By Rebecca A. Marquis
How one woman learned perspective (and saved herself serious heartbreak).
I’ll be the first to admit that my relationship past hasn’t been the happiest. I’ve had my share of bad dates and bad relationships. I’ve dated the selfish guy, the troublemaker, and the emotionally unavailable man. I’ve gone back and forth with the guy who looked great for me on paper, even though we were miserable. It was all so difficult. So painful. I had so many stories, I actually wrote a book about it.
But one relationship put things in a whole new perspective for me. Suddenly my patterns became clear.
The first time Tim and I argued, he acted like a stereotypical brat.
He became dramatic and said, “I don’t feel like talking tonight. I’ll feel better tomorrow.” Then tomorrow came, and he was still upset. I called to see if he wanted to talk, but I was on my way to pick up a friend at the airport and couldn’t talk for long. “OK… OK… OK…” is all I said as he voiced his feelings and ended things.
And that’s when it hit me. I realized then how odd it would have been for him to call me back and say, “Let’s talk,” or “I miss you.” Yet, these were things I had previously said to other guys after I had broken up with them.
Yes, it certainly would have been odd for Tim to call me back. Crazy, almost. Emotionally unstable, if one day he’s breaking up with me, and the next he’s calling me to say he misses me and wants to talk. Something would clearly be wrong with his judgment. Perhaps it would mean he was desperate for love, desperate to hold on to something, even though he knew it didn’t feel good to him. He didn’t call back. Well, not at first.
After my friend’s visit, I emailed Tim to finally respond to his feelings. I didn’t want to call and hear him repeat himself (I certainly didn’t need to hear the breakup again), but I did want to acknowledge his feelings. He responded to my email and wanted to talk.
Before we knew it, we were dating again. And it was good. The misunderstanding that had originally upset him was behind us. And it was the best, healthiest relationship I had ever been in. For months, I was finally getting back what I put into a relationship. I remember thinking, “This is what a relationship is supposed to be like.”
But the happier I became, the more scared he became. And Tim broke up with me again. As much as I wanted it to work, I thought, “He broke up with me twice now. I could never get back with him.”
And again, it hit me. I had gone back and forth with other guys in the past. And they had gone back and forth with me. I had ended past relationships because of how I was treated and then went back because I missed everything else. How odd that must have seemed to these guys. How confused I must have seemed. How confused they must have been, too.
Looking back, I find it difficult to defend my actions. I find it difficult to explain what I thought I would gain by going back to a guy I had just broken up with. And I find it difficult to understand why Tim got back with me.
Since then, I’ve realized that the best way to get over a breakup is to constantly give myself reality checks. Instead of keeping my mind on all the things I miss and all the things I wish were different, I focus on the reality of the situation.
I remind myself of the very real reasons it didn’t work out. And I move forward.
I’m still quite surprised at the amount of perspective I was given by one short relationship. And still quite grateful.
@RebeccaAMarquis is the author of How to Be a Good Boyfriend: 34 Ways to Keep Her From Getting Annoying, Jealous, or Crazy, and offers dating humor and advice on her Facebook page.