Mistakes I made in my relationship

It was my first relationship. It took me 27 years to finally allow myself to open up and be vulnerable.
I met a man who, for the first time in my life, showed me that it’s safe. And what rewards wait if I do.

I was very happy, like never before. It was all new, all so exciting.

I couldn’t imagine my life without him. I felt that I was meant to wait all these years to finally meet him, that it was all meant to be.

It wasn’t. After a year we broke up.

And I had to face my life as a single person again, which turned out to be much more difficult than I thought.

I have been in deep pain ever seen. The worst is over, but the suffering hasn’t fully ended. Two months after and I still haven’t moved on.

And I realised I brought on myself a lot of this pain. I made a few mistakes for which I’m paying a hight price now: my wellbeing, my health, my happiness.

But there is good in every experience. Even the worst experiences can eventually turn into the most important and valuable lessons. And this one has become one for sure.
I’ve never felt so much pain in my life before. I’ve never struggled so much. But I also have never stopped to ask myself why is this happening? Why am I feeling all this pain? What was my part in all this?

I wish I had another chance to do things differently. Knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t have done some of the things I did, and I would’ve changed others. And I think both of us would have been happier. Maybe we would still be together.

He doesn’t want to.

So my lessons for now remain yet to be tested. I can only hope I will stick to them when I enter a new relationship. Till then, I’m working on making sure my self-worth is strong so that I never fall into this trap again.

I made many mistakes in my relationship, but these are the main ones and the ones that made this break up so difficult.

1. I put him before myself

When you fall in love, you want to spend every second with that person. Everything turns into the most amazing experience if he is there with you.
I felt the same. I was happy when we went together to the cinema. Or for a dinner. Or even when we just spent a lazy Sunday together.
His presence made me happy. And so I made spending time with him my priority.
Only after we broke up did I realise how big of a mistake it was.

Do spend time together, but don’t do it at the expense of yourself. That’s what I did.

Before I met him I had a very healthy daily routine. I would wake up early, go to the gym, take a shower, eat healthy breakfast and then go to the office. I felt energised, I was fit, and I was more productive throughout the day.
But when we started dating, and I started staying over at his place, I slowly let go of this routine.
I also let go of some of my hobbies, like painting, just because I was spending so much time with him.
I stopped seeing my friends, because when it came to choosing between the two, I would alway choose him. I would often cancel on my friends if his plans changed and now he was free to meet me.

And though I feel embarrassed to admit it, I also put him before my family.

I let go of things and people that were important to me to spend time with him. I myself became the second priority.

This is one of the big reasons why I’ve been struggling so much after the break up. With him gone, I felt lost. He became the center of my life, and now he was gone.
This is probably my main lesson. Even when you’re crazy in love, put yourself first. Not only does it allow it to show to your man that he needs to respect your time and cannot take you for granted, it is also essential for the relationship to last. The moment you let go of yourself, you become needy, demanding and negative. And these eventually can destroy any relationship.

2. I treated us as one

As somebody who has never been in a relationship before, I felt a bit uncomfortably when others treated us collectively as one. His friends would invite him for dinner, and it was assumed that I am invited, too.
It did make me feel as I am not an individual, and I didn’t like it.

Yet with time I let it in. I thought that this is what relationships are about – being one. That we should do everything together. That the other person always comes in the package. And I started liking it. I took it as a sign that our relationship is strong and serious.

But the truth is that it eventually caused more suffering when we broke up and I also believe that it contributed to our decision to split.

We are all individuals. We need our space. If you are always with your partner, if you do almost everything together, then slowly you feel like suffocating (or at least one of you). You will also become bored of that person.
No matter how long you’ve been together, you want to always leave some space for new discoveries. You want the other person to surprise you, to discover something new about them.
And above all, remember that he is who he is – which means, he is not you. He doesn’t think like you do. He doesn’t have the same needs or wants. Don’t force him nor expect him to. Respect his individuality.

And remember, that both you and him, you are complete the way you are. You don’t need each other to create the whole. You are whole, and you come together because together you help each other grow.

3. I though he was mine

When you get together with somebody, something interesting happens. In your mind, they become a permanent part of who you are.
So now not only are you a lawyer (or whatever other job you have). Not only are you a daughter, a granddaughter or a sister. Not only are you a runner (tennis player, dancer, and so on…). You are now his girlfriend.
This new role enters your idea of who you are. And so you start looking at him as something that’s yours. It’s your boyfriend. And as your boyfriend he should always consider you, he should do things you want him to, he should put you first, he should tell you where he is and so on…

I am guilty of this. I though I owned him. And when he stopped telling me he loves me, when he stopped appreciating me, when he stopped loving me – my thoughts were: “How dare you? You are my boyfriend. You have to.”

But the truth is, he doesn’t have to do anything. He has a right to do whatever he wants. Just like you wouldn’t want anybody to tell you what to do, don’t do it to your partner. You have a right not to agree with them, or not to like their behaviour. But that doesn’t take away their right to do it.

He is not yours. And so when he chooses to leave, and when he chooses to love another woman, he has a right to do it. You don’t have to agree with it, but you can’t force him to stop.

It is painful. Accepting that he doesn’t love you, and even more, that he now is going out with other girls, is the most painful part of my breakup. It still hurts knowing he is sleeping with other women. I can’t help but feel my heart breaking.

It’s easy to get angry at him. “How dare you? You were mine.” But he dares because he can.

This is probably the worst struggle I’m going through right now. One thing that helps is remembering that just like I never owned him, he doesn’t own me neither. I can’t control what he was doing when we were together and what he is doing now, but he also cannot control what I do. I have my freedom, I have my right to choose for myself. And he cannot impose anything on me. This is what I’m trying to hold on to.

4. I sacrificed myself for him

This is something I wasn’t aware of until recently. It was a journey for me to understand this.

I realised that certain events from my childhood made me feel unloved and undeserving. They made me feel uncomfortable as a woman.

All these caused me to act like somebody I thought my boyfriend wanted, rather than being myself.

I though I didn’t deserve love, and so I was willing to sacrifice who I really was for the sake of relationship.

I let go of things that I wanted and were important to me, because I didn’t want to risk losing him.
I started controlling my reactions, and rather than act in a natural way, I’d be very conscious of what he would want.
When something was wrong, I wouldn’t bring it up.

I didn’t want to be one of those emotional, nagging women.

Now, however, I have much more appreciation for my femininity. And I understand that emotions and nagging come along with caring and loving. It’s an essential part of every women, and it builds up every woman’s beauty just like her warmth and heart.

No relationship should ever require you to sacrifice who you are. It should be a safe place where you can fully embrace your true nature. Good loving relationships make you grow, make you better. They should never limit you.

Now I know.

It is quite painful to admit I could have managed this relationship better and take responsibility for its ending. I believe I caused myself additional pain.
But at least I take my time to really understand who I am, and what I truly need. Above all, I’m learning to love myself. And I also believe that once I truly learn it, love will come again to my life.

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