I am the stepping stone girlfriend. I am the girl you meet, fall in love with, and swear you can't live without. I am the one who supports you, becomes your biggest cheerleader, gives you her whole heart, mind, and soul. He was the one who tested the limits of how far my love would go. He stretched it, pulled it, until it reached a level of discomfort neither of us could live with.
It started small, maybe a night out with the boys that ran a little too long. From there, it bloomed into a myriad of misbehavior.
He was out until 3 am.
He told me he liked my old lipstick better than my new shade.
He stopped kissing me after my lipstick has been applied.
He got drunk every weekend and stretched it into weekdays.
He would cancel our plans at the last minute or, worse, not show up at all.
He flirted with other women.
He yelled at me.
He twisted my arm and I dropped to my knees in pain.
The list went on and on. I begged. I pleaded. I participated in too many late night talks about "our relationship." We broke up. We got back together. We broke up again. Finally, I decided I was worth more and stopped the cycle.
Fast forward a few months and he is with someone new. He is a "new man." He thanks me for our relationship. "I have learned so much. Meeting you was a blessing because it showed me what I could lose if I continued the way I did." Those words feel like acid burning my ears.
I am the stepping stone girlfriend, wife, or lover. At least I feel like it. What I need to realize is that I compromise out of fear. I settle for relationships that don't serve me, are abusive, or are simply not a fit. I hold on, in spite of every sign, because I fear that I will never find true love. Maybe, on some level, I question if I am worthy of it.
I set poor boundaries.
I don't make my deal breakers clear.
I change myself to suit someone else's needs.
I accept incompatibility.
I accept disrespect.
I accept being the side-chick.
I refuse to compromise because I carry baggage from my past.
If you are reading this and can identify, declare with me. "This stops now."
It's time that we stop judging how happy our exes are by what they post on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. It's time to stop filling our minds full of resentments based on happy photos. It's time to reclaim our lives, own our part of it, be grateful for the lessons and gifts.
It's time to move on with a new love, ourselves.
We are the ones we must meet, fall in love with, and swear we can't live without. We are the ones who support ourselves, become our own biggest cheerleaders, give our whole heart, mind, and soul to our own better good. We will test the limits of how far our love can go.
To reach a new level of comfort, one must first become uncomfortable.
Are you willing to become uncomfortable to find true love, to be your own stepping stone for your greater good?
I deserve this. So do you.