My last girlfriend treated me like her whole world. She stayed up overnight for close to a week, putting together a music box for my birthday — a cute little house with an adorable couple inside. On my birthday cake, it wrote, “Best Piggy Ever.” She gave 110% of herself to me. I felt like a prince.
Fast forward to us moving in together, she threatened to go back to New York. At a vulnerable time when I was going through legal issues, I begged for her to stay. That was the beginning of the dynamic change. It went from her admiring me to me catering to her over the course of two years. The combination of her getting to know the real me, and me becoming more dependent on her led to me losing respect and power in the relationship. The balance tilted so much that I eventually paid 95% of our bills and did all of our chores. Yet, it still didn’t satisfy her enough.
I couldn’t stand her ego anymore. More importantly, my own ego couldn’t accept the reality that she doesn’t look up to me the way she used to. Even after agreeing to part ways, I begged her to stay once again — out of fear. She ended up bringing a new guy friend to stay overnight at my house — in the same room. That crossed my line.
So, I just received our judgment of dissolution the other day — a divorce certificate. Why does this matter anymore? Well, I just started seeing someone else. We played golf, and I think I left a good impression by seeing how nervous she was around me. Again, I feel like an admired man. But this time, I’m scared. She invited me along for a car ride the other day, but I declined out of not wanting to move things too fast. I’m afraid that my Mr. Perfect image will once again be shattered.
So many people become cautious about jumping into a new relationship to avoid being hurt. The previous wounds haven’t yet healed. For me, it’s protecting my self-esteem. I don’t want to mean so much to her, only to lose that place in her heart months later.
With that said, though, I’m even more afraid of not giving it a chance. Pain isn’t the scariest. Regret is.
For us who hesitate about committing to a new person and are guarded, life is too short to hold back. The uncertainty is part of the thrill in romance. The more we shy away from the potential harm, the more likely it will manifest itself like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Everything in life comes at a cost. Love, the most sacred, beautiful, and invaluable thing in the world comes at the cost of potential pain. It requires courage. So:
Be willing to trust even if you’ve been betrayed before.
Be willing to be transparent even if you’ve been judged before.
Be willing to give even if you’ve been taken advantage of before.
Be willing to express your opinions even if you’ve been criticized before.
Be willing to go all-in even if you’ve been burnt before.
I’ve decided to go on without overthinking. I retained the lessons from the last relationship while understanding that no two people or relationships are the same. Rather than putting up a wall and keeping my current partner at a distance, it’s better to just be my authentic self from the beginning to the end despite the risk of getting hurt.
At this moment, whether she treats me differently in the future isn’t my concern.
Often, we’re really afraid of falling into a pattern where we keep meeting people who exploit our same weakness repeatedly. For instance, if we had a history of dating unfaithful partners, we’ll likely develop a stained view towards potential mates as well. We’re on high alert whenever they text a mutual friend of the opposite sex. But it’s not fair to them. Former partners can make us wiser, but it doesn’t mean we can predict the next person’s behavior based on the last one.
Heartbreaks suck. But then again, what’s a life without any emotional scars?
Previously published on medium
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