My Ex, Myself and the Expectation Balance
If you’re anything like me, you are probably selfless to your own downfall. Whether it’s with friends, family, and especially with a significant other, this can create complications.
With my most recent breakup, I’ve found that these complications usually don’t arise as a major issue with the other person (that’s a separate subject entirely), it morphs into an ugly resentment monster, usually pent up deep within our own selves.
The resentment monster then begins to slowly manifest itself in the form of snippy comments, aloofness, or if you’re lucky enough to have to navigate my map of emotions, complete silence and disengagement.
I turn into an unresponsive, and probably a passive aggressive stone statue, “Everything’s fine, no worries, yea cool, whatever”. Looking back, those are a few of the delightful gems that my ex-boyfriend had to endure.
Selflessness aside, I have myself to blame for choosing to try to be a super woman girlfriend, and expecting a superman boyfriend in return. My former boyfriend is a musician (a tremendously successful musician, who I still cannot get over). We’ve been involved for three years, and bond regularly over contemporary art and reggae music.
Based on my personality, I know that I will stop everything at the sound of a needle dropping for someone I love. But, I also need to feel the love back. I believe the littlest gestures, and small amounts of individual attention, make a world of difference. I dropped engagements, plans with friends, and huge dreams of drama school to be completely devoted to a person who I still think is insanely brilliant, without giving myself enough credit to think similarly of myself.
While I am still reeling over the separation, blaming myself for not being supportive “enough”, awkwardly trying to figure out if we can be friends, and secretly hoping things might be different if we have a second chance, I do realize that there is a balance, and I clearly haven’t achieved that balance.
I recall disagreeing during a one year anniversary (on and off anniversary) because I wanted to go dancing, and he didn’t. I ended up picking up the tab for “our” dinner and hearing a convincing argument as to why we should do something at a later date (which we never did). Almost immediately, I began telling myself that I was “too needy” and how “selfish” I am to want to go dancing with my significant other. But, in retrospect, it was my selflessness that choked a lot of the love, and maybe even permanently caused the flames of love to fizzle. I lost sight of my passions and goals and desires, and I became a femmebot machine, nodding at every whim, and graciously exhausting myself at every command.
I know I’m not alone in this epidemic. So what can WE as women do about it?
First, I think we need to check in with ourselves every so often. Or, as a wise friend says, “Check yoself before you wreck yoself”. If you are or anticipate being in a relationship at any point in the future, make sure you’re achieving your goals, and pursuing your dreams regardless of who is in the picture.
Second, if you have any gut feelings that you’re being mistreated, manipulated, disrespected (in any way), speak up! If it’s repetitively harmful (physical or emotional), get out. You’re not crazy, and you’re not needy. You’re intelligent, and wildly talented, you’re just maintaining your self worth.
Finally, if you feel like you’re battling to keep a spark alive, or a relationship that has an expiration date, and nothing is changing, make the change yourself. If you’re exhausting every inch of your soul, energy, finances, and conversations to convince someone to be with you, to help you out, to spend one night a week at home with you, let them go!
The fact is, I am perfectly imperfect, but I let my expectations cloud the physical inactions (and actions) that I received. I created a prince in shining armor, and became a resentful monster; all I had to do was make a change, and focus on myself.