From age 16 until now I’ve been in 5 relationships… although I wouldn’t consider the ones before 25 “serious” as my young, wild and naive phase lasted a fair few years. When I finally matured and got my shit together, I decided to remain single for a while — 2 years in fact. I spent a lot of that time focusing on myself, working on my own happiness. I learnt how to enjoy my own company, spent more quality time with family and friends, went on a fair few holidays, got through a ton of books, put more energy into my career, improved my fitness, took up new hobbies, as well go through the process of self-reflection, all which gave me an incredible amount of perspective.
I can’t emphasise how important the self-reflection part was for me. Once I took a step back and analysed my life events, behaviour, values and beliefs; I decided it was time to make a few adjustments. I didn’t necessarily change who I was, but knew there were areas within myself that needed improvement – my attitude in particular. Once upon a time, I used to be extremely selfish, I went from 0 to 100 extremely quickly, sometimes violent, easily irritated, always spoke without thinking, was condescending towards others and had issues with authority.
Being a typical teenager/young adolescent was an obvious factor, however there were so many more layers to why I behaved and acted in such a way… but I won’t bore you with my life story! Maturity, different experiences combined with taking a time out made such a positive impact on my life. Over the last few years I’ve found myself to be much calmer, a better listener, more empathetic, understanding and open-minded. I pretty much did a 180! 😊 And if you’re wondering how any of the above is relevant to dating/relationships… just bear with me… My friend recently described my relationship history as: “Every bad trait you could ask for in a man, you found in each one of your relationships.” – This is true! Here is an overview on everything I’ve encountered in the past (not fishing for sympathy by the way!)
Relationship 1 – violent, controlling, cheater
Relationship 2 – no backbone, gambler
Relationship 3 – drug abuse, no ambition/drive
Relationship 4 – needy, insecure, controlling
Relationship 5 – compulsive/pathological liar
Number 1 affected me the most for sure. He did me dirty! 😩 I was young, it my first boyfriend and I was very cut up about it when it came to an end. A few of my issues stemmed from this particular relationship, and caused some of my existing issues to magnify. I knew it had affected me badly because when I entered my second relationship, I ended up being an icy bitch while displaying signs of a very unstable, insecure person. I just didn’t allow myself enough time to fully heal before jumping into a new relationship. Thinking back, I was a real handful to deal with! But the fact that he was a gambler didn’t help much with my irritable behaviour, he also never put his foot down when I was being mean, thus making it very easy for me to be a living nightmare.
When I was 21, I signed myself up for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), I could feel my rage getting out of control as it was slowly spreading across to my home life. I found therapy helpful, it made me more self-aware, however it wasn’t going to solve everything… and putting what I learnt into action was a very slow process for me.
After the dramas and the 2 year self-cleanse, I told myself that if I were to get into another relationship, that I’d be the best version of myself, not let past issues creep into the present, not set any expectations and just go with the flow. Which I did… as well as I could anyway. As you know, people don’t just change overnight.
Then Relationship 4 & 5 happened. Along came Mr. needy, insecure and controlling, followed by Mr. compulsive/pathological liar. Oh and not to forget, my dating history includes (but not limited to) being ghosted, bring dropped because they were still hung up on their ex, bring slow faded. Isn’t dating delightful?
I believe my old line manager at work came to the conclusion that I was the “common denominator” — rude. Firstly, I’m confident it’s not me — yeah, that’s what they all say! But seriously, it’s not. I’m someone who thinks very logically, I have my head screwed on and don’t act “cray”… well not anymore! I’ve already gone through that phase. What I don’t know is how and why I manage to attract certain types of people. They seem cool at first and then all the toxicity suddenly comes pouring out! Literally… why is it always something? I’m capable of understanding that no one is perfect. I’m not and have never asked for perfect. I totally get that everyone has had some shit to deal with in the past but how is it possible that every person I’ve been in a relationship with… or even short-term dated just ends up having some major issue??
Ain’t nobody got time for that!
It’s a good thing I’ve learnt not waste too much time and energy on people! To think that I used to drag things out for more than a year in hopes that the person/situation would by miracle change! Madness. Don’t get me wrong, I think people can change but it’s not an overnight thing… it can take many years and quite frankly… who’s waiting?
I exchanged some hilarious dating/relationship stories with my work colleague the other week, and she shared a this little theory with me. She believes that damaged/unstable people can sense the aura of those who have their shit together. Then once the victims have been sussed out, these “parasites” will lure us in, latch on and absorb as much time and energy at the expense of our happiness and wellbeing… so in essence, I’m a host for these leeches! Sad but sounds about right.
On a serious note though, not many people are aware of their internal issues or they simply choose to suppress it. I feel it’s vital for everyone to self-reflect. Not only do you become more confident and happy within yourself but it helps to build much better relationships. It’s certainly not a natural or easy thing for people to do. Many will struggle to hold up a mirror and really take a good look at themselves because it means being vulnerable, being completely honest with oneself and admitting mistakes/faults. When I think about the past, I genuinely hope that my exes/guys I’ve dated have gone through this process and managed to better themselves allowing them to discover real happiness and love.
Perhaps I’ve been dealt a slightly bad hand when it comes to dating/relationships but will always be grateful for the experience and learnings that came with it. I have no idea what to expect next but all I know is that right now… I’m in a really good place where I have peace of mind, life is stress/drama-free, I can look back and laugh, cherish memories, write about it and enjoy the moment 🙂