- You have to be super sensitive to someone else’s needs all the time. “Babe, are you ok? Babe, I feel really distant from you right now. What’s going on?!” You’re slightly paranoid all of the time. Their highs are your highs. Their lows are your lows. It can just get…super exhausting.
- Someone has power over you. They have the ability to make you sublimely happy and they can also make you feel super depressed. You lose slight control over your moods. When you enter a relationship, it’s as if you sign a contract that says, “I give you 70% of my feelings. I acknowledge that you can play with them, make them feel good, and I also acknowledge that you can fucking destroy them.”
- You worry you might lose yourself in the relationship. You could simply become a +1 and just start to have no other identity than “I’m someone’s boyfriend/girlfriend.” It will go on your tombstone: “Sarah Taylor (Tom Smith’s girlfriend. The one with the blonde hair)” and that will be that. Because you’re so afraid of that happening, you’ll have to designate certain evenings as “girls night” or “boys night” and you’ll constantly be worrying about your friends being mad at you and feeling deserted. You’ll feel sad that you even have to do this, that you can’t just see them without labeling it as “This is the time I see my friends.” Maybe you can, maybe you can’t. It all depends on the person and the relationship.
- The fights that never seem to go anywhere or get resolved. One minute you’re laughing together and the next you’re threatening to break up. Once these fights become recurring, you know the relationship is living on borrowed time.
- Realizing how crazy you can be. Becoming consumed with jealousy, hacking into emails, questioning your lover’s whereabouts. You take a step back and think to yourself, “Um, who is this person? Why is love making me act like a psycho nightmare?” Relationships can make you become someone you aren’t—someone who is slightly terrifying and needs to know everything all the time. “BABE, WHERE R U? HELLO? BABE!”
- You have to like their friends even if they’re terrible. Their best friend might even hate you and you might just hate them, but you still have to put time in and hang out together. You realize you might be chained to this best friend forever. If you get married to your significant other, this person will be showing up to your fiftieth birthday party with a smirk on their face. And you’re just thinking to yourself, “I didn’t even want to know you for one day, let alone 2o years.”
- The fear that the sex will become routine and mechanical. There was a time when you couldn’t keep your hands off of each other. Their body was brand new and you couldn’t wait to discover every nook. Now it’s become like a treasure map with frayed edges and smudged markings. You’ve seen all of it. You’ve done everything you can to it and now it just sits there looking old and familiar.
- The cold harsh reality of cheating. Wondering if you could ever hurt the person you love the most if you had one too many cocktails one night. Four margaritas + one person you’re attracted to = one irrevocable mistake.
- You’re worried that one day your lover will break your heart. They’ll spend years nurturing it and letting it grow. Then one day they’ll destroy everything in a moment. You won’t recognize the person who broke your heart. You’ll question whether or not you ever truly knew them. One day they have a face that you know and love, and the next they look and feel like a stranger. This is something that everyone experiences at some point but when it happens to you, it will be the most bizarre foreign experience of your life.
- You’re worried that one day you’ll break their heart. You’ll just wake up one morning and decide you’re over it. Or maybe it will happen more gradually like a sickness that’s building in your stomach. Their jokes will stop being appealing and their body will look sallow. And you almost wish they could be the one to dump you. Because if someone falls out of love with you, there’s someone to blame. But if you’re the one who ruins them, you have no one to blame but yourself .
Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.
“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino
Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.