Let’s just start with the elephant in the room shall we?
In my mere twenty five years on this beautiful planet, I have only ever been in one actual relationship. There, it’s all out now. To be honest, I still think I was too young for it to count but oh well.
This relationship was a fast burner and looking back on it, I wouldn’t say I made mistakes per say. Our timing was just off. So if I had to pick out something that was an issue in this relationship, it’d be that I’m not an overly emotional expressive person. Public displays of affection was my biggest NO. Just no. I’m good, thank you very much.
Alright, I think I should be upfront and just let you know that I’ve never been one of those ladies who romanticises their future relationship in their heads. I never wanted or even expected PDA, so imagine my confusion when my boyfriend (now my ex obviously!) sat me down one day and said “Do you actually like me?”. I honestly think my jaw literally fell to the floor. I was that shocked. I graciously picked up my jaw and said “Of course I like, I’ve told you this before. Why would you ask me that?”. This boyfriend then proceeded to remind me of all the times I wouldn’t hold his hand or kiss him or just touch him in a passionate way when we were in public.
I remmeber thinking why do I need to show everyone I’m into you for you to believe me? Funny thing is I tried a week later to hold his hand in public, I didn’t like it like I knew I wouldn’t and then we broke up by the end of that week. Now, I’m not saying we broke up because of a little PDA.But it solidified my stance on PDA on a side note.
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve only been in one relationship so as I was thinking about writing this post I spoke to a few girlfriends just to hear their experiences. These ladies are in relationships right now so I thought it’d make sense to hear of the mistakes they think they made in past relationships and how they learnt from them.
My friend (we’ll call her Claire) said she was very dependent on her ex (Adam). Claire told me she just couldn’t imagine her life without Adam to the extent that she found herself going alone with whatever he wanted just so he wouldn’t leave. She said he’d ask her to do things she didn’t like or particularly want to do, but she’d find herself going along just to keep her man. I asked her how knowing this mistake has helped her with her current boyfriend and she said “It made more self aware”. Both Claire and I realised that relationships teach us so much about ourselves. We realised that it’s only when you get into something that has such a high level of emotional expectation, that your true personality is exposed. Your partners’ as well really.
Speaking to Claire also revealed something else to me; relationships reflect the relationship we have with ourselves. I mean if Claire knew who she was when she was dating Adam; if she was sure of her identity and confident in herself, she wouldn’t have found herself literally jumping when he told her to jump. And I’m so glad to see her in her current relationship, in a place where she’s sure of herself and she knows that having a man isn’t what makes her complete. She is already complete in her self.
Another friend (Tina) said her mistake was lack of communication. She met her ex (Tim) in a church and just assumed he was a serious christian. This relationship went on for a long while before Tim exposed himself in a casual conversation. As if he said “The only time I open my bible is in church and I’m there just for my mum’s sake” and of course Tina was too deep into this guy by then already!
When Tina told me this, I was very angry for her even though this relationship is in the past. All that was running through my mind is ‘If you can’t even be sure of the ones you meet in church, what’s the point then?’ I said as much to Tina and she said from the perspective of her present relationship, she’s actually grateful for going through that process. The experience taught her to be a better communicator and to be more expressive to the extent that one of the first conversations she had with her current boyfriend was about her relationship with God and how she couldn’t date someone who didn’t have a serious relationship with God as well, even though she met him in a church. Honestly, I was grinning as if a guy just used the best pick up line onme.
No but seriously, it’s so nice to hear of and see people in their journey of learning from past mistakes. Times like these makes me very grateful for the people around me, people I can learn from without having to make mistakes in order to learn.
You know, the bottom line is that I’ve come to terms with the fact that people come into our lives to teach us something. People come and people go, and that’s okay.
Of course it’s not sweet when people leave or when a relationship fails; it leaves us feeling sad, guilty, uncertain and like we’ve wasted precious time. But all these emotions can be channelled to help us learn and grow.
Our whole lives progress as we make mistakes, as we learn from these mistakes and as we grow daily. I think the focus should be, where is my personal learning curve taking me?
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