Submersed into the second of half of my twenties—too many failed relationships have motivated my recent commitment to transparency, vulnerability, and growth.
The good news: I am continuing to evolve.
The bad news: I am still experiencing failed relationship after failed relationship—and it is exhausting and unsettling, to say the least.
When it comes to dating, I’ve learned a thing or two, changed my mind more times than I can count, and battled through a never-ending fight with disappointment. Dating as a twenty-something in two major cities has proven equally entertaining as it’s been strenuous.
Recently, I was excited to start dating someone that had a genuine kindness, unlike anything I had been attracted to before. I was excited to feel excited about someone who didn’t seem capable of hurting me. He was great, but it took some time for me to realize that he wasn’t great for me.
Although his inexperience with relationships proved awkward at times, my inexperience with dating nice guys motivated me to travel the unknown. His kindness and good intentions motivated me to stick around, excited to explore where this could lead to. We worked at first, and we worked fast—but if I’m honest, what worked between us was trapped inside my apartment walls. We didn’t work in the real world with everything else, and that was hard to see while dating at the start of a pandemic. We both had jobs, and our jobs kept us busy and slightly distracted. With nowhere to go or much to do, we were comfortable dating at-home.
Then, time caught up with us.
I became severely less distracted as the Black Lives Matter movement was reignited, and the perfect guy, also the cop, was suddenly drenched in imperfection. It wasn’t that I ever thought he was someone capable of enforcing police brutality. Still, when I realized that he was incapable of acknowledging events that happened outside of his experience, I was devastated to realize his immaturity lay deeper than the surface. I was disappointed that I lost the guy that could do no wrong, and found myself in front of the guy that couldn’t see past his own ego. I was hurt by the guy that, I thought, couldn’t hurt me.
Discussions led to disagreements, which led to arguments. I couldn’t help but want to shift his perception so that he could understand the power he had now to be a part of the change in police reform. But we discussed, disagreed, and argued while drifting further away between each conversation.
I spoke up without any regret, and that was ultimately what ended our relationship. Although he used my voice against me, I am proud that I was as honest and reactive as I possibly could have been. He wanted us to slow things down, perhaps pause a bit. He didn’t want things to be over, but he also didn’t want them to move forward—and that was not going to work for me.
Why do so many young people see that as an option today? As if limbo could be a preferred relationship status.
Most importantly, what were the two lessons I extracted from this relationship?
1. Always speak up.
2. Distractions are short-term.
Keep being difficult, keep being honest, and keep saying what you want to say. Keep learning about things you don’t know, and keep having uncomfortable conversations. I think so many of us are driven to complacency to make a relationship work.
It would have been effortless for me to blame myself. It would have been easy to revisit the feeling of regret consumed in overthinking, replaying what I said, when I said it, and how I said it. We may still be in a relationship if I hadn’t spoken up, but instead of regretting my actions, I’m celebrating them and urging you to do the same.
You do not scare off someone that wants to make it work. Disagreements, arguments, and discussions happen in every relationship and the ones that work aren’t the relationships without these conversations but the ones that do and continue forward. As hard as it was accepting this reality, it would have been more challenging to keep on silent while boosting every part of him.
No one deserves a relationship like that. Each one of us deserves a relationship where both voices are heard, celebrated, and acknowledged, and not necessarily agreed upon. Do not settle for less than. Unleash your voice, thoughts, and opinions. Your voice deserves the recognition and I promise you it’s only difficult for people uninterested in growing, learning, and evolving.
Move forward with yourself, and eventually, the right person will be standing beside you.