I know a girl named Mindy who went out with this boy named Andy during high school. They had nothing in common. Mindy was a goody two shoes, Andy was every teacher’s nightmare. She enjoyed school, he couldn’t care less. Mindy promised herself that she would change him for the better. It didn’t go according plan. Instead of her changing him, Andy changed her – for the worse.
Mindy, who had never skipped class before, followed Andy’s footsteps. She, who hated cheating before, began giving Andy’s answers during exam. She didn’t want him to fail and he was far too lazy to study. By the fourth month of their relationship, Mindy had paid much less attention to her classes and was constantly spending her time with Andy. By the sixth month, she had turned into this clingy, overly jealous, and lazy, lazy girl. She had turned into a female version of Andy.
I’ll admit it now, if it’s not that obvious already, that Mindy is me. Andy was my second boyfriend. Thank God we broke up after eight months. Looking back at that time now, I can’t believe I ever went out with him in the first place. I absolutely do not love the me that was with Andy. Skipping classes? Not paying attention in classes? That wasn’t me. I actually cared about my grades. I enjoyed my subjects, for the exception of math and science. And breaking a school’s rule was a big no-no for me. I was afraid of getting caught and that the news would find its way to my parents.
I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to this. A lot of us have had at least one relationship that’s brought the worst in us. Maybe it was turning into a cheater like me or into a smoker because your partner smokes around you all the time, turning into a clingy, sad human being that’s unable to function normally in society without the presence of your other half, or the extreme example: becoming a drug addict because your girlfriend or boyfriend is.
Perhaps some of these examples are a little too extreme. But think about it for a moment. Do they ring close to home? If you’re in a relationship right now, reflect on this: do you love who you are when you are with that person? If you’re not in one, evaluate your past relationships. Did it bring the worst in you?
If you find that you’re smitten with yourself now, congratulations. If you don’t, then you need to evaluate your relationship. Think about what makes you don’t like the you now. Is it because you use to be a social butterfly but ever since you’re with your guy, all you do is watch TV at home with him and you are alienated from your friends and family? Or is it because you have started using drugs because of him? Find out what your reasons are and meditate on them. Can you see yourself changing into your old, lovable self if you stay in the relationship?
Before you answer, consider your situation as well. It is easier to talk your man into going out more than to stay clear of drugs when you’re constantly around a user. Some relationship you can mend, you can fight for, others you just have to let go. Be brave and leave. It’ll be hard. It’ll hurt. But you’ll look back a few years from now and you’ll see that you’ve made the right decision.
Don’t be quick to blame it on your partner. I didn’t blame Andy. It was my choice to let him into my life. He played a part in turning me into a cheater, but it was also my fault. I surrendered easy to bad influence.
Bad relationships give us hell. They bring the worst in us. But they are also great teachers. They equip us with valuable experiences that we can carry into our next relationship. Now we know we can’t be blinded with good looks, money, that six-pack or those gorgeous face. The most important thing is we can love ourselves as much as that person loves us. If we can’t, then reassess quickly. Leave, if you must.
Expect better, more fulfilling relationships in your future. I did. And now I am in my happiest, longest relationship I’ve ever been in. I love myself now. I am a much better person than I was six years ago. Our relationship and the fights, the making up, and the compromises we’ve had to make have taught us to be better partners and better people.
I think that’s how a relationship is supposed to be.