A relationship, any kind of relationship, can either build you up or tear you down. There is very little in between. Sometimes it can feel as though there is and these are the more confusing and potentially damaging relationships. For instance, my mum loves me, I know this, but she doesn’t believe in me, or my dreams.
If love is conditional for one reason or another, is it really even love at all? If one does not accept you for the person you are in any given moment, are they really a friend? Often, in romantic relationships I have found that uncomfortable feeling of not being able to quite measure up to my partner’s expectations.
My last boyfriend kept a carrot-stick of expectations that was constantly moving away whenever I thought I was close to meeting this or that idealized version of myself. I understood that this had a lot more to do with his ex wife and their experiences than being something that I caused him to do. However, it drove me once again to that feeling of not measuring up, of never being good enough.
Generally, when I come out of a relationship that has lasted at least a year and ended, I find I need some time off from it all. Mainly for self reflection, as well as self love. However, two of my ex’s friends–one in particular–helped me realize that the issue was not entirely my own this time. I was the one who was there, ready for commitment and long term. It just turned out that I hadn’t found the right person yet.
He had never dealt with his divorce and the feelings that he took away from it. I learned a lot from that relationship though, good things and hard things, but especially not to shape myself around another person’s life or allow them to shape me. If I don’t fit in while being my most authentic self then it just isn’t right. If someone wants to change you to fit better into their life then they will likely continue in that trend long-term.
Coming out of that failed relationship, I just wanted some time to myself and with my friends. I made new friends from work and dance, and got them to get together for board games and even a snowboarding trip. One of the the new friends soon became my best friend, he always showed up when I asked or invited him out with us. I told him outright that I wasn’t looking for anything but friends and that I could see him becoming my best friend.
At the time, he wanted more, but he stuck around and became my best friend. There are so many reasons to be grateful for this, but above all it is amazing to now be in love with my best friend and planning our lives together. I have honestly never known anything like this before, or even considered it possible. This man is thoughtful, considerate, kind, warm, and loving. I am lucky enough to call him my best friend, my boyfriend, and one day I hope to call him my husband.
It’s funny how we plan our lives around what we think we want, but when we let go of these plans life just gives us what we need instead. It’s a beautiful thing.