5 things I’ve learnt about love & relationships the past 10 years

I thought it might be apt to write about this, seeing that I’ve had the privilege to fail so many times when it comes to relationships. My first real boyfriend happened when I was 17 and 10 years later… I am wiser but nowhere close to marriage, kids and all that stable goodness that society keeps pushing you towards.

Some people are very lucky to have found love (and stuck with it) very early on in life. Others, like myself… find themselves constantly amazed by how resilient they have become. Thank you, heartbreak! I won’t say I’m jaded at all. It feels completely new each time and this kinda makes me wonder if I am not only daft but impossibly naive as well. 

Am I just making the same mistakes over and over? Or am I making new ones each time? Perhaps I’m really just more optimistic than I would like to admit. 

So let’s get into what I have managed to figure out:

1. It’s okay to get dumped.

Some of you are fortunate enough to always be the one in control. Well, I’ve been here a few times and I think I am much better as a dumpee than a dumper. You will digest and react to the reality of your situation a hundred different ways, over a thousand different days (if you are as dramatic and erratic as i am).

One moment you can be overcome by anger and the next by so much grief. There need not even be a third party involved but you suspect everyone on their Facebook account anyway.

It really takes time to feel normal again. You just have to do the time to feel fine. The key is to survive the nights and occupy the days with people and activities… tire yourself out. Distract yourself with something worth doing.  Work. Eat. Cry. Play. Lots of crying on the office toilet bowl for me, apparently. And lots of baby wipes. And so many bottles of… mascara. Gosh they really run out so quickly when you’re depressed. 

Be it days, or weeks,  months or even years later… i promise you that you will experience one very good day where you don’t feel like keeling over in pain at the thought of him/her.

The process is long and painful… my only advice is: don’t make it more destructive for yourself than it has to be. Don’t do things just for the sake of getting their attention. Every decision that you make – do it for yourself. Take care of YOU. Think about Jennifer Aniston and how she was dumped by Brad Pitt. It happens to the best of couples. This level of disappointment doesn’t get easier no matter how many times you go through it. But hey, if you bounced out of it once, you will do it again. Eventually you will think of yourself as a professional bouncer, keeping the bad jujus at bay. 

2. Don’t be that “psycho” girlfriend/boyfriend

Oh boy, it’s so easy to go crazy when you are young and in love. It’s only cute when you are faking it as a re-enactment to entertain your friends but trust me… there’s a really fine line between pretend psycho and full blown psycho.

Here’s a short guide as to what constitutes as psychotic behavior:

  • Tracking him/her down and showing up unexpectedly (when you are clearly unwelcomed)
  • Leaving the door open so that their cat/dog/bird and maybe even grandma would wander out and get lost so that you won’t have to share your partner with anyone else
  • Going through your partner’s phone secretly while they sleep.
  • The amount of missed calls you leave is equivalent to the number of spam e-mails the average person gets
  • Telling your partner to take a photo with a fork beside his laptop screen turned to your facebook profile page in his bedroom just to establish that he REALLY is where he claims to be – at HOME.

To be honest, if you are doing any of these frequently and you haven’t been dumped yet – your partner probably deserves it and is secretly enjoying it. Match made in looney town indeed. 

Hold up, before you squeal with glee and plot your next move, take a moment, close your eyes and try to recall if your partner had that break-up talk with you. BE HONEST NOW.

Psychos usually do not realise how their actions are affecting others. They feel like it’s the right thing to do at that point in time. It would help to gather some evidence and sit them down for an intervention. Show them the screenshot(s) of the 42 missed calls. Make sure you have the date and time stamp there and if the alleged psycho accuses you of photoshopping it… well seriously, you can’t help them now. Call a shrink, please. 

If you do not act like this all the time and it’s only with that particular guy/girl… find out what about them drives you completely insane and avoid such characters in future. You can’t live life being in a constant state of zombie-like psychosis. Snap out of it. You may key his car, but that’s it. Just key his car 😂

I think I truly enjoyed taking my crazy up to the next level because deep inside, I knew that he was just playing around with my feelings. Took great pleasure in watching the guy squirm. Hey i’m not proud of what I did but life works in very mysterious ways. I made a very good friend out of that psychotic episode 🙂

3. There will be certain problems that you can never solve by just talking about it.

I think we have read so many self-help books and articles about how communication is key in all aspects of life. Yes, it is important but do you find yourself going around in circles about the same few things each time you try to broach the subject? Does talking yield the result you want? Men and women hear things differently. Women specialise in indirect communication. We want our men to be able to INFER WHAT WE WANT. It’s frustrating for both parties.

You have to know when it’s time to stop talking and trying to fix things. Sometimes it’s totally okay to call it quits, as opposed to spending so much of your youth trying to fix something that refuses to be fixed!

Listen, we have got to realise at some point that he/she is never going to change and nothing you say or do will ever compel them to.

