Our gorgeous friend, Brooklyn, is wondering if things would be different if she had just put up with his excessive drinking and partying. She's wondering if the breakup was really her fault.
Here's what she wrote:
Your blog has helped me enormously after my recent breakup.
However, I have a lingering question. Was it me? Did I make our love not worth fighting for? Did I take the fact that I thought my boyfriend would never leave me for granted?
To give you some background, I was with my boyfriend for about 9 months. I have never loved someone as deeply as I loved him and he said the same to me. However, our relationship started to get rocky a few months ago.
I felt alcohol and friends were his priority and I was always second best. To give an example, one night a few months ago I was grieving the birthday of my deceased mother, as well as other life stresses and he chose to go out with our friends to drink that night despite me voicing that I really needed his company/support that night.
He ended the relationship due to excessive fighting, however I am strong enough to admit I was rarely the culprit of the fights.
We recently took a vacation together as a couple and he left me during the day to get absolutely black out drunk with other men he had just met (I'll have you know it was Valentines Day as well) and he proceeded to come back to the room about 6 or 7 hours later and vomit on every surface in the room and verbally and physically abuse me.
I'll admit I should have taken a step back from the relationship then, but I could not bring myself to do so as I felt I NEEDED him in my life.
A few weekends ago, we had dinner plans with a large group of friends. I had only seen him a few times in the past 2 or 3 weeks after our vacation, due to him being out of town and my being busy with University.
He went pre-drinking with this group, and I met them a little while later. He did not sit with me at the table that night, or make an effort to speak to me for the 3 or 4 hours we were there. A friend of mine even mentioned so.
Afterwards, he was planning on going to one of the friends houses to continue drinking for the night. However, I was craving "couple" time with his at this point (perhaps wine and hot tubing at home, or a funny movie).
He was going to go to the party whether or not I was going to go, which made me feel like he was choosing his friends over me/ our relationship.
So here's my question- was this my insecurity talking? Was I feeling like he didn't care whether I was there out of insecurity or for a valid reason?
So here's where I'm trying to get at...I recognize that he may be emotionally immature (we are both 21) and may have an alcohol problem, but I know that is not something I should ever try to change or control.
I can't help but ask myself, should I have been more laid back and accepted who he was, and wait for him to mature while still being in the relationship? What if I had jut gone to that party Friday instead of arguing that I did not feel important...Where would we be then?
Thank you so much Jane,
You're so welcome! I’m so glad you’re finding help here. What you’re asking is a question familiar to most of us who’ve wondered the same thing when we find ourselves in the midst of a breakup we didn’t ask for and never wanted.
“Was it me?”
The truth is that it’s never you and it’s always you; this is the paradox of the role we play in every single one of our relationships. We bring who we are and we reap who we are.
There’s a dynamic that we contribute to simply by being who we are. So if you look at what might have been different or what your relationship might be like instead if only you had just gone to the party and not made a big deal of him choosing to go instead of wanting to spend time with you, you’ve got the paradox right there in front of you.
Yes, it would have been different for that particular moment and on other particular occasions just like this where you were able to respond in the way you wish you had. But no, it wouldn’t have been any different in the end if you weren’t able to sustain that kind of action, if you weren’t able to act the way you wanted to consistently.
Being in a relationship with someone isn’t an act, it’s not something you do, it’s who you are.
And if that person isn’t what or who you want to be, then use that feeling as motivation to change what you want to change about yourself or to work on your own insecurities so they no longer dictate your behaviors.
Don’t beat yourself up for what you didn’t know or couldn’t have known at the time. Someone who loves you, loves YOU! Yes, you. You with all your imperfections, all your perceived weaknesses, and everything you wish you were.
That’s the message I want you to take from this. What we call our insecurities or all the stuff of our own inner dialogue of "woulda, shoulda, coulda" is really our intuitive selves knowing there was something there even if we can’t quite put a finger on it.
Unless you wanted a drinking, partying, buddy-prioritizing kind of guy, this so obviously wasn’t the guy for you!
The bigger question for you to ask yourself is why are you trying to convince yourself he was? What is it about you that makes someone who behaves like this so attractive and appealing to you that you’re sitting here spending your beautiful time and energy thinking about what YOU should have done differently in an attempt to hold on to someone you obviously knew wasn’t worth holding onto when you were with him real time?
I’ve been there, Brooklyn.
I had my own bag of regrets that I used to hold onto and take everywhere with me. I've been with the guy who loved to party, who loved to drink, who loved to go out with his friends, and always seemed to choose them first over me.
I always felt like I came second no matter how much he would tell me it was all in my head and he wouldn’t be with me if he didn’t want to be with me. But I knew there was something more there, so that feeling always stayed with me and I always tried to keep my own insecurities at bay, but of course they would still come through at times when other stresses or other triggers would arise.
So when I look back on all this now, while I can say that if I had only kept my own insecurities in check, we would have had an entirely different relationship and everything would have been so much better than it was, the other side of it is that I was who I was at that time. I had to grow through my experiences in order to become more secure, in order to overcome those insecurities, and no amount of acting would have changed that if that wasn't who I was ultimately capable of being.
Could I have kept him and the relationship if I had been able to?
Only as long as I could pretend, maybe. But as soon as the real me came through that didn't fit in with who he was and what he was looking for from me, it would have been rocky again.
My point is that each of us are who we are. We can either accept or reject that.
But the bigger question here, is that if you can’t accept yourself, if you can’t look at who you are, the real you , all of you, including those parts that feel insecure or needy or whatever else you call them, you will always be second-guessing yourself and setting yourself up to be rejected for the very things you find so difficult to accept in yourself.
I hope this helps, Brooklyn, even though it may be more of an answer than you were looking for. It’s a big question!
What are your thoughts? Was is her fault that the relationship ended? Or did she do the right thing? Tell us what you think in the comments!