What the hell is with that title, am I right? Who talks about figuring that out? Well, I do. Because people change, and that’s really the only thing we can count on in life- that things don’t stay the same. And that’s a-okay.
I’ve been thinking a lot about relationships, lately. Probably mostly because I’m not in one and that gives me a fresh outlook on them. And because a lot of things lately have reminded me of an ex boyfriend of mine.
We got together my sophomore year of college. I was a naive 19 year old who had no idea what she wanted and he was cute, kind, and charismatic. He inspired a sense of adventure and excitement in me that has yet to be rivaled by even traveling the world. He was already in a relationship. She knew I was in the picture, and I knew she was in the picture. He was open with the both of us and thus I became a part of my first open relationship.
It went well for a few months. He came to see me every Tuesday and that was our day. It was just us. But after a while I realized that even if on Tuesdays it was just us….it was never really just us. And that bothered me. After a solid amount of time, I understood why I was no longer happy in the relationship. Because when I had agreed to all the terms and conditions of our relationship I failed to recognize that I might change my mind during the course of our time together. When we started dating I was wholly unbothered by his lady back home (did I mention we didn’t live in the same town? Well, now I did) and I was just excited to be with such a great guy. He has so much love, why not let him share it with two women, I thought.
But, as time went on, and I realized that I really did love him and I really wanted to stay with him long-term, I also realized that I didn’t want to play second fiddle. I started to pick fights, I was never very happy, and I just wouldn’t tell him why. I still wanted to be with him but I wanted to be the only one with him, and I knew he didn’t want that. So I hid it from him. And I tried so incredibly hard to be okay with being the dreaded other woman.
It didn’t work. We eventually broke up. It was a pretty nasty fight, and I don’t think either of us really knew where the other was coming from and I was a grade-A asshat to him. He wasn’t the best in that situation, either, but I really let all of my pent up angst fly. As a 19 year old, it was a whole lot of angst. We parted ways.
Now, obviously there’s more to the story, but that’s really about it. I entered into a relationship thinking everything was hunky dory, then I wasn’t so okay with it anymore and wasn’t honest. I even at one point asked him if he and I could just be together and he could break up with his other lady. I was expecting him to change just because I had changed my mind. That’s not a cool thing to do at all. I realize that now, as I look back on all of the pain that was caused to both of us by trying to force ourselves (mostly myself) into the mold someone else had in mind.
I’m very glad we broke up. I still often think about him and wish that we could have tried things one-on-one. But he’s going strong with a couple of girls in his life and they’re one big, happy group of lovebirds. And that’s great for him (them). That’s not at all what I want with my life, though, so that door has closed in my life and I think I’m finally okay with that.
This is a thank you to him. Thank you for teaching me about change and acceptance and a whole new side of myself. Thank you for providing a very memorable lesson into monogamy and how it works for me even if it doesn’t work for you.
And this is also a shout-out to all of the people in relationships that aren’t happy with the way things are going. Be honest about it! Be honest with yourself, so you can understand your pain. And be honest with your partner because they can’t try to help or really do anything if they don’t know how you feel and understand where it’s coming from. Don’t be afraid and try to force yourself to be what they expect or what you were when the two (or three, or four) of you started into the relationship. It’s okay to change your mind…and it’s okay for them to change their minds. Breaking up really isn’t the worst thing in the world….it’s (hopefully!) more preferable than living miserably in a relationship that causes more unhappiness than it does joy. Good luck, y’all.