You know the expression, “It takes two to tango”? I know it has many connotations, but lately I have been applying it to my last relationship. My last relationship was such a failure. When it was good it was everything I thought I wanted out of life, but when it was bad it was insane (largely on my part). He would go left and I defiantly wanted to go right. I don’t think I ever tried to compromise. I wanted to to “wear the pants” in the relationship. And I did.
Naturally, when my relationship failed I blamed myself. I would cry randomly throughout the day whenever I would remember something I did wrong during the relationship. I could not help myself. When I was dating him I couldn’t remember any details. I couldn’t even acknowledge when I was wrong even when I was so clearly in the wrong. I fought everyone and anyone who would try to make me see how horrible I was acting. And then, once we broke up, I remembered everything.
Your mind is a powerful thing. It’s so powerful that it can make you forget something so traumatic (of course it would still manifest itself in other ways). For me, my mind has always allowed me to forget all the times in which I have been wrong. Do not misunderstand me, I do not mean to say that I forget them and continue to do the same shit over and over. That’s insane. But I would mess up, learn my lesson, and forget the part in which I was in the wrong. It’s as if I were watching a movie but the main character wasn’t me. Just because I wasn’t the one messing up did not mean I couldn’t learn by proxy.
Actually, the whole thing is probably insane.
It’s all very subconscious but I did- I suppressed every wrongdoing on my behalf. Which as you can imagine makes it nearly impossible to have a functioning relationship. He would bring things up from the past and I would roll my eyes because it was a part of my past. How do you expect to move forward if you keep bringing up the past? I was so unfair.
So like I said, I blamed myself for everything.
But then I remember one night we met up after breaking up, I was holding on like crazy and he was trying to give me some closure. He said to me, “At some point I have to believe I must have done something to make you cheat on me.” Yeah, I cheated. How did I talk myself out of thinking I was in the right on that one? I have no fucking clue, but I did. (A whole post on cheating will be posted at a later date, but for now reader, hate me if you must).
Anyway, after he said that I immediately told him he did nothing wrong and that it was all on me. You see at this point I’m trying to get this wonderful perfect man to stay with me. I am practically begging him, even though I already know that there is no such thing as convincing someone to truly stay.
I was right, for the next several months he finally completely walked away. He stopped returning my text messages which were nothing short of desperate. He was very nice throughout the whole thing. After two years he still wished me a happy birthday, but I have a feeling that’s over now. Thanks to him walking away, however, I was able to finally see everything that had been staring at me in the face for four years.
He was not perfect.
If he was so perfect, why did I cheat on him? Am I really a bad person? The answer is not simple and reader, you can come up with your own conclusions. I am just sharing what I have learned: it takes two. The whole time I had been going over everything I did wrong. I didn’t ask for any explanations as to why I even did any of that in the first place.
I had to examine the guy I cheated on him with. Why him? Once I asked myself that question the answer was clear: he admired me. He made me feel so important and smart. If I told him that math wasn’t my thing he wouldn’t believe it and most importantly he didn’t let me believe it. He found my mannerisms interesting. I would be having a conversation with a colleague and afterwards he would turn to me and say, “You have an answer for everything.” I swear that you could hear the admiration in his voice. It wasn’t accusatory, as if I was some outspoken womxn that needed to know when to shut up. He made me believe in myself. He made me feel special. It had nothing to do with him telling me how beautiful I was because, just like Christina Yang, I’m more interested in someone’s mind over their physical appearance. He made me feel good about the person I was.
I believe that a love never dies with true admiration. I am not saying that it’s the only thing you need; it’s just a separate statement. You see, I admired my ex so much that everything he did was unique, and if someone tried to tell me that other people did it too, I’d tell them that he did it better. I would go to war with anyone who tried to convince me he wasn’t all that. I would talk about him to anyone who would listen because I was sure they had never met anyone like him before, so smart but humble.
My ex never admired me the way I admired him. He didn’t talk to his friends about me often, or hardly ever. If he did it was mostly to tell them that he had plans with me, but it was never about me.
I remember the day his friend called his ex-girlfriend a whore because she had started dating someone new. This friend had previously cheated on that ex, and I believed he had no right to call anyone a whore whether he thought it were true or not. I stood up for her, because she wasn’t even there to defend herself. His friend got mad at me and told me to mind my own business. Maybe he was right, but that wasn’t the problem. My ex can’t control his friends, but he can control his reaction. My ex stayed silent, but when we were alone he told me that I was wrong. During his silence I felt so alone. He didn’t have to tell his friend off, but at least make it clear that he was on my side. I should’ve known then that he would not be standing up for me or anyone.
Around his family, he would become so distant. I felt like he was a different person. I remember at a family get-together his brother-in-law was incredibly sexist by telling me that my opinion on superhero movies was invalid because I am a girl. I proceeded to let him know how incredibly sexist it was, and my ex remained silent. Again, he cannot control his family, but he can control his reaction. I don’t want anyone to make a scene, but it’s important to address sexism, racism, etc. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but change always is.
I never had a relationship with the guy I cheated on my ex with, because I loved my ex. What I did was selfish and stupid, but it was a reaction, it was me reaching out to the type of relationship I wanted. I wanted to be admired in the same way I admired him.
The reason why I cheated is not simple. But at least I know the break-up was not 100% my fault. It was 50-50.