I’ve been single for the past two years after being in an on-again-off-again relationship for six years. Needless to say that during those six years, I learned a few things about love and romance. Just as in every relationship, no matter which type, there were good things and there were bad things about it and I’d like to think that I’m the type of person who wouldn’t stick around if the bad outweighed the good for too long. Unfortunately, that wasn’t exactly the case and I ended up sticking around just because it was easy (for the most part, at least) and what I was used to. I’m not saying that it was a bad relationship. On the contrary, for how young we were (we started dating at the beginning of freshman year in high school), we were together for an extremely long time. At times, I was really surprised it lasted that long. It wasn’t that the relationship went bad, it was more of the fact that we both sort of fell out of love, I guess you can say. I know it sounds like a bit of a cliche, but that’s what happened.
We’re still friends now and whenever we get together and hang out from time to time, we get into these discussions and little arguments about random things. This happened a few months ago and I asked him, “Are you remembering now why we’re not together?” He told me no and I just laughed and said, “Well, I am!” We both then started laughing. Later on I stopped to think about how our relationship was. After spending time with him again, I got a hint of all of these things that he used to frustrate me for so long and I always wondered why I stayed with him, both officially and unofficially–long story, believe me. Then, I remembered that I’d been in love for a big chunk of that time and didn’t want to think that I was falling out of love with him. Because you know, we were young and in love and even though we were young, our relationship was the one that was going to last forever, the one everybody would be jealous of, blah, blah, blah…obviously things didn’t turn out that way.
One very important thing I learned about relationships through my experience has been how your significant other is supposed to treat you. Maybe I’m just being quixotic in thinking this, but they should be the one to take care of you and bring you up when you’re feeling down, not the one who brings you down in the first place. When I hear about other people’s relationships, whether they’re my friends’ or friends of my friends’, it just boggles my mind when I hear about some of the things their significant others do or say and how it makes them feel as a result. Sometimes I just want to yell at them (sometimes I actually do yell at them) to speak up and tell the other person what they’re doing and that they need to cut it out. The worst however, is when the other person actually knows what they’re doing and yet, they don’t bother fixing it or anything. That right there is enough reason to leave, in my opinion. I don’t know. I just think that if your significant other knows that they’re hurting you and they don’t seem to care or they use the excuse, “this is who I am and I’m not going to change,” (yes, I have actually heard this) that’s just total bullshit. I’m sorry, but it’s ridiculous!
Why the hell are you in a relationship?!?!
I just want to go up to these people and shake–or even better, knock–some sense into them because they are clearly not relationship material.
There’s also what I like to call the forbidding business–as in “I forbid you to hang out with other guys/girls (depending on you, your gender and the nature of your relationship).” I’ve come across at least two cases of this and let me just say that that is just ridiculously beyond ridiculous. This becomes even more ridiculous if your significant other doesn’t bother to spend time with you in the first place. They have no right forbidding you about anything, especially if it’s something they can provide for you but aren’t doing so in the first place. If you’re in an open and honest relationship where you know you can trust each other, it shouldn’t matter who you spend your with when the two of you are not together.
Another thing that I’ve learned is the importance of being independent and having a life outside of your relationship. I was lucky enough that once I became single, I had a lot of other stuff going on outside of the relationship that I didn’t really become lost. I know people whose lives became so wrapped up around their significant others that once the relationship ended, they become so lost trying to figure out what to do with themselves and I know people in relationships right now, who are in the same situation now and I worry for them because–as negative as this sounds–shit happens and there’s no guarantee for forever; really when you think about it, death is the only guarantee in life.
I don’t know if that’s cynical or what, but that’s just the way life works.