08 Jul Sunday’s Secrets: 5 Things I Learned From My Ex.
15 months. That’s how long my ex and I did the relationship dance. 6 months. That’s how long it took me to step out of the jig. All of the twirling left me dizzy with insecurity and uncertainty.. and I simply wanted out. I was unhappy with what would seem like [on paper] the perfect guy. I was wading in misery and drowning him with toxicity. I was so focused on trying to force something to work that was completely out of order, that I forgot to care for myself. Indecisiveness overwhelmed me when contemplating writing about him and our major fail of a relationship. I wasn’t sure if immortalizing the ugliest parts of us on the internet would heal me or hurt me. As with all things, I decided to share a piece of this chapter in hopes that it will heal some part of some one.. somewhere. As with all chapters of your life, lessons are embedded somewhere in between the smiles and tears. Here are 5 things my last relationship taught me.
- It’s okay to have expectations for your partner. In fact, I now think it’s necessary. Much like you expect certain things from your friends, or jobs, or self… you should have a clear understanding of what you want [and don’t want] from a partner. Voice those expectations early on, and if your partner is unwilling or unable to meet your needs, perhaps you should reconsider. Of, course I’m not advocating against compromise….that’s also a necessary part of a great relationship. But, you are allowed to not budge on certain things. Relationships are subjective, what you need may not be what I need, or your mom, or your friends. And that is OKAY. Know your needs, stand firm in them, and do not compromise on what YOU NEED to appease someone else. Because, eventually, you will inevitably be miserable and starving for said thing.
- Sex is not the only form of intimacy. It’s vital for me to have a partner who is intentional about intimacy in all ways. Especially in ways that I understand. If intimacy is a language, I think it’s important to converse with someone who shares your native tongue. This way, less gets lost in translation.
- I need to be more proactive at healing my traumas. I have all the trappings that make a good girlfriend…on paper. But, not being healed from things in my past, in some ways, made me a subpar partner. Emotional PTSD from relationships is a very real thing. My distrust for all men spilled over into my relationship and festered. While it’s nice to have someone who is willing to help you unpack your baggage, I’ve learned that its best to show up with an already almost empty suitcase. Unpack your shit on your own.
- Opposites do not attract (in my humble opinion). Sure, it’s intriguing to meet someone who’s different. They offer a new perspective on things and can open your mind and heart to so much. But… some differences can be more harmful than helpful. My ex and I shared different circadian rhythms: we went to bed and woke up at completely different times. This made it hard to hang out. Our ideas of “fun” were not the same. I’m vegan… he hated vegetables. Our ideas on work and how much time should be spent doing said work…not the same. At the end of it all, it was the culmination of these differences that made the relationship feel forced. I learned that you are who you are, and its best to find someone who NATURALLY aligns with you than to break yourself trying to mold someone into it.
- Take it slow. Recently a friend told me that you can’t rush forever, best advice I received all year. I think that if my ex and I had taken more time to know each other we would’ve seen our differences early on. I’m to blame for this. I’m notorious for rushing into things because of the rose colored glasses I refuse to take off. Get to know who someone REALLY is. Know their quirks, their flaws, what makes them unique and beautiful. If you are meant to be together a few extra months or weeks of discovering who they are won’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
Perhaps the biggest lesson I learned is that it is okay to let people go. Even good people. Sometimes,it is okay to be selfish with yourself, for yourself. I’m re-evaluating what it truly means to be in love: with self and with a man. And learning how to balance the two. What are some lessons you guys have learned from past relationships? Let’s keep the convo going in the comments.