A few months back, I broke up with my girlfriend. We had been going out for a year and a half, and things were getting serious. I was worried about a bunch of reasons and took the decision of breaking up. It was a tough choice to make because I was still in love with her.
As the months passed, I had the time to reflect on our relationship and the reasons I broke up with her. Come to think of it, most of them were details. I had run away from the greatest relationship I ever had.
Should have I done things differently? That’s a resounding “yes”. In a way, it’s too late now but you don’t have to make the same mistake.
Be aware of your baggage
Your past relationships weigh on you. Whether you’d like to admit it or not, you’re the person you are today because of your past relationships. Accept it and make it part of you once and for all.
That girlfriend who cheated on you, the one that dropped as if you were a bag of trash, the long-distance relationship you had, even that sex friend you had back then. Everybody left an impact on you. Often heavier than you’d like to accept.
How can you trust someone else after being cheated on? How could you see your life with someone when you got used to seeing the other once every few months? How could you open yourself when the last time you did you were hurt? How can you make the right efforts for a relationship when you lived through the “easier” version that is a sex friend relationship?
Those examples? They’re all things I’ve experienced. They represent part of my baggage. They are what I suffered through. They are what I tried to put behind but also what my heart reminds me never to forget.
My last relationship had other problems. Smaller problems one might say. Our favorite foods were what the other hated most. We felt misunderstood often. She hated that I smoke. I was disappointed by her fixed mindset. But that’s not what weighed the most.
It was the fear found in the possibility of fixing those.
Fear is always around the corner
I believe “Potential” is one of the scariest words in the English language. It is positive, but also negative in the sense that it implies the possibility of failure. From experience, we’ve all come to associate potential with failure. We realize the existence of successes, but we forget the times they happened. Only remembering the tough times.
Yet, no matter what you do, everything is “potential”. Every choice you make has a positive and a negative outcome. Every “yes” you say means you said “no” to something else.
As you’re carrying your baggage, you subconsciously try to avoid what could hurt you again. You fear the idea of experiencing the same pain.
In my case, many of my past relationships ended abruptly. Out of nowhere, I got broken up with, cheated on, or told to “take a break” (never to start again). What scar did those leave? The fear of being broken up with out of the blue.
Guess what happened? I ended up being the one doing that exact thing. On a dark Tuesday night, I broke up with my girlfriend without leaving her a choice nor a say in the matter.
What else was I afraid of? The exact opposite. I had learned through experience that relationships had an end. As we were talking about marriage, country to live in, and other long-term matters, I got scared. Afraid of the absence of an “end”.
What you’re afraid of is probably different. But you are afraid. There is something scaring you away. Accept it. It’s there to stay. But don’t work on them alone.
Share your worries
Good relationships are based on healthy communication. If you don’t share what you want or need, how could the other one know?
But it’s not just about sharing what you want or need, it’s also about that worries you. What your fears are. What type of baggage you are bringing to the table.
Everything that worried me in my relationship was kept within me. Sure, I shared them. With my friends. But with the person impacted by them? Oh no. That was the biggest mistake by far.
Communication in a relationship is the main thing, without it, you’re just two people.
If you open yourself by sharing, there is a risk of being hurt again. Yet, nothing in life comes without risk. In a relationship, the risk of being hurt is the best kind you can take. If no solution is found then, at least, you tried. If a solution is found, then you’re good to go.
Keeping things for yourself won’t help. Creating an exchange will.
At the end of the day, a “good relationship” looks very different for everybody. One of the similar components to every good relationship is the importance given to communication.
If you’re thinking of breaking up or if you’re worried about the other breaking up, have an honest talk. Will it be easy? Hell no!
But would you rather finish a relationship with problems that could have been solved? I can tell you from experience: You definitely do not.