I thought that if we didn’t mess up if we never argued if we always did the right thing—then our relationship will have the longevity I craved for.
I honestly believed the key to getting married was to "be perfect."
We would never fight. We would always feel validated by one another.
I would be madly in love with his smile, and he would harass my hair until I felt asleep on his shoulders.
Of course, I see now how silly that was.
One time he said something incredibly hurtful, pointing out some of my physical flaws. It sliced up my heart.
But rather than admitting my devastation, I laughed it off. Because a cool girl can laugh about her body, right? She isn’t insecure.
Now I see that I should’ve said how much he hurt me, and we could’ve had an honest conversation.
Instead, I worked twice as hard to achieve emotional perfection to compensate for my physical imperfections. It wasn’t real, it wasn’t good, and it definitely wasn’t me.
That scenario played out over and over again. He made decisions I disagreed with, but I never spoke up. He hurt me, but I bottled down my emotions.
I hardly said no, never expressed my frustration, and kept everything together.
I never exposed secrets and never allowed the man I was dating to know the real me.
No mess to wade through, no lovable imperfections to discover.
At the core of it, I refused to allow myself to be vulnerable.
As my therapist told me, “Risk is always involved when you chose to be vulnerable, yet if we are not vulnerable, authentic, and transparent, we may never be known and received.
There is fear in being vulnerable, yet great freedom is in being known, seen, and received."
I thought that being the perfect girlfriend would lead to a connection, but really I just created an unrealistic version of myself.
I was a shell. Our romance was the sterile ground where love and intimacy couldn’t grow.
It’s no wonder he never fell in love with me; I didn’t give him any raw materials to work with.
Out of fear of being without someone, I became someone other than myself.
To be honest, I was terrified of being found out.
I had worked so hard to say yes to every date, to put a smile on my face even on my worst days, and to always answer phone calls.
I even made fancy dinners. I hate cooking. But I thought perfect girlfriends cooked.
I didn't feel secure in my personal identity; hence I never had a sense of safety that is necessary for a healthy relationship.
If you are secure in who you are as a person, you have the capacity to enter into safe and trustworthy relationships knowing that your identity is not at stake if the relationship does not work out.
Now I’m learning that being a good partner to someone demands nothing more than my best self—my authentic self.
Don't become something just because someone else wants you to or because it's easy; you won't be happy.
You have to do what you really want to do, even if it scares the shit out of you.
So in my next relationship, I’m going to expect a bit of a mess.
I will make mistakes and allow the one I’m with to help me pick up the pieces.
I will allow myself the grace to fail while always striving to do better, knowing that at my worst, I am still lovable.
We are all a fantastic mix of mess and miracle. Relationships are meant to be a space where two people can let down their guards and become that person in someone else’s life who knows them better than anyone.
Be imperfect. Show your weaknesses. Be upset sometimes. Not making mistakes, as I’ve learned, is really the biggest mistake of all.