Learn from my mistakes
“I never knew love could make me go to such extreme lengths,” I wrote in my journal when I was fifteen. “It makes me go crazy. It’s like I don’t even care about anything else. I just need him. His presence is the only thing that makes me happy.”
It was the second time I fell in love, and there was nothing different about how unhealthy my infatuation was.
I wanted love and attention. Validation. Stability. Tenderness. I was hungry for what I couldn’t get from my father, and I decided that another boy would solve everything.
He was my angel. My saviour. The only representation of male kindness I had encountered so far. I looked forward to seeing him every week, and those few hours spent with him were the only thing worth living for.
“It’s like I fall asleep each time I leave him,” I wrote. “Only to come back alive the next time he’s next to me.”
The thing is, we barely spoke. He occasionally laughed at my jokes and sometimes we were in a group together to work on a project as a part of our theatre class. That was it.
There was also a little detail I chose to ignore — he was in love with someone else.
That didn’t stop me from developing a super unhealthy crush on him for half a year and staring at him lovingly for such a long time that when his initial relationship didn’t work out, he opted for me. And spent the next two years with me.
I’d like to think I was more than a back-up. And maybe I was. I guess we’ll never know, and that’s okay.
What bothers me much more is how easily obsessed I got with both of my former boyfriends, a thing that’s quite understandable at such a young age, yet a big mistake to definitely learn from.
Here are 7 things I’ve done for boys I will never do ever again. And you shouldn’t, either.
My first boyfriend was a bully.
I have never been overweight, quite the opposite, but he always used to say my hips were “too wide.”
“They’re bones,” I replied when he brought it up the first time. “How am I supposed to make my hips smaller?”
So, I did. I hated exercising with passion until I was about eighteen, so you can probably imagine how miserable I was at fourteen, doing a home workout every single day for a month, panting and crying with a red face.
I cried because I knew I wasn’t doing this for me.
I cried because I knew I was going through something I detested, just to make myself good enough for him.
And I cried because, in his eyes, I wasn’t pretty enough the way I was.
I gave up after 2 months.
And after 3 unsuccessful breakups, the fourth one worked out. I haven’t seen him since, and I hope he’s a better man today.
Exercising is a wonderful thing when you do it for the right reasons. Make your body stronger because you care for it and want to give yourself some love. Don’t do it to win someone else’s validation.
If they make you feel like you have to change the way you look for them to love you, their love isn’t genuine. They’re not worth the effort.
Apart from telling me that I was too fat, my first boyfriend also liked pointing out my body hair.
I had a very bad relationship with my body hair for most of my life, and the main reason this came to be was my involvement with him.
He laughed at me when I didn’t shave my legs properly, he kept checking the area above my lip for a moustache (“You missed some hair here,” I remember him saying after I tried really hard to shave all signs of a moustache just for him), and he called me a bear in a mocking voice on various occasions, all of which made me feel like the ugliest girl in the world.
He also told all our friends I couldn’t shave properly after our first breakup. I became the meme for hairy girls, and I carried this humiliation within me for years to come.
What’s puzzling to me is the fact that I still got back with him three times after that.
Well, I learned eventually.
When I asked my current boyfriend about body hair, he told me: “I honestly don’t care about any amount of body hair. Do whatever you want.”
That’s a man who knows how to appreciate a woman in her rawness.
Everyone has preferences, but make sure that you don’t shave just because you feel inadequate for your partner in your natural state.
If you choose to shave, do it for yourself and your own comfort. No man is worth changing your body for.
Had sex when I didn’t want to
It was a common occurrence with my first boyfriend that when I didn’t want to make out, he called me frigid and a prude.
Luckily, this didn’t happen with my second boyfriend as he was actually kind and loving, but sometimes, I still had sex with him even when I didn’t want to.
Why did I do it then?
To get affection.
The longer we were together, the more disconnected and alienated we were from each other. Sex seemed to be the only way to keep something resembling love still alive.
It didn’t work and it only made me feel emptier.
If you don’t want to have sex, you should say so. It won’t solve your problems and the feeling of being loved is fleeting if genuine love isn’t actually there.
Have sex when you want to have sex. That’s the only good reason to do it. A good and mature partner will understand that.
Didn’t stand up for my sister
When my first boyfriend laughed at my sister for her speech impediment, I didn’t say anything.
When he mocked her and insulted her, I didn’t say anything.
I continued dating someone who routinely hurt my younger sister with his words, something I’m ashamed of until this day.
My sister and I had a problematic relationship growing up — we felt lots of hate for each other for multiple reasons, one of them being the fact that we had to share a bedroom and our personalities and lifestyles did not match at all.
Despite this, she always stood up for me.
I rarely did for her.
Anyone who’s mean or even impolite to your family isn’t worth your love. It’s a big red flag.
My current boyfriend chats with my sister regularly and is very kind to her.
And I’m ready to stand up for her anytime.
Dulled my fashion sense
I’ve always been very particular about my fashion sense — as in, most people would say it’s bad. I mismatch colours and patterns, and I love wearing colourful clothes and big skirts.
I used to tone my fashion sense down for boys because I didn’t want them to think I was a freak.
I even wore whatever they told me to wear a few times.
No man should ever feel entitled to the point where they demand of you to wear a certain type of clothes that you don’t want to wear. And you should never dull your fashion sense or change it just to make him happy.
Whatever you choose to wear, it’s beautiful as long as it makes you comfortable and you feel like it expresses you. If he can’t deal with who you are, he can pack his bags and leave.
There’s no space for a partner who doesn’t love you as you are.
Didn’t spend time with friends
In the past, every time I got a boyfriend, my friendships diminished a little.
I prioritised my partner over anyone else and I let my infatuation rule the world.
This caused a lot of struggles in my friendship with my former best friend. She felt like each time I got a boyfriend, I ditched her for him. She wasn’t wrong.
It led to building up so much resentment and expectations based on our past experience that when I did finally get a boyfriend in my twenties after 4 years of being single, she automatically expected me to cut ties with her.
I didn’t feel like she supported my new-found love and I also felt a lot of pressure to show her I had changed. This was one of the many reasons why our friendship eventually ended.
Don’t sacrifice your friendships for a new relationship. As happy as your partner makes you, friends are essential to your happiness as well.
Underestimating the power of friendships can seriously damage them.
Threw my identity out of the window
Last but definitely not least, I centred my world around my ex-boyfriends.
I became obsessed with the love and devotion I had for them, I was addicted to our intimacy, and I forgot who I was in the process.
I stopped reading books as much, something I consider essential to my personality. Every activity I participated in didn’t feel as good when they weren’t there. Every time I was without them, all I could think about was what they were doing — mind you, this wasn’t after a week of dating, but after months and months. The infatuation period should have ended by then.
But it didn’t for me.
It took me years to heal from my last heartbreak and to find myself again.
Presently, I’m more grounded in myself, I have a higher sense of independence and I know that breakups aren’t the end of the world, even when they feel like one.
It’s easy for relationships to consume you if you’re not paying attention.
So, do. Do focus on how your partner makes you feel and how you value the time you spend on your own.
Building my universe around someone else to the point of self-destruction has been one of the major mistakes I’ve made in a relationship. I won’t repeat that ever again.
Nor should you.
We do crazy things when we’re in love, especially in our teenage years.
It’s okay to make mistakes. How else would you learn and progress?
However, it’s important to pay attention to what mistakes you’ve made, what led you to make them and how you can improve in the future.
Self-reflection is the holy grail of self-improvement.
And the willingness to become a better version of yourself is one of the key steps to building a solid foundation for a happy and long-lasting relationship.
Source : Medium