It’s been a while since I’ve been involved with anyone, actually a long while, and most of that time had been on purpose, so I could pursue other opportunities. During a brief lull in my jam-packed life, something just crept up on me. And even though it didn’t work out, I learned a lot.
1) Long distance can work if both parties are 100% on board.
For months, we talked every single day either by phone, text, and skype (or some combination). If both people are invested in communicating and sharing their lives, even the most mundane stuff, a relationship can flourish.
2) Communication is extremely important.
I always say, “I’m not a mindreader, so if you want me to know something, you’re going to have to tell me.” And that works both ways. I was pretty vocal about my needs and wants. Good feedback I received: He always knew what to expect from me. In fact, good communication on both of our ends, for the most part, kept us together for as long as it did. (He lived on the West Coast while I was back home.)
3) You have to pursue each others’ interests - not operate individually in a relationship of two.
It was always understood that he’d do what was best for him. And I’d do what was best for me. The problem is that when you pursue your own interests, there’s no room for a we or us; there’s just a you and I who function independently. At some point in time, someone has to give a little, then the other has to reciprocate as well.
4) You have to enter in with the same expectations. And perhaps step back and pull out when you sense hesitancy.
See above and below. I wanted to end ‘whatever-it-was’ back in December, but I felt guilty. He said to me, “You know you pull away even if someone may like you. Even if they don’t like you as much as you like them, they still like you.” And his assessment was right; however, staying only proved me right - that I liked him more than he liked me.
5) Guys who really like you, like head-over-heels-for-you-like you, will do just about anything for you - like crazy stuff. If they like you, doing stuff for you won’t seem like a chore - they’ll want to do it.
He told me all the wonderful stuff he did for his past couple of girlfriends. Throughout us talking, I’m 99.9% positive I wasn’t getting a fraction of the stuff I knew he was capable of giving (not just monetary gifts, but thoughtful, creative gifts). I knew in my heart that I’d never be on the receiving end. Yet, I do believe that guys, when they really like a girl, will do crazy stuff for her, and love doing those things, too. He just has to think she’s ‘it’ and ‘special’.
6) I’m capable of deeply loving and caring for someone, and one day, I’ll have a lasting, crazy, stupid, love for someone. And I’m hopeful someone will reciprocate that affection.
I really loved him. Not the in-love-with-him, want-to-spend-the-rest-of-my-life-with-him love, but a kind of love that really cared about his well-being. He was my best friend for a while. I wanted to be a part of his life, and I wanted him to be a part of my life. And when things fizzled out, my heart broke, for the first time ever.
7) Don’t give your heart to someone who doesn’t reciprocate.
You love because you want to, not because you expect anything in return. However, when it’s more one-sided, it drains you, and it’s simply not sustainable. You can’t have a relationship by yourself.
In all of my past experiences, I gave more than I received. Guys came back with apologies saying they were sorry for having taken me for granted when I was so good to them. I’m still trying to figure out a way to not necessarily ‘take more’ - that’s not really me - but not accept bare minimum effort or something significantly less than what I’m giving or something less than I deserve… Something along those lines.
8) Someone’s past most certainly affects their present and future.
I don’t know what happened between him and his ex. I didn’t ask, and I honestly don’t care to know. It’s none of my business. But I do think that he must’ve been really hurt, which made him overly cautious with me or whoever came next, for that matter. If my analysis is true, it’s a good lesson for me moving forward. Everyone gets hurt, but you can’t close yourself off to the possibility of something great with someone else. (Even if my speculation isn’t true, it’s still a good lesson!)
9) Walls don’t come down unless they take them down. And guess what? You shouldn’t have to go through or climb over one. If they’re not letting you in, you won’t get in.
See above and below.
10) I’m worth a whole bunch.
For a good while, a lot of me felt inadequate. I felt like I was trying to convince him of my worth, and it felt like running on a treadmill, and I’d never be able to get off. Through it all, I realized I could only be myself, no more, no less.
11) If you haven’t labeled anything—if he’s not your boyfriend, and you’re not his girlfriend—then you can’t expect anything.
I think a lot of my feelings of inadequacy stemmed from being insecure with what we were. I remember asking myself, “How much longer before he actually commits? Is he ever going to commit? It’s already been a few, four, five months!” We never defined anything. People, especially women, like feeling secure. You’ll always feel insecure if you don’t know where you stand, whether labeled or unlabeled. And it’s hard to expect anything when you don’t even know what you are.
12) You can’t depend on someone to make you happy; you have to be happy being alone until you no longer have to be alone.
For whatever reason(s), things don’t always work out. When we were hanging out, I was really, really happy. When it ended, I wasn’t bitter or angry, but rather really sad and hurt. I know those feelings aren’t going to last forever. I’ve been single for 25 years, and I’ve done a pretty good job of taking care of myself. And one day, I will be happy being with someone. But for now, I can be happy on my own.
13) The ultimate realization: If a guy really, truly likes you, he’ll make it happen; y’all will be together.
I think a lot of girls ask themselves, “Was it me? Was it something I did wrong? What could I have done differently?” While it is always advisable to work on yourself, to better yourself, to change because you want to; the real truth is that he didn’t change for you because he just wasn’t that into you. And there probably wasn’t anything you could’ve done differently to have made him like you (more/better/mo better) either. I hate to be blunt, but guys are never too busy to get what they want. They find it very satisfying to get something they want. If he’s already gone, you have your answer. Even if he’s not ‘gone’, the solution is still the same. It’s in your best interest to pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and move on.
I think the overall experience was good. I certainly learned a lot about myself and how I want to move forward. However, I don’t think it was completely necessary. Like, not having the experience wouldn’t have necessarily prevented me from having a subsequent successful relationship.
I’m proud of myself for trying, though, allowing myself to feel and open up to someone. I just have to be careful moving forward, but not too careful.