It’s no secret that I’ve had my (and your) fair share of relationships. I’ve been a husband, a boyfriend, a lover, and a plaything (not all at once, mind you…). I’ve fought for relationships that didn’t want to be saved, and I’ve given up on couplings that maybe just needed more effort. I’ve broken hearts and I’ve had my heart broken. Yet, as I look back over what went wrong during those times, a certain gleam of something relative and familiar catches my eye. It’s not that there wasn’t attraction or chemistry—the opposite is usually true. No, instead, one related seam runs through the entirety of my relationships: regardless if it was their fault or mine, I was hardly ever allowed to be myself.
Looking back, it’s easy for me to place blame wherever I please. It makes me look better if it was her fault and not mine. But the truth is, often times, I would change who I was to accommodate a female simply so she would like me. She didn’t ask me to do this, nor did she encourage it, but nevertheless, I was a contrite version of myself—some far-flung caricature of what I could or should be. It wasn’t right. In all honesty, it was a lie. Yet, in other instances, I wasn’t enough for her and the desires she held for a partner. As said in A Knight’s Tale, “You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting. Come back when you’re worthy.” It wasn’t easy to feel such rejection, but that fateful tossing away eventually led me to a place where I am found happy and content—a place where I am accepted.
The truth is this: though we want companionship and a lasting forever with someone, it is in our best interest to find someone who will accept us for who we are, for who we will always be. This belief seems elementary, yet enough relationships have floundered simply because one partner or the other was found to be inadequate. Is it because a charade was perpetrated? Perhaps. In a time when rejection is felt deepest, it’s simply too easy for us to pretend to be someone we are not—someone we believe will be more readily accepted and even loved.
I can say with certainty that I am finally in a relationship where I am encouraged to be who I am and to do so fully. She understands that I like stupid movies and a dirty joke every now and then. She supports my wanting to write full time (something that was harshly discouraged in former relationships) and she understands that there’s a bit of madness to me; a madness that requires time to myself every now and again. Part of this relational success is because she’s a wonderful woman, while the other part is my coming to the realization that I deserve someone who wants me for me; nothing more, nothing less.
It’s imperative to remember that although a relationship is a nice enough complement to our life, it isn’t the end all, be all of our existence…especially if having a relationship means changing who we are to meet the expectations of another. It’s in that weakening of our self-worth when mistakes are made and hearts can be broken.
More than ever before, be who you are, and rightfully require that a potential partner accept you fully. With that solidified fortitude, a fulfilled forever is not only possible, but readily available.
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