Relationships Help You Learn

For months I floated around, unsure of what I was doing with myself. Maybe it was because I had just graduated from college and I moved far from my best friends and my old life, or because I was still in shock and I was terrified of growing up.

In college I was a strong, independent, in-your-face kind of girl who refused to be defined by a man or a relationship. After that phase of my life was over, I allowed myself to believe that being with someone was better than being “alone.” I started talking to someone who I didn’t find attractive, fun, or interesting. Texting him was like taking to a brick wall, he didn’t understand my intellect or my humor. After the first time we hung out, I made a conscious decision to just be friends, after he kissed me I went home and I cried. For a couple of weeks I’d think of him and I’d feel terribly nauseous.

It’s not surprising that this relationship was nothing short of a disaster. I barely saw or spoke to my friends, and when I did I found myself putting on this act like everything was going great, I’d crack jokes about the intense arguments we were always having and I’d throw in some pathetic excuse to make it seem better than it was. Only I knew that I was lying to myself, and I was doing a poor job at it.

Whenever I was with him, I felt a shallow pool of emptiness. I wasn’t me. I like to fool around, be silly and crack jokes. Around this guy, I didn’t do much besides complain. I was incredibly self-conscious, and harsh on myself. I’d shrug all of the time because I was too tired to give an answer. I lost interest in reading and music. I loved to dance and be social on weekends but I stopped because his insane 6-day a week, 12 hour day, work schedule didn’t allow him any free time, so I let it absorb me and I lived by his schedule instead of my own. Everyone around me would tell me to end the relationship, that I deserved better, and that the guy was a total and complete asshole. I wouldn’t listen.

I was blanketed in a cloud of listless disappointments, yet I stayed. When I needed a shoulder, he never gave it to me. I was constantly being put on the back burner. He would say something rude or cruel instead of being sweet and comforting. I’d have interesting things to say and it would be too much for him to understand so he’d tell me that I was “closed minded” or say that I wasn’t making any sense. When I’d address the issue he’d never understand it. I’d waste my words time and time again, beating subjects to death, begging, pleading for this person to please understand where I’m coming from, please appreciate my world, and hold my hand and just be there for me.

It took me a while to learn that just because you’re intimate, and you define your relationship with a label, it doesn’t mean anything unless you share a strong connection. I knew he was wrong for me but I glanced over it because I wanted to make it work. This was the first person I’d opened up to in this way and I didn’t want my efforts to be in vain.

It wasn’t until a co-worker stopped me one day when I left work hysterical that I realized what I was doing to myself. That’s the last day I let a person treat me like I was worthless. It doesn’t matter how beautiful, smart, funny, or wise you are. Anyone can get stuck in an unhealthy relationship. I’ve always considered myself to be a strong woman and I’d never let something like this happen to me, but it happened. Ever since it ended with that person, I woke up from my fog. I cut off all contact and started living for me again and I finally found my happiness.

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