I woke up today wanting to write for the first time in a long time. After the abrupt end of a seven-year off and on relationship just over two months ago, I pretty much shut down emotionally. But now it’s time to vent, and share my “wisdom” (aka mistakes) in hopes that I can provide a laugh or help you avoid some heartache of your own. Not to mention, getting it out of my system will help me not be a bitter ahole on Valentine’s Day (though I’m not promising I won’t be throwing some major crusties at lovey dovey pukey couples and every flower delivery I see.)
These observations can apply to almost any relationship, whether romantic, family, friend, or other. I’m not a therapist or a scientist, just a gal who’s been through a TON of crap (trust me, seven year failed relationship is just the tip of the iceberg.) So here goes . . .
1. Be honest with yourself. Do you want a spouse and eight kids, a date you see once a week, or do you have no clue? Do you want to hang with your friends every night or once a month? Do you want to live next to your parents or across the country? Figure it out. For real. FIGURE IT OUT. Not what the other person wants, not what your friends want, what YOU want.
2. Be honest with the other party/parties. Once you’ve figured out what YOU want (assuming you take this step – how fair is it to anyone if you can’t even figure yourself out?), be honest about it. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, even if you “hope” you can or “wish” you could.
3. Pay attention to the clues (aka be honest with yourself part 2). I gained 30 pounds in the last six months of my relationship. Hello???????? Don’t ignore the obvious. If your work, your health or your other relationships are going in the toilet, you need to reevaluate. Stop stuffing your feelings down in that deep dark place where only your imaginary friends can see.
4. Focus on now. If you keep thinking “it’ll get better” or “it’ll go back to how it was” you are doing yourself no favors. In my case, I was looking back to a period of six months YEARS earlier. When my mom died, people said you have to find the “new normal.” Well if the relationship has completely changed, you will never get back to the “old normal.” Evaluate if what is happening NOW works for you, and if not, if you can get to a place with the person where it does.
5. You are NOT required to keep ANYONE in your life. YOU get to choose who you let in your life. You know what happens when you take Catholic guilt, and add in the “you have to be nice because you’re a woman” with a dash of “we come from humble beginnings (Irish and Polish) – we forgive and we accept anybody who doesn’t have somewhere to go”? You get doormat girl who feels guilty shutting people out and keeps ending up hurt. It’s ok to do what’s best for you! If people have treated you rudely, shut the damn door! Slam it!
6. Don’t doubt yourself (aka be honest with yourself part 3 – noticing a trend here?). You know what you need and what you want (at least after reading this amazing article, you’re going to figure it out), so don’t let anybody tell you that what you want is unreasonable. Unless it is – I mean if you’re gold digger or are incapable of being alone more than an hour a day, then you’ve got other issues to handle. But most of us, I think, know when we’re being reasonable and when we’re not. And apologize when you realize you’ve been unreasonable.
7. Don’t be a douchelord (God bless my friend Jean for gracing me with this amazing word at the time of my breakup). If you screw up, say you’re sorry. Immediately. Don’t act like you are the son of Zeus, with an arrogant stick up your ass and an attitude that you do no wrong. Also, if you don’t want someone in your life anymore, even if it’s like a one date deal, just tell them you’re not interested. Polite, but not a doormat, k?
Are you feeling kickass about your life now? I hope so! If you still hate your life and hate Valentine’s Day, that’s cool. But on Saturday when you’re hungover, or kicking yourself for eating a crap ton, start thinking about the relationships in your life, what you want and what you can give. By this time next year, things will be better, I swear.