As we’re nearing the middle of December, I’ve allowed myself time for reflection over how many personal changes I’ve seen take place in my life and those closest to me.
As much as I’d like to make this a safe place where I feel comfortable to write about pretty much anything, I never felt quite comfortable to write about my relationships before, mostly because I’m quite a private person unless you manage to break past my initial cold barrier and then it’s like the floodgates fall with a crash and you end up privy to all thoughts and feelings that circle the strange orbit underneath this skull of mine.
The biggest change, without a doubt, has been my attitude towards relationships and my views on love and other people generally. After several long years of being single with short flings in between I met and fell in love with somebody who, for all intents and purposes, became the centre of my world. I was hesitant, difficult and in denial about many aspects of our relationship for a long while, until four months of seeing each other and I did everything I could to persuade him that being my boyfriend would be to his detriment, but he relented and took me on eventually.
On our third meeting, I explained my reasons for being distant and unwilling to talk about my feelings towards him and other complications in my life. This was a huge step for me as I previously mentioned, I dislike speaking about my private life. The result: a horrible feeling of guilt and annoyance and my fleeing his apartment in a rage, as after I told him about the mental state I was in he replied: “that’s just a phase most girls go through.”
In sheer disbelief, I cried on the metro down the phone to one of my closest friends who offered me comfort and told me she was proud of me for confiding in him. My barriers were back up. When I reflect on the almost 9 months we spent together, I remember a lot of trepidation on my bad days: he’d offer me comfort and I’d rebuff it. He tried to understand, but never could. It was a larger issue than I was willing to confront.
The fault isn’t entirely his, of course. I am more aware than most people that being the boyfriend of someone who is unstable is no easy feat. He was frustrated with me, and I with myself. A lot of guilt, arguments and general discomfort ensued and when he left to study abroad I was distraught. I loved and cared about him deeply, but my insecurities were rooted so sturdily that I found myself unable to be the girlfriend I felt he deserved or wanted. His defiance made me stick it out for a few months until the relationship eventually broke down. It was a very sad time and I felt terrible.
Now, however, I can see that some differences are so irreconcilable no matter the volume of love in question. There are so many factors that make a relationship good and bad and everything in between, but trust and a sturdy foundation particularly if you don’t have that yourself are absolutely imperative if the relationship is to work. The good times outweighed the bad by far and most days I still find myself wondering what it was that eventually broke it down and it is now that I can admit to myself that the initial conversation about the sensitive subjects I did not want to confront were at the crux of why I could not whole-heartedly give myself to somebody who, aside from our problems, was a wonderful person. I urge everyone to put their mental health before romance.