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Admitting you have a problem is the first step

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My parents have always had a dysfunctional marriage, and it wasn’t based on love, but convenience. They’re still together because they don’t believe in divorce. My dad is very demanding, and my mom has always been submissive and catered to his needs, although she resented it. As time passed, she just became accustomed to it. I grew up thinking this was how relationships were supposed to be.

Although I’ve always been quite feisty and outspoken, when I got into my first real relationship, I became a doormat and let my boyfriend walk over me. I gave him everything I could give, was there whenever he needed me, and he took complete advantage of it. He would go out every weekend and get drunk with his friends, and every weekend at three in the morning, I would pick him up and take care of him. I never got anything for Christmas and my birthday, but would plan amazing surprises for him anyway because I loved surprises and making people feel loved. The more I gave and got nothing in return, though, the more I started to resent him, but yet I cared so much about him. I didn’t need him to buy me things. I just wanted him to be there when I needed him, but sometimes he would disappear for days without a word and just show up whenever he wanted something from me. Finally, on New Year’s by myself, after I sat at home and cried, he called me and told me that things would change after I got fed up and decided I couldn’t do it anymore. I gave it a chance, and nothing changed. I changed, though, and learned from it, but there were plenty of sleepless nights and tears shed in the process.

In my second relationship, I became more assertive. I stood my ground and let my boyfriend know when I wasn’t happy, gave a lot less, and was a lot more demanding. I realize now that we were on two different pages. He was ten years older than I was, but a lot more emotionally immature, and would smoke weed everyday. I hated it. I was physically attracted to him and he was fun to be around, but we couldn’t agree on anything. I cared enough about him, but later on I found out that he never wanted any kids, and I couldn’t imagine my life without any. We were able to compromise on getting a dog, and planned on moving to Texas together. As it would happen, though, one day I found something suspicious, which led to the discovery of videos in his computer of him having sex with several different women on the sheets and bedding that I had helped him pick out the weekend of my birthday. I was blindsided and humiliated. I knew we had problems, but it’s normal for couples to have problems. I just kept trying to make sense of it all, wondering where I went wrong, and I just didn’t understand. When I confronted him about it that day, he screamed at me that it was my fault for being nosey. He begged for me back later, and wanted to throw a ring into the equation, but the damage had been done. I cried for three days straight, and then I stopped. Everyday, I looked in the mirror and told myself that he didn’t think I was good enough until I just grew numb. It hurt at first to realize it, but then eventually I learned to accept it. If he didn’t think I was good enough, I had to believe that I was. After I was out of that relationship, I also realized how much happier I was without him. I never wanted to be in a relationship again if I was settling, and then took my first trip overseas by myself to see the tallest building in the world.

After I started dating again, I met someone, and was honest and told him that I couldn’t afford to get too attached. He told me that no matter what I went through, he would never do the same to me, and I needed to let go of the idea that all men were douchebags. I fell for it, and when I found out that he was a complete douchebag, he told me that I deserved it because I always suspected him of the worst anyway.

After that, I dated even more cautiously when I thought I was ready, and it was the same process of dating and dumping, which earned me the nickname, “The Heartbreaker.” Then I met a guy who I thought had so much in common with me, and decided to take a chance on him. He was handsome, wonderful, and attentive. Everything just happened so fast, I didn’t even know what hit me. I thought I had the perfect balance, and wanted to make him happy. After a while, he started becoming verbally abusive and controlling, and picked me apart. Whenever I tried to break it off with him, he would tell me that I couldn’t tell him how he felt or speak for him. I was tired of the yelling and screaming, and since I didn’t want to deal with that anymore, I decided to do things I knew he would never approve of, and then let him break it off with me instead. And as always, once it was over, I realized how much happier I was without him, and never wanted to waste my time again on something that I could just simply live with. I wanted to go find something that I couldn’t live without.

I’ve spent a lot of time doing things on my own and loving myself as I am, and I’ve just gotten so used to it that it’s hard for me to let down my guard and be vulnerable, because I don’t want someone to use it against me. As people around me are falling in love, even people who I’d least expect, I’m ashamed to say I feel a tinge of jealousy. I want what they have, and still have never been in love before. I have a different idea of that term than most people do, though. I think that being in love requires a reciprocation of love between two people. As I’ve always believed, if you’re the only one in love, then you’re just a deluded fool in denial. It’s always been one-sided for me; I’ve loved people, but I’ve never been loved. Love isn’t supposed to be selfish, and you would never intentionally hurt someone if you did.

As much as I want to fall in love, I somehow believe that maybe I just wasn’t meant for that kind of love. Maybe my expectations are unrealistic. I’m afraid of not being enough for someone, of hurting someone, of relying on someone, of settling for something, of wasting time. As soon as things start to get somewhere when I’m dating someone, I tend to take off running. It’s a constant push and pull. Things will be good, and then when I start to feel too much, I pull back and start to imagine the worst so that if anything bad happens, I won’t be disappointed. And then I’ll just walk away altogether because I hate being paranoid, and want something better for the other person than to be with a paranoid person. I’m afraid of loving someone so much that I can’t imagine my life without them and then having to, or being someone’s cheap thrill. I know that if I want to fall in love, then I’ll have to take a risk, but I want to take a risk on someone who will be worth it. If I found someone who I could trust, and who would be patient with me when I start to panic, I would do anything to make that person happy, but maybe that’s asking for a lot.

One Comment

  1. admin admin

    Thanks for writing. I’d reassure you it’s just a string of bad luck, but it’d be cheap and expected. I just want to compliment you on your writing ability and depth of awareness about your situation, and wish you the best of luck. There really are loyal guys out there searching for the same trust, commitment and mutuality that you do, it’s just a matter of finding them because I don’t think many of them would be on the normal dating circuits.

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