I know I am stereotyping when I say this, but I believe most women are nurturers. As such, we believe that we are powerful enough to overcome anything with a healthy dose of love and understanding. Oftentimes it is that belief that leads to us staying in a relationship well past its date of expiration. The problem is, when we stay past the date of expiration, we are damaged in the process. I speak from experience…
He was broken, and I knew it. Rather than run for the hills, I decided I would stay, help him to repair himself, and then we would live happily ever after. I was being a nurturer. In my mind, there was nothing wrong with a little self-sacrifice for the sake of love. Also, I mistakenly believed that standing by his side at a time when he “needed” me the most meant he, in turn, would appreciate and love me the way I deserved to be loved. Basically, in exchange for me staying when he was a mess, I believed he owed me a life of pure devotion. I am sure some of you can relate to what I am saying.
Such a faulty mindset would not allow me to accept it when he began pushing me away. You see, at some point in the relationship, he went from “I need you” to “I just don’t know what I want”. Unable to accept his mental transition and need to figure shit out on his own, I erroneously believed that I was simply not being nurturing and devoted enough. I also believed that the love and support I had provided until that point was the source of the strength that was being used to push me away. My belief made me angry because I believed this newfound strength was owed to me rather than some other chick. I was still stuck in martyrdom, giving myself too much credit for staying with him despite the fact that he had very little to offer mentally and emotionally. And, I would be damned if I allowed some other woman to reap the benefits of my love and devotion. As a result, I fought tooth and nail to keep the relationship together, despite its obvious toxicity.
Before I knew it, I found myself breaking in the process of trying to repair his brokenness. Despite that fact, I continued to “fight for us”…until the “aha moment” came. It was one weekend, not unlike many others, when I realized I had completely lost my joy in the process of nurturing him. I was no longer “living my best life” by doing the things that made me happy. I had distanced myself from family and friends because I just didn’t have the energy to engage. Many of my days were spent shedding tears. I questioned my ability to find the love that was right for me, willing to settle for what I knew was all wrong. Although I knew the relationship was over as we returned to our respective homes from our weekend together, the overwhelming peace that I felt allowed him to walk away without one plea from me. I knew, and finally accepted, I would never be happy if I tried to “make it work”. There was just no amount of love and devotion from me that would make him transcend into the man that I wanted or deserved. More importantly, I realized no amount of love and devotion from me would make him happy.
When I was finally honest with myself, I felt the sun begin to shine in my life again. I welcomed our break up as an opportunity to fall in love with myself again and reacquaint myself with the things that bought me joy and happiness. As I put the pieces of my life back together, I did some soul searching, seeking the answers to the lesson(s) I needed to learn from this experience. Here is what I came up with:
- Do not get so caught up in nurturing another individual that you refuse to see that you are being damaged in the process.
- Just because you are ready, doesn’t mean that the other person has to be ready.
- A person may change their mind over time. You have to accept that. Failure to accept that leads to nothing more than resentment on both parts.
- Do not force someone to stay out of a sense of obligation. Guilt-tripping a person leads to nothing more than resentment on both parts.
- Anything that is causing your “life light” to be dimmed needs to be examined closely and more than likely eliminated from your life (this does not necessarily mean permanently).
Have any of you had similar experiences in life? What were your takeaways from your experience?