“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” – Anne Lamott
I was in a relationship for eight months that ended over the holidays, but officially…a week ago. With the support of my dear friends, family, and therapy, I’ve been able to see it for what it was. I share the following because that’s the promise I made to myself when I started this blog. I also share because I know how many people out there suffer from this same sort of relationship dynamic. You are not alone.
Here is what I know. I dated the person they told me they were. Someone who had ended an almost decade long relationship two years ago. Someone who processed and healed from that relationship. Someone unemployed, but in school. Someone without addiction problems. Someone ready for a serious relationship.
None of this turned out to be true. I made exceptions and rationalized many situations, but when I realized this…it was too late for me. I had attached myself to him. His behaviors early on created the belief we would have a healthy relationship. It makes sense why there was lying – I wouldn’t have dated him if I knew the truth. Or, would I have? He is a good person. I just wanted the choice.
Being lied to and deceived by someone you think you love is a situation no one prepares for. I never expected to be here. The biggest conflict with deceit is between the head and the heart – what we know and what we feel. They often don’t match up and can cause a lot of stress, confusion, and frustration.
If I have confirmed anything about myself, it’s that I am anxious. My anxious attachment was less concerned that something was wrong, and more concerned I fix the problem to stay together. It should have been a red flag that my anxiety was acting up. That I constantly felt compared to an old relationship(s) and I wasn’t allowed to be my own person with feelings. I was experiencing a build up of hurt, frustration, blame, shame, and more too early on in the relationship. I stopped trusting myself.
I allowed myself to become my WORST self in many situations. I exhibited a lot of unhealthy behaviors that I take full responsibility for. I am never entitled to invade someone else’s privacy. I cannot control other people’s actions. How someone chooses to prioritize their time is their right. You cannot change people, no matter how good your intentions may be.
But hey, I forgive myself. I forgive him. No one is evil here. The cycle of shame will destroy you if you let it.
That still doesn’t mean that lying is ever OK. That doesn’t mean you can’t challenge people’s behavior. Lies are never told for your benefit. Lying in relationships deprives a person of freedom of choice and informed action. Lying violates your partner’s right to make their own decision about whether this behavior is acceptable or not.
Healthy relationships are possible. They exist. Healthy means you recognize you are building something together. You are two different people. You have two different life experiences. You are entering something with two different sets of wants and needs. If you can understand and respect that – you are so ahead of the game.
I’ll end this with a reminder to YOU (and me, of course). You deserve a partner who cares about and respects your feelings. One who considers their choices and how they’ll affect you. One who takes responsibility when they hurt you. It never feels good to hear you’ve hurt someone! We are human and make mistakes. That discomfort NEVER gives anyone the right to refuse to acknowledge their behavior. We have to take responsibility for the decisions we make in this life.
I am. I hope you can too. Never let someone steal your light or take advantage of how much you have to give. You are more powerful and magical than you’ll ever fucking believe!