By Blas Trejo Banda
Too often, I see people in relationships. Happy couples walking around holding hands, traveling and sharing their experiences along the way via social media. I’m 30 years old and have been single for 10 years. I often find myself contemplating this fact. Is there something wrong with me? The only thing I can do, as a form of reflection, is to look at my past and see what I can do to learn from those experiences.
We were both 18. We met on Myspace (anyone remember Myspace?) and decided to hang out. One thing led to another and next thing I knew we were in a relationship. I consider this my “free fall” stage; anything that looked good, smelled good, and tasted good was more than enough for me. My first love ended up breaking my heart when I found out that he was using me to cheat on his boyfriend. Once this ideal was shattered, our relationship immediately ended.
We met at a club and a few weeks later we were almost inseparable. Little did I realize at the time, he was the rebound for relationship #1. Although I walked around acting like I was unaffected by my heartbreak, I was falling apart on the inside. I wanted to retaliate and the only way I could see how was to let him see me happy. This relationship too would diminish very quickly. After 3 months of the honeymoon stage, it ended abruptly when I found he was involved with someone else. I can tolerate a lot, but if someone’s heart isn’t in it than I would rather not waste my time or his.
This one took me by surprise. Someone I didn’t know sent me a message stating that her best friend thought I was cute. I entertained the idea of going on a blind date, because I figured that I had nothing to lose. I ended up agreeing to a blind date. Unfortunately, I wasn’t really attracted to him, but he was kind hearted and sweet, so I figured it would be worth the shot. My feelings toward him never evolved into anything intense. We didn’t have much sexual contact. He felt more like a friend than anything else. This relationship also met the same fate as my first two. When he broke up with me, I was relieved. Simply because he had the balls to do what I couldn't.
What I take from my past experiences is that when I am truly and authentically ready, I'll be willing to take the right person in.
In relationship #1, I learned that I need to be patient. Sometimes I want to rush into things because I think “this is it, this is the one.” When I rush, I put myself into a position to be hurt.
In relationship #2, my heart was already broken. I need to remember to allow myself time to heal, so that way I’m not bringing excess baggage from a previous relationship into a new one. I realized how I had used someone to help me feel good about myself and to retaliate against someone else. In the end I did more damage to him than he did to me.
In relationship #3, I realized that I once again used someone to improve my self worth. I had no desire or attraction to be with him, yet I stayed because it gave me some validation. I stayed because I wanted to be loved, and I ended up doing more harm to him than he had done to me.
After three failed relationships, I had a moment of clarity. I needed to work on myself. Walking around, with what I feel is justifiable anger, can diminish relationships with myself and others. I needed to allow myself time to heal.
Healing from a broken relationship is like breaking a bone; you can't cut off the cast after a week because it hasn’t had enough time to repair properly. Most of all, I learned that I need to learn how to love myself. For so long, I looked to others for validation when the only person I needed to accept me is the man I saw looking back at me in the mirror.
Today I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. I still see all those pictures of loving couples on social media and sometimes ask why is that not me. I remind myself that, in due time, I will find a relationship that is appropriate for me. I just have to remember that patience and self-reflection can go a long way.