Relationships are very hard work. It takes a combination of patience, communication, selflessness, and a slew of other important variables for them to be successful. In a perfect world, both people in the relationship are giving the same amount of effort. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world, so this doesn’t always happen.
When you love someone, it can be easy to overlook their shortcomings. Why? That’s simple: because you care. You can find yourself falling into the habit of overcompensating for your partner’s shortcomings. In my experience, that presented itself in the form of me busting my ass and giving about 95%, and receiving about 5% in return.
Because I wanted the relationship to work, I completely lost touch with reality. They say love is blind; well, you coulda called me Stevie Wonder and that wouldn’t have been very far off the mark. Though I was having to overcompensate for my partner’s lack of effort, in all honesty, I wanted to do it. I thought that me putting in all of the extra elbow grease was just showing how much I cared. And though that part was very true, it didn’t make up for the fact that he just wasn’t willing to give me any more effort than he already was, which was extremely little.
I was wearing my rose-colored glasses and had no intention of taking them off anytime soon. If we’re being real here, and we are, I truly thought I was very happy. I was investing so much of myself and my time in this relationship, in this person. It became my number one priority. I stopped spending time with my friends. I manipulated my life schedule to become more accessible to my partner. I abandoned ideas of moving out, because it would mean we didn’t live near each other. I pushed aside my plans of applying to law school because he wasn’t keen on the idea.
All kidding aside, I was literally letting my relationship dictate every other part of my life. I thought that all of the extra effort I was putting in was just an investment in my future. I kept telling myself that the grind now would be worth it later. That if I would just bite the bullet for a little while longer, it would pay off over time. I was willing to do it because I cared, and don’t believe in quitting when the going gets tough. I thought that my effort was safeguarding the relationship, and me in the process. But life has a funny way of teaching you lessons, sometimes.
I got dumped. Hard, and out of left field. And then found out that I got cheated on, too. Heavy shit, I know. After everything I had sacrificed and all of the time and effort I had put into this thing, it still wasn’t enough. I realize now, that nothing I ever did would have been enough for this guy. I had no idea that I was completely losing myself in the process. I had completely forgotten to ask myself what I wanted.
This breakup threw me on my ass. I was a wreck. My friends and my family were worried about me; hell, even I was worried about me. This wasn’t the Taylor I knew. I pride myself on always being a steadfast, unemotional rock of a human. And then suddenly, I found myself feeling way too many feelings all at once. But one week turned into two. Two weeks turned into four. One month turned into three, and the further away I got from ground zero, the more everything made sense. I was gaining some clarity. I had been ignoring my own wants and needs for a long time. I had been overcompensating and knocking on what was essentially a locked door for way too long.
I had to come to terms with being alone, something I sincerely thought I wasn’t going to have to think about again. I had a network of extremely supportive friends and family, but it was up to me to have to pick myself back up. Slowly but surely, I started investing that same amount of time and effort I had been putting into that relationship, into myself.
It didn’t take long before I realized that I was happier than I had ever been. I was laughing out loud more than I had in ages. I was living completely in possibility, doing things I wanted to do, when I wanted to do them. I started to write again. I applied and got into law school. I moved out of my small town and in with my best friend. Big shit started happening for me, almost immediately.
It took getting knocked on my ass, absolutely leveled, to come to terms with the fact that I deserved a hell of a lot more than what I had been getting. I had a lot to offer and deserved a person who would give me the same effort that I was so willing to dish out. It was a painful lesson to learn. It ripped the rose-colored glasses that I loved so much right off of my face. The light was blinding for a fleeting moment, but my eyes adjusted. Getting dumped and cheated on by someone I completely trusted really sucked, but in hindsight, I’m glad it happened. The only place I’m going is up, and I’m building a bad ass life on top of what is the wreckage of a relationship that was never going to work. And hey dude, if you happen to be reading this: I thank you. *drops mic* .