I used to attribute the miserable state of my past relationship to my ex, holding him responsible for being childish, impolite, conceited, and unyielding. In my view, these traits were the reasons why our partnership failed. Nonetheless, upon introspection and confronting some harsh realities, I had to confront the truth that I was the problem. Though our relationship was undoubtedly unhealthy, I contributed to its toxicity. Here's how:
1. I Read Too Much Into Everything
Everyone overanalyzes things sometimes, but I took it to an unhealthy level. I not only read too much into my ex's actions, but I also became obsessed with them. I analyzed every little thing, no matter how insignificant, and questioned him about it. At the time, I didn't realize just how crazy it was.
2. My Expectations Were Too Rigid
My expectations for a partner weren't necessarily high, but they were specific. I had a detailed mental list of the qualities I wanted in a guy. When my ex didn't check off every box, I tried to change him to fit my ideal image of a perfect partner. I even became the type of girlfriend who threw out half of her boyfriend's clothes because I didn't like them. Yikes.
3. I Was Always Jealous
To be fair, my ex had a considerable number of female friends, which made me uneasy. Personally, I have never been fond of that dynamic, and it still makes me uncomfortable. Instead of forbidding him from spending time with Sarah and Jenny, I would have been better off expressing my discomfort in a more constructive manner, rather than resorting to shouting. Perhaps I could have suggested that he hang out with David and Brian instead.
4. I Was Insecure AF
In one's youth, it's natural to feel insecure about everything; it's almost inevitable. I was no exception, mainly because I was following reality stars and Victoria's Secret models on Instagram, and that was all I saw. I yearned to alter my appearance to resemble theirs - my hair, my weight, my clothing - everything. My lack of self-confidence led me to seek a great deal of approval from my ex-partner, and when he failed to provide it, I would become irate.
5. I Constantly Questioned Him
I had trust issues with my partner. I was afraid that he might cheat on me, although I wasn't entirely convinced. I was aware that infidelity is not uncommon, even in healthy relationships, so I was apprehensive. I didn't want to be the girl who walked in on her boyfriend having an affair with some stunning woman he met at the gym. That's why I felt the need to constantly question him, asking where he was going, who he was going with, and why he would rather spend time with others instead of me.
6. My Communication Sucked
Instead of engaging in a mature conversation, my partner and I resorted to screaming at each other. I lacked the necessary communication skills to discuss things calmly, especially since he was my first serious relationship. Instead, I either shouted or gave him the silent treatment.
7. I Was Needy… And I Knew It
Despite the duration of our relationship, I still expected it to be the same as when we first met. I craved constant communication and attention from him, but I failed to recognize that I was suffocating him. I thought my behavior was normal, but I was aware of my neediness.
8. I Never Thought I Was Wrong
I always believed my partner was the one to blame, never myself. While it's true that he was sometimes in the wrong, in hindsight, I can see that I also played a part. I used to view everything as his fault and demanded an apology, giving him the cold shoulder for weeks until I received one.
9. I Couldn't Express Emotion
Demonstrating emotions has always been challenging for me, particularly with my romantic partners. While I can express myself effortlessly to my friends, family, or even strangers, I find myself freezing when I need to reveal my feelings to the person I'm dating. Sadly, my ex never understood the depth of my affection for him since I never articulated it to him.
10. My Idea Of A Relationship Wasn't Realistic
I hold the media partly responsible for propagating impractical concepts of an ideal relationship. I wasn't equipped to handle disagreements or accommodations since I believed that if two people liked each other, they would automatically agree on everything and live happily ever after. I was mistaken. This unrealistic approach to relationships left me ill-prepared to navigate a real one.