Relationships fail for a reason, but love is a two-way street, and it's never entirely your fault.
“I guess I’ll stop bothering you then”
“Well you could have spared me the time and told me you didn’t wanna fuck”
“Oh my god you’re so amazing, why do you even like me?”
“Why are you literally always disagreeing with me?”
Just to quote a few things a few different boys have said to me…
For YEARS I blamed myself for every failed relationship, situationship, and talking stage. But now? I look back at how naive I was to feel guilty after those things were said to me, and now I wonder how these boys had the ~AUDACITY~ to say those things to me! Like, one made me feel guilty for not telling him outright that I didn’t wanna fuck. Sorry? I didn’t know I couldn’t talk to you without my coochie being used as collateral.
It took me a long time, and a lot of self-esteem, to realize relationships are a two-way street and it wasn’t my job to carry the burden of every breakup.
Have you ever changed how you acted depending on who you were with? Or maybe altered your personality or interests a little to ensure someone would like you? Yeah, that’s part of the problem.
When you confine your character, you're often dooming the relationship from the start.
Connections can’t be forced, and if you try to keep up the persona you started the relationship with, you’re going to burn out eventually and realize you’re not as compatible as you hoped. Even if the guy or girl is a great person, it doesn’t mean they are great for you. If you all of a sudden can’t keep a conversation going or can’t seem to find anything you enjoy doing together, you’re probably forcing a relationship. It’s not your fault, it’s just not meant to be.
What could also happen, and has happened to me many times, is the arrival of the ick.
You know what I’m talking about. You're talking to someone, it’s going great, you hangout everyday… then all of a sudden everything they do irritates you: You’re annoyed by the things they do that you used to find endearing, you tense at the thought of physical contact and kissing them makes you cringe. Sometimes you even try to force your way through the ick, but then it just gets worse. I would know… I’ve tried, and it only ended in absolute heartbreak - for the both of us.
I’ve come to the conclusion that the ick is your body and mind coming together to tell you to run. I know nothing about the legit chemistry, biology, and science behind attraction, but I would like to believe, for all of our sakes, that the ick we get is our bodies warning us that this is not the right person.
So if you get the ick, again, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. Everything happens for a reason, and if you get an ick, that's your body and the universe telling you the relationship isn’t meant to last.
And perhaps the most important: if they cheat on you, abuse you: verbally, mentally, physically, that is THEIR fault, not yours.
Too many people, especially women, blame themselves when their significant other is upset and acts out. We are not responsible for others' emotions. We are not responsible for others' actions. There are a million excuses as to why people cheat; they were drunk and horny, it was a mistake, they wanted revenge, their hearts not in the relationship anymore... But NONE of those things have to do with you.
YOU do not determine the thoughts and actions of another person.
Again, and I’ll sound like a broken record by the end, but if it's not meant to be, it won’t happen, and there’s nothing within your power that can change that.
"My boyfriend of two years cheated on me several times, and I stupidly went back. I thought it was something I had done that made him cheat. I realize now that he's an asshole and I was stupid, but I was so blinded by love that I didn't think he could do anything wrong, so I just blamed myself." - anonymous
In my latest explosion of a relationship, which burned terribly, I blamed the entire fire on myself. I broke his heart, I knew that, but he wasn’t perfect. In the moment, I saw him as the perfect boy who for some reason I just couldn’t date, so I blamed myself for being so stupid.
Looking back, I realize there was a lack of verbal and emotional communication from him that drove me crazy. There was a lack of initiation and display of love that I needed in a relationship. Could we have both handled our relationship and emotions better?
OH MY GOSH YES.
But we were young. We both did what we thought was right, and, in the end, it just didn’t work out. Neither of us was to blame.
Failed relationships aren’t really a failure. Relationships don’t work out, but you almost always learn something or grow from them. The biggest lesson I’ve learned from my relationships is that both people need to embrace their individuality.
Relationships, despite the romanticized phrase of being “two halves of a whole”, are not meant to complete you.
YOU are a complete person capable of amazing things. Your partner should complement you, not complete you. You shouldn’t need to rely on your partner for your own happiness, and they shouldn’t need to rely on you. How a healthy and stable relationship surfaces is from two whole individuals, capable of creating their own happiness and boundaries. Your partner should be dependable, not what you depend on.
So whatever relationship(s) you look back and feel guilty about… STOP. It is not your job to create happiness for someone else, and we all get our hearts broken once in a while. In relationships, you still need to do what’s best for you.