I hate to admit that I have accepted more than I should have in my past relationships. Lying, manipulation, and worst of all…infidelity. Even back then, I knew continuing those choices were not ideal, as I did not dare to tell anyone. I knew what I was doing was wrong, but time after time I accepted the unacceptable. Because I believed my significant other truly regretted it and wanted to do better (spoiler alert: he did not), but also because I was scared to let go. I was scared to end a long-term relationship, thinking about the continuations.
Sadly, sayings like “once a cheater always a cheater” and “you can’t change a man” has time after time proved itself to be right. No matter how much pain his actions would cause me and how much guilt and ache he would feel when I was hurting, soon those feelings would pass and we would be back at square one.
This is where my past relationships have gone on longer than they should have. I was always too afraid to pull the trigger on us. The physical pain of the breakup caused by heartache was never the issue. An emotion much deeper was the reason for my continuing battle:
The feeling of failure.
Being in a relationship makes you feel proud, like you have accomplished something great. Another person loves you with all of their heart, and you are important to them. The two of you are great and happy together. It is not only you who thinks so, but also your friends and family. Even random strangers on the street compliments what a beautiful couple you make. So you listen to and believe them, and most of all you listen to your heart which tells you that this is it.
You are blinded by someone’s love, and it is a beautiful feeling, but it is also a scary spell to be under.
Because on the day your love breaks up with you, your whole world falls apart. And in the blink of an eye, you do not only lose your soul mate and best friend, and your life together, but it feels like you are loosing a part of yourself.
I felt like a failure because I could not save my relationship.
I felt like a failure because no matter how much I begged and cried, he would not take me back. It took me a long time to realise that you can not change someone else’s feelings. You can not force someone to love you when they don’t anymore. You can not fix something that is already broken.
But I failed to accept that. When we broke up, I desperately tried to fix it. I felt like if I could not do so, it meant that we had failed. I had failed.
And I lived in this feeling of failure for a long time. Longer than I like to admit. I loved him and I missed him so much that even though he had hurt me, I wanted him back. I wanted us back. Deep inside I knew that I wanted the idea of us back, the idea of the perfect couple that no longer existed.
Of course, that did not happen. Looking back at it today, I am incredibly happy it didn’t. But the desperation I felt when I was at my lowest was so haunting back then. The feeling of failing as a girlfriend. The feeling of failing at love. The feeling of failing in life.
Thinking about that failure was unhealthy. Because the reality was, I had not failed. I had loved and I had tried my best, which is all you can do in life. I had done my part and he had done his, and somewhere along the lines he had fallen out of love while I kept on falling deeper in it.
The harsh truth is; that is how love works sometimes. That is how life works sometimes. You might lose your job or your boyfriend or your girlfriend or your apartment, but so what? You wake up the day after and you are still breathing and able to see the world around you, moving as always.
And so you have to continue to move with it, away from your past and into the future. Away from old mistakes and into new experiences. You live, you try again. New loves, new heartbreaks. Because that is how life works for everyone. Just because you failed at something, it does not make you a failure. It just makes you as human as everyone else.
Featured Image via screengrab of A Break Up Story (Dance to James Bay’s “Let It Go”-Dance On)