… and not in an S&M kind of way.
A little background info: my father was and is the quintessential father-figure, and my step-mother’s practicality and purposeful indifference provided balance to my grandparents’ coddling. Although I didn’t grow up with a platinum spoon in my mouth, I grew up extremely rich in love.
Did I even think for a second I’d have issues with dating and relationships? Never.
Fast forward to me, age 17. Although I was super busy leading the fabulous life as a virgin hoochie with severe underlying nerd tendencies , I made sure to provide my then-boyfriend with all of the cliché folded-hearts, stars, and love letters he’d ever [not] want. Jealousy? What’s that? Possessiveness? Psh, that’s what the ugly-folk wear as an armor. Although he cheated on me with a friend in the end, I didn’t let that single experience taint my idealism.
I went out on a few dates in college but as expected, I was met with a slew of modern-day Lotharios. However, I somehow found myself settling down at the age of 19 with a guy I wound up dating for four years. That relationship was very healthy and we only parted ways because I realized we were much too different. I guess I can go as far as to say that that relationship really recharged my batteries and restored some faith that I, too, can have a normal relationship devoid of cheating and lying.
I won’t bore you with the sordid details of all of my past relationships. Suffice it to say, there were some good relationships, and there were some unpleasant ones. However, despite the letdowns and heartaches, I held steadfast to the belief that I should not let past experiences with a few “wrong” guys color my perception of love and relationships. I wanted to give myself a solid, unadulterated chance at love, at whatever cost.
It wasn’t until last year that I realized I had developed some underlying issues along the way. My perception of myself as a good, loving girlfriend was swiftly kicked in the butt as I groped through issues with jadedness and self-pity. The emotional shrapnel from my battles in the past had converged, and formed a mosaic that put to shame the picture I had of myself as a good girlfriend.
Why the drama? I had ended relations with a man who seemed great at the time but only after the fact did I realize he wasn’t who he’d seemed. In fact, he was the polar opposite. I carried a lot of bitter feelings after that relationship, for the first time ever. I had thought he was so different, so very different from the rest but he proved himself to be the same. I never thought I’d be one of those individuals who’d have baggage after a relationship; I was always the one who told my friends to have a tabula rasa from which to construct any healthy relationship. But damn my trusting heart. All of my past feelings of betrayal and hurt that I had [inadvertently] suppressed for so long had gotten caught at the bottleneck of my sanity, and once shaken, those feelings came bursting out …
… and all of the rancid content fell upon my current relationship.
It’s all so alien to me how I went from hating fights in my younger years to starting them in my older (and what seemed wiser) years. I went from being overly-considerate to demanding he understand MY perspective, regardless of whether or not he thought they were trivial. I went from being a great girlfriend — to one of questionable temperament.
And yet he persisted. Being the good man he is, he held my hand as I unraveled the tangled mess in my head, and the cluster-fuck that was my heart. I know this all sounds so dramatic but I really couldn’t understand why things I’d normally let slide became such monstrosities. Why was I punishing someone I love so much? Why was I making him pay for the mistakes of past lovers?
I’ve since pushed aside those feelings of bitterness as I don’t need my failed relationship to color my otherwise clean slate. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m no different from those who hurt, those who bemoan falling into destructive relationships. I believe accepting that I’m no superhero-girlfriend has made me more open to changes. I know that being the man that he is, D deserves so much more than a has-been good girlfriend, and I refuse to let the better part of me die with the memories of old relationships.
I now understand that all of those times I’d dismissed a friend’s girlfriend or boyfriend for “having issues” I was being incredibly judgmental. It’s so easy for us to waive off a psycho or another, saying this or that person has issues because he or she didn’t deal with a particular situation in a favorable manner. Everyone goes through hardships in their lives and in no way was I an exception. People of all ages, religion, and color go through their own battles daily and they don’t deserve scrutiny and narrow-mindedness from others who may not be able to relate. I got off of my high-horse and faced reality, as I knew I needed to in order to get over this hump. And being at ground-level, looking squarely into the eyes of my beloved, I’ve realized — I’m only human, and so long as D and I face any and all obstacles with honesty, earnestness, and persistence, there isn’t anything we can’t accomplish together.
I’ll always strive to treat you with the utmost sincerity, love, and consideration, as you don’t deserve anything less. Thank you for being all that you are — an ear, a shoulder, a hand to hold, my support system … an awe-inspiring confluence of both lover and best friend. I am so blessed to have you in my life.
I love you.