Regret is the worst feeling you can experience. It prevents you from doing anything and makes you feel stuck. The stronger the feeling, the less you improve, and the more smiling feels wrong.
In 2019, I proved to myself that I could be consistent in working toward my goals. I wanted to post daily and my blog and I did. Sure, I spent days without writing during certain periods, but I kept striving and made sure my life would be heading the right way.
Unfortunately, I’ve got one huge regret for 2019. How I handled my relationship with my ex.
Your Goals are not just Yours
As the year progressed, I spent more and more time diving into how to progress in writing, how I could develop my voice and an audience. The progress seemed insignificant but I could feel myself in the right direction. It felt good. It made me happy. It made me proud of myself.
It also made my girlfriend proud of me. That, in turn, helped me push myself further, thus creating a virtuous circle. This combination seemed like a perfect fit.
But relationships cannot be based on one individual being satisfied and working towards his or her goals. It’s okay to have different goals but there should be common ones and, above all, mutual and active support for the other’s goals.
Sure, I was supporting her in her endeavors, but I wasn’t proactive in trying to help her. I could have asked more questions instead of expecting to guess everything since “I’ve come to know and understand her”. Don’t think, talk and act.
You never completely understand anything. After all, you don’t even understand yourself fully, do you?
Schedule Your Love Life
You’re certainly spending your day at work, following schedules, plans, and communicating with colleagues and clients. But the moment you leave work, you expect things to roll smoothly.
Habits you’ve set in place take over, efforts drop and you turn on Netflix. The goals you’ve set for yourself also take priority above the rest.
Should it though? Looking back at it, I realize the main mistake I did was to expect my relationship to be fine without putting much work into it. Nothing goes well without work.
In the 1.5 years we were together, I took 1,029 pictures of my ex. Most of those during random dates around. Among those photos, there were only 83 in the last 6 months. Sure, I took way too many pictures at first. But the difference is still striking.
I remember a trip we took last April during a week-end. Despite having gone away to relax and visit, I ended up spending some time writing. The funny thing? The quality of my article disappointed me because I wrote it in a hurry.
Everything in life needs work and everything needs some kind of planning. I know I’d have felt happier if I had looked at time with her as an important part of my life instead of just a box to tick.
Communication is everything
I love talking and writing. People who’ve met me will all attest to the fact that I can’t stop. Yet, when it comes to my feelings, I shut down. I become a tomb, too heavy to open.
The relationship I had with my ex was magnificent at first. And like any other relationship, with time, problems started arising. A lot of tiny details started weighing on me. Little by little, they eroded me and brought me to one conclusion: “I need to break-up with her.”
On the day I broke up, I mentioned our lack of communication. She was just as awful as I am with communicating her feelings after all.
I knew breaking up was going to be difficult. It took a lot out of me to even start the conversation in the first place. For this reason, I had decided that, no matter what she’d say, I wouldn’t budge on my choice. That day would be the end of our relationship. That’s it.
But then she gave me an awesome proposal:
“What if, every Monday for example, we have a conversation about the previous week’s good and bad points?”
When she proposed that, I thought “Gosh, that’s a good idea.” Simple, yet efficient. Still, I turned it down. “It’s too late now” was my excuse for refusing this great idea.
Was it really too late? No, it wasn’t. Our lack of communication had become an excuse I had been telling myself to find the courage to break-up.
Being “bad at communicating” isn’t a problem if you’re aware of it. In such cases, you need to schedule a time just for it. A moment when you push yourself to do the right thing for the long term, even if you feel uncomfortable about it.
You can’t expect to have a healthy relationship by being with the “right” person. Relationships take work. Some days are incredible. Some are frustrating. Some others are plain hurtful.
Yet it can all be worth it if you remember those three simple bullet points:
- Don’t just be supportive. Be helpful.
- Schedule and treasure your love life as much, if not more, than your goals
- Accept harsh talks and act upon what comes out of them
A life of success without anybody to share it will is not a happy life. It’s a bearable life, and nobody wants just “bearable”.