Self-Respect and Romantic Relationships
I’ve finally reached a place in my life where I care about myself. I honor, respect, and value who I am. I’m careful about choosing who I spend my time with and why. I can walk away from things that hurt me and things that don’t feel right.
These things were not always true about me. Trust me; I’ve been where some of you are. I’ve been hurt, lost, and confused.
Relationships shouldn’t cause hardships, and they shouldn’t be kept a secret. They require people to come together for the benefit of each other, to be happy together, and stick with each other through thick and through thin.
When people are healthy, they have an appropriate sense of self. When one person is always taking, the other is always giving, and that’s not a healthy balance. There may be times when one person has to step up to help the other. That’s totally normal. But when one partner is always giving because the other is always taking, the relationship is out of balance and unhealthy.
I once had a relationship with a woman who said that I was her world. She told me she loved me and that we were meant to be. But her actions didn’t match her words. She took a week off work, stayed home, didn’t do things with me, and ignored me. Later, I lost a dear family member. I was devastated. But she never reached out. She didn’t call. We’d been “together” for nearly a year. I was noticing though that as time passed, she was less as less interested in me. I had to work to ignore the warning signs.
When I finally confronted her out of frustration and hurt, she didn’t bother to even try to fix things. She went along her way and left me. I was lost. It was hard for me to overcome those moments. I felt hopeless, useless. It took me nearly two years to get over her. Even now, I still think of her.
If I respected myself at the time, I would have walked away from her much sooner. I never would have tried to make things work when they didn’t have a chance of working. We’d been down that road before; it was our second time around, and nothing had changed. We were good together in the beginning, but we didn’t stay consistent. She never will. I finally know this about her now. I wish her well, and I know I’ll be better off without her.
Even though she broke my heart, over time I learned how to value myself. I discovered that I matter. I began to draw boundaries with people. I began caring about what I was doing and what I wanted. I started to put myself first. Though in one way I lost myself, in another I found myself, and I survived. You will, too!
We can not change other people. But we can change our reactions to them, and we can change how we handle ourselves. If you’re lost and empty and feel like you can’t find your way, please know this: in time, you will. You have worth and value.
Since that awful break-up, I met a wonderful woman who loves me just as I am. She doesn’t ignore me. She’s the right one for me.