For instance; you really want your partner to take more initiative – plan out dates, maybe. You have told him/her many times but they just never seem to get around to doing so and it makes you feel very unloved, especially when you see others on social media being pampered and adored in the way you desire to be as well. 

Is it their fault for not being able to meet your expectations or is it yours for expecting them to be someone they are not? You start wondering if your partner doesn’t feel like you deserve it and all these other insecurities about yourself will start to manifest in your head.

STOP.

a) Ask yourself if you can live with someone like this for the rest of your life – with the assumption that they will never ever change their ways. Will it make you constantly resent him/her for not being able to give you what you want?

b) What are some of the things about him that you do love and appreciate? Is it enough for you?

Once you can be honest with yourself about what you want, figuring out what to do next will be much simpler. Sometimes, we just have to make peace with what we cannot have.

4. It’s bad enough having to end a bad relationship but it’s a million times worse when you have to end a very good one.

As you get older, you realise that there are very few people who really get you. In return, you truly respect, admire and love them with all your battered heart. You’ve both spent some time together and it’s clear that you get along but the circumstances surrounding you… is total shit. I’m talking about a hugeee avalanche of shit here. Not just regular unflushed toilet bowl kinda shit. The odds will never be in your favor and your relationship is constantly tested by external forces.

It could be the inability to compromise on religious beliefs or even geographical issues – who’s gonna move? It could also be that you are in love with someone of the same sex but that is just not who you are… you know very well that you are straight but you just happened to fall for someone who is so amazing that you forget all this gender appropriateness nonsense. 

It’s crazy to think that anyone would have to choose between the wonderful present and the gamble you have to make on your future. Do you choose to fight the odds together or do you accept the fact that neither of you are willing to compromise and just let it go?

Whatever the shitty circumstances are… a clean break is impossible because you both still love each other. You are not ready to let go. This kinda relationship experience wrings you dry as you both try your hardest to make it work but it’s clear that the only way is for one of you to make a huge HUGE compromise. 

You have a life changing decision to make and when you finally do, it will affect so many people. 

Be prepared to try a couple of times to really end the relationship. It’s almost like bashing a very potent cockroach with a newspaper and you happen to be one of those weird hippies who believe that all life are truly created to be equal.

You actually have to be downright cruel. You may also end up telling yourself every night that you did the right thing and that you are not a bad person.

But honestly it doesn’t matter what you do… as long as you summon the courage to make a decision. DECIDE and stick to it. Be the one to step up and take control if you find that you’ve been stuck in a shitty limbo for too long. 

The both of you can now begin to learn how to live apart again. Or live together under brand new circumstances. A period of adjustment is definitely necessary. Take time to come to terms with the decision you’ve made and for the love of God… don’t change your mind about it. It confuses the hell out of everyone. 

5. Mr Right doesn’t really exist… but there is a Mr Everything will be Alright.

Everybody would have some sort of idea, a list, even, with all the qualities that they think they would like in a partner.

Date a bunch of people who have those qualities… decide if you actually really like those qualities they have… Is it something completely non-negotiable? 

Some people look for the alpha-male type while others look for that independent girl who isn’t clingy. If you guys click and get along, great! If not, don’t be afraid to scrap some of the qualities you’ve listed down and replace them with others. Your priorities will significantly change as you go through life… especially when you start understanding yourself and your needs better. 

You will find yourself trading out the more superficial qualities like, “rich” and “handsome” for things like “caring”, “loving” and “considerate”. Don’t ever mistake nice guys/girls for boring and unadventurous. Passion cannot help you put a baby to sleep at 3am in the morning. Excitement cannot help you peel off your spanx after a long day at work, expecting nothing in return. It’ll be great if you can find a partner who can do the tough and ugly alongside the fun and crazy. That’s the dream, really.

I used to have 7 – 10 qualities that I look for in a potential mate.

As the years go on – I am only down to two; two very important ones that my life partner must have.

a) I have to be able to respect him wholeheartedly for he will eventually have to lead me and our offsprings (if any) in life, as well as hereafter. So we have got to have the same faith and values.

b) I must be able to rely on him to catch the ball if I drop it and I must be able to do the same for him.

Will my criteria change? Maybe. It’ll be nice to have financial security as well but that’s not all on him – I will gladly pull my weight too.

***

Making a lifetime commitment to each other and staying committed throughout are completely two different things. Just remember that getting married is not the end goal – something that I have to keep reminding myself over and over again. There is no point in making that commitment if you are not quite ready to do all that it takes to honor and protect your relationship.

It’s not so much a question of: “Is he right for me?”

It’s asking yourself and answering, honestly, “Is this the life that I truly want to live, as the main witness to his life, for now and for always?”

It takes two hands to clap as they all say… so be sure you clap yours at 100%, everytime, all the time, in the current relationship that you are in right now. No regrets, okay.

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