetting that I was the one who would pay for their “issues” in the long run.
I have to admit that over the years I progressively selected better situations, and individuals to share my world with however they were still extremely broken people… and they were, over time, going to break me down.
So, in 2005, at the end of my engagement I did what any heartbroken girl would do … I went out and bought myself a $50,000 car, went shopping, and started going out all the time. Meeting new individuals and getting more involved with the social scene. I was broken and digging an even deeper hole, but ultimately, this very move is what tossed me into my very own personal world of self discovery.
I slowly realized who I was as an individual. What I liked, what I didn’t like. What made me happy, what didn’t. To be honest, not many things did – I was living a life of avoidance by keeping myself so social. I wasn’t dealing with the issues that had compounded over the years – the effects of the physical and emotional abuse that I had endured over the past decade of my life. ALL of my long-term relationships.
If there is one thing that I wish I could have understood in my very own personal experience was that the emotional abuse that I endured was far more damaging than that of the previous physically abusive relationship. In my world I had things ass backwards … I, for some crazy reason, justified that if I wasn’t being hurt physically then I was in a normal relationship. I think that’s why the relationship lasted as long as it did. I was passive and lacked self-love.
The relationships ended in their own ways, and I look back now thinking 1) it was inevitable, and 2) how did that not happen sooner? Some of the last memories I have of that relationship were of my waking up alone in bed and finding that my keys were taken out of my purse, my car “gone” and my fiancé out until the wee hours of the morning (he would take my car so he didn’t have to open his garage door and potentially wake me up). Random phone calls to him that were quickly hung up on, or answered with a “wrong number” response – until I realized these were women he was out meeting during those wee hours of the morning.
I sacrificed my sanity, wants, needs and desires as a young woman wanting to explore the world and find happiness. I was betrayed, hurt, broken and oh so confused. I devoted my world to someone who didn’t deserve the attention, and I was left with a lot of negative and confusing feelings to work through over the next few years. A LOT!
Time and years moved on and eventually I met my husband – and proudly I can say, with confidence, that this is the first normal relationship that I have ever been involved in. He is patient, respectful and full of love. Things that I deserve as an individual, wife, and mother. We can have the best connection doing absolutely nothing at all because there is a mutual respect and love that we share. It is genuine.
Taking time to understand who I was – the things that I wanted. The things that I liked, and didn’t like allowed me to have the confidence and develop the self-love I required in order to be available for that “normal” relationship that I had been seeking. Looking back I realized that I had nothing in common with those people. Yes, I cared about them, and they cared about me but that was not love. You can care about many people, and many things in your life but it doesn’t mean you are meant to give your life to them to the point where you are giving up your own thoughts, and desires in life.
A part of me feels that I wasted much of my young adult life not knowing what a normal relationship was but it allowed me to appreciate the real and true one that I now have. As in any relationship/ friendship there are times when we, as humans, do come across like we take that person for granted. Perhaps I do not say it enough, or show it enough at times but I truly appreciate the lessons that life has given me … I now know how to love myself, and because I am able to do so I am now able to share my life with my amazing husband and family.