My friend had to knock some sense into me the other day about my relationship. I was feeling sad and depressed and very much like a victim in my current circumstances. I had assumed that feeling was coming from the fact that I was scared of losing my boyfriend, since I had just confided in her that I didn’t think the relationship was working anymore. And she told me that she didn’t think I was sad about that, she felt I was sad because I wasn’t being true to what I want. That for a little over two years I had been lying to myself.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You have been in this same cycle pretty much since the two of you have been together. He isn’t providing you what you want and you have continued to accept that.”
As the saying goes, what we put up with we end up with. Subconsciously I’ve known for a long time that that is what the problem in our relationship has been, but I was avoiding much conflict about it because I didn’t want to let him go.
Any time I feel sad or want to complain about my circumstances, this particular friend serves me up a healthy dose of tough love.
“If you keep accepting things for the way that they are then you are in a much worse position than moving forward. Do you feel good right now?”
“No,” I admitted.
“Exactly. You’re accepting nothing but crumbs from him and then trying to emotionally manipulate your way into getting what you do want. You’re never going to get it that way.”
I had to meditate on that for some time. My boyfriend accuses me frequently of being emotionally manipulative, something I believe has been practiced into a habit since early childhood. (I blame it on being the middle child.) It’s interesting to me that I use that technique and my friend suggested it had to do with my constant need to control.
You see, it takes a lot of courage to stand up for what you want and not accept anything less. It takes courage because the alternative is potentially losing someone you care about. But if they aren’t willing to meet your needs then they aren’t the right person for you anyway. In an effort to not lose him I keep the tightest hold that I can onto him while acting desperate and borderline hysterical in the process.
It has taken a long time for me to understand the difference between the things that I need and the things that I want. It turns out, you can really tell what you need by how you feel about not getting that thing for days/weeks/months later. For example, my boyfriend was out of town on my birthday. Not for work, and not because of some preplanned trip. He was out of town because his dad had a free plane ticket for him to come home and he couldn’t turn it down. Not even the celebration of the birth of the person he loves the most could keep him from going on that trip. And so, he went and didn’t invite me, and so I was left spending my birthday giving my friends excuses for as to why he wasn’t present.
I was upset and angry when he told me and we had a massive fight about it. And I was upset many weeks and months later. But then I started in with all the excuses in the world for as to why it makes sense that he wasn’t there for me. He has to see his son, he comes from a family that doesn’t celebrate birthdays or holidays, blah blah blah. I was the lowest priority on the totem pole and I (begrudgingly) ACCEPTED that position. I cried and I told him how hurt I was and how unacceptable that behavior had been and then allowed everything to go back to normal. He gets a hall pass for missing his girlfriend’s birthday? Wow, what a doormat I am.
And the thing that feels the worst to me is that I’m a very strong and confident person in my real life who never accepts less than what she wants. It’s become increasingly confusing as to why I would allow that to be okay in my intimate relationship. The more it happens, the more I come to expect it, the more he thinks it’s okay. I’m on this vicious hamster wheel of disappointment and yet I’m so AFRAID to get off.
Well, FUCK THAT. I’m done. I’m done being this sad girl who is able to do nothing more than express when I’ve been slighted. I’m an empowered woman who will no longer accept a bunch of bullshit excuses for treating me like an afterthought. The women who get what they want are the ones who say, nothing less than that will do. If you’re not willing to step up, then BOY BYE. I’m channeling my inner Beyonce so don’t give me a baseball bat or I will smash up some windows.
There is this fear inside of me that wells up that says, I’ll never love someone as much, I’ll never connect with anyone as much, I’ll never be as attracted to someone as much and YET…I’ve felt that way about at least 3 other men in my past so I guess I’ve been wrong every time. Fear is what will keep you complacent and stop you from growing and moving forward. I have to get clear about what I want and what I can’t accept and only vibe from that place. I will never be happy otherwise.
If I need my boyfriend to be present for my fucking birthday then that is what I’m gonna get. It doesn’t matter how small or insignificant the request can seem. If it’s important to you then make sure that you get it. The result of not getting those things is built up resentment, anger, frustration, and eventual breakup anyway. Leave with dignity so you don’t have to leave when you’ve become a shell of a person and are so beaten down that it might take months, or even years, to recover.