I wasn’t expecting to ever be single again, but here I am. Single. It’s still surreal, but that’s probably because it’s a fresh wound. We called it quits only yesterday.
So, how am I feeling? I’m both devastated and relieved, regretful yet confident, depressed but also accepting of it. Essentially, I’m feeling a mixed bag of emotions. My feelings are overwhelming and they ebb and flow, but it’s part of the breakup process, which I’ve become familiar with. I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve gone through this process, but it’s hard to forget something so emotionally messy.
To help myself with my healing process, and perhaps to help anyone else that is going through a break-up, I would like to share some notable lessons I have learned from the three relationships that I’ve had. Well…one of them was a confusing friends-with-benefits situation, but it taught me a lot, so I included it.
1. My First Love
My first girlfriend introduced me to the world of dating and lesbian relationships. She was my first kiss and my first love. She supported me during my horrific experience coming out to my family. I enjoyed my time with her during my senior year of high school until we broke up during my first semester of college.
Although she wasn’t a terrible girlfriend, she left much to be desired. We seldom hung out outside of work or her house. She never wanted to do any of the activities that I proposed to her, but she would feign interest and then flake last minute. So, she also had horrible communication skills, which I somehow overlooked until she broke up with me by completely ignoring me.
From that relationship, I learned that I wanted a girlfriend that made an effort to spend time with me. I also learned that if someone hints that they aren’t interested in you anymore (AKA by completely ignoring you), take the hint. It’s not worth chasing people if their heart isn’t in it. Not everything is meant to last forever, and that’s okay.
2. The Dick, AKA the Friends-With-Benefits Dick
I hate talking about this guy, but he’s important for the purpose of these “relationship lessons.” To summarize our shitty interaction that lasted too many months: he never spent time with me outside of a bedroom, he didn’t respect me at all, and he was only my “friend” (with conditions) until he got what he wanted from me.
I learned that I needed to follow my heart. I had wanted to end the relationship for weeks, but I was afraid to end it. Thus, we only stopped being FWB after he was “done” with me, and he made that clear when he never reached out to me again. Ultimately, I had chosen to protect my fears at the expense of myself, and it took a long time to forgive myself for that and to heal from the wounds he left.
The main takeaway: DON’T TAKE SHIT!!!!!
3. My Truest Love
I was introduced to my most recent girlfriend during the darkest period of my life: I was depressed from the devastating and shocking loss of my cousin. She supported me, cared for me…she was so patient and kind to me. We became close friends. She chased me from the very beginning because she wanted me to be hers, and even when I was hers, she never stopped chasing me. By that, I mean that she continuously prioritized me and made me feel wanted. She valued me as a person. She initiated dates with me, and thus, we’ve gone on many adventures together. Being in love with her made me want to come out to my family for a second time, and she supported me through that. The relationship I had with her is the longest relationship I’ve been in, and she’s been part of significant accomplishments in my life. Our relationship was really beautiful, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Although there were so many amazing aspects of our relationship, eventually they weren’t enough to sustain a healthy relationship. In fact, things became very challenging between us as adulthood became more demanding. As young adults trying to navigate the most tumultuous time of our lives, we had been suffering as individuals and bringing that negativity into our relationship. It is impossible to sustain a healthy relationship when both people are suffering.
When I realized that we were enduring a repetitive, toxic cycle, I began to reflect on the lessons from my previous relationships. For the first time in my life, I took my own advice.
I’m proud to have been confident in myself to end things before it became more toxic or before we grew to hate each other. I followed my heart, and it was super hard…it still is hard, but I know I made the right choice. I’m also proud that I practiced bravery and patience with her so that we were able to break up in person, face-to-face. She was able to walk away feeling as respected as possible, which is really important to me. Thus, we ended things on a rather positive note for a breakup, so there’s potential for reconnecting if that’s in our future.
I’m sure there are lessons from this most recent relationship, but it’s still too soon to know. The pain is too fresh to be objectively reflective. If/when that happens, I’ll be sure to share those lessons.
Do you have any relationship lessons that you would like to share? Please tell me in the comments below!