Relationships fail and people break up. It happens and it sucks, but there’s not much we can do after the damage is done. At the end of it all, we’re left asking “What did I do wrong? What could I have done better?” The answer is almost always “I didn’t appreciate what I had in the moment.”
I started having “serious” relationships when I graduated from the 8th grade in 2008. There was a girl who I thought was attractive, so at the graduation party I asked if she would be my girlfriend. She said yes, so for the next few weeks I hung out with her once, messaged her over Myspace, and figured that we would stay together as long as I kept on talking (Yeah, I was that naive). I found out after the second week that she was already seeing someone else, and my little heart was broken. True, I didn’t have a car to drive to her place and we lived 40 minutes away, but the point is that I assumed everything would be okay and that my efforts were enough when they clearly were not.
Fast forward to 2010. I had a few girlfriends from 2008-2009, and when I became a Sophomore I figured that it was time for me to get in a steady relationship that lasted more than a few weeks. I knew a girl who was in my choir class and I thought she was cute, so we started hanging out and I asked her to be my girlfriend about two weeks into the friendship. We didn’t talk much about the future and focused a lot on the here-and-now, unaware that this would eventually kill the relationship altogether.
Without going into too much detail, I’ll say that we got so wrapped up in the physical things that we forgot to balance everything out with spiritual and emotional connections. We used words like “hot” and “sexy” to describe each other, and instead of building us up these words tore us down although we didn’t recognize it. I started to view her as an object instead of a human being, and my actions showed how I felt. Looking back at it, I feel so terrible for how I treated her and want to repair the damage that I caused, but here I am 7 years later with no contact whatsoever and no reason to recall the pain that was there. If you read this, I’m sorry. Deeply sorry. You deserved better.
I did not recognize that I was hurting someone. I did not recognize that I was taking them for granted. Instead of understanding that a relationship works two ways, I began to think that I was the only one that mattered. It’s disgusting, but true.
I didn’t really have anymore serious relationships after that until now. If you read the first post on the blog you would know that I barely even noticed Salty and that it took some time before I asked her out. While I had had short flings with girls since the time I broke up with the last girl, I had gone without a girlfriend for 7 years and forgot what it meant to be committed to someone. I had stopped opening doors for girls because I had a few feminists say that I was being rude, and I did things more for myself than for Salty. It took a few weeks for me to finally understand that Salty actually needed my attention and needed me to tell her that I love her, but after I realized this I made sure to do it as often as I could.
Now, Salty and I continue to show our love for each other and we try to find new ways to show it. Everyday I try to find a different way to show my affection for her. Maybe I’ll write a note, or kiss the back of her hand, or brush my hand on her cheek, or open the door for her, or give her my jacket when she’s cold. Find new ways to say “I love you.” Understand that relationships are fragile, and if you don’t show your love, you may be shown the door. Be active in your show of love; don’t be a bystander. Once you start to work for the other person, you will start to realize how much they matter and they will realize how much they mean to you.
Cherish your relationships. Look forward, not only at the here-and-now. Strive to be the person you want your significant other to be. Learn to live with love, and your relationship will be strengthened immeasurably.