I had a conversation with a 23 year old female today that ignited a fire inside me. Not a good fire of passion and motivation, but a fire of rage and frustration, so I am taking to the blog to share my feelings.
Without giving away who said 23 year old is - let's call her Sara for this story's sake - I will give you a little background on our relationship. I do not know her very well, but we have the kind of relationship where she feels comfortable enough with me to share some pretty intimate details about her current relationship wither her boyfriend. I do not reciprocate, as we are living in two completely different worlds, but I do share stories about my girls and silly things that happen during the week. She gets a much more deep with me. I have basically taken on the role of her older, and much wiser, sister, with whom she feels comfortable sharing her boyfriend troubles.
Over the past few weeks she has shared with me stories about her very new boyfriend. They have only been dating for two months, and already there are issues. He has some emotional baggage that he should be talking over with a professional, but instead bottles up and releases his anger onto Sara. She has even called him verbally abusive. He snaps a the littlest things. He turns minute conversations into all-night arguments. He confides in his ex-girlfriend and rubs it in Sara's face, and he belittles her job. Shit, his mother even told Sara that she shouldn't be dating him. And she tells me all of this, in what I think is a cry for help.
Now, I am not one to sit by and listen to this kind of bullshit and not say anything. I have years of experience with this kind of situation, and consider myself somewhat of an expert in the field of horrible boyfriends. Not that I have had a ton of boyfriends in my life, but I had one, for almost 4 years, that pretty much took the cake when it comes to boyfriends that you wouldn't wish upon your worst enemy.
Today I looked Sara straight in the eye and said (in so many words), "get out. Get out of this relationship before it is too late. Get out while you are still young. You do not deserve this kind of bullshit. No one does. No one should be treated the way you are being treated. You are young, and beautiful and smart and motivated and have the world at your finger tips. Dump this loser and move on with your life. This is not love. You are not in love with this terrible person. Love should be easy. Love should feel good - shit, love should feel amazing. Love is not just something you feel, but something you do. This person does not love you if he treats you like this. GET OUT NOW."
God Damnit I wish someone slapped me in the face when I was 18 and said these words to me.
When I was 17 I met and "fell in love" (my blood is boiling right now as I type this - how stupid are young lovers???) with a boy. Never had a boy liked me before, but this boy did. And this boy was popular, and was friends with the older kids, and was out of high school and had a real job. How cool was it that someone like this, someone who I later found out had red flags galore (terrible childhood, treated his mother and brother like crap, overweight, didn't go to college, flirted with everything in site - and later cheated on me multiple times, disrespectful to my parents, treated my brother like shit, horrible temper, verbally abusive...I could go on), actually paid attention to me and wanted to be my boyfriend? We fought all the time. My parents LOATHED him (rightfully so). I became a different person when I was with him. I did whatever he wanted me to do...I can't even say more because it makes me so freaking angry that I wasted so many years of my life with this loser.
But oh, how I wish that someone pulled me aside and said what I said to Sara!! I wish someone shook me and said "You are better than this! You deserve so much better than this!! Why are you wasting your time, and your youth on this piece of garbage? Why do you let him make you cry? Why do you let him get to you - let him make you become this horrible bratty selfish teenager? You used have so many friends! You used to be close to your Mom! He is driving a wedge between you! You are ruining your life you stupid naive girl!!!"
Maybe my mom did say those things to me. Maybe someone else did, but I was so self-involved that I wouldn't have/didn't listen to anyone that tried to steer me away from this loser. And you know what? Looking back on my life, I wouldn't change a thing. Because of this relationship with this guy, I am the person I am now. I am in the amazing relationship I am because of who I became after I dumped this guy.
If you met me today you would not believe for a second that I used to be this pathetic, submissive shadow of a human. I am so strong willed, so outgoing and so much braver than I used to be - but it took going through all of that bullshit to become who I am today. I am not saying that everyone needs to go through something like I did to become an independent woman, as I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but that was my path to become the woman I am today.
I am fearful for when my girls get older. I am scared that they are going to fall into the same trap that I did, that Sara has, and let a man control them. I am scared they will let a man make them feel pain and sadness. I am scared they will let a man get into their head and make them feel less of a person - make them feel that they aren't deserving of what they really want. I will do my best to tell them about what I went through, and give them advice and hopefully they will start out their dating lives as strong independent women, unlike I did. I will always be there for them, even if they won't talk to me, and I will remind them constantly that they are amazing, beautiful creatures, and should be treated as so.
Here are my words of advice to women of all ages out there: No man, or woman, or whomever you are in a relationship with, should ever make you feel badly about yourself. No one you are in love with should constantly make you sad. The beginnings of a relationship should not be challenging. New love is the most exciting love - you should want to be with each other every chance you get. You should be smiling ear to ear when you see this person, and never want to let go of their hand. Your partner should not make you cry - unless it is because he or she did something insanely romantic and sweet for you. If you are constantly fighting, this is not the right person for you. If you are nervous about saying something wrong in front of this person, this is not the right person for you. If you cannot be your amazing self in front of this person, this is DEFINITELY not the right person for you.
Love is not just something that you feel, it is something that you do. This is something that my husband said to me once and I will never forget it. You can't just say you love someone and think it will all be ok - you have to live the love. You have to put their needs before your own. You have to want to make them happy as often as you can.
You have to love who you are when you are when you are around your partner. And if you don't? Move on with your life. There is a lobster out there for everyone, you just have to keep looking.