Before I got into a relationship, I imagined it as something magical- “sugar, spice and everything nice.” I remember seeing couples together and hoped that one day I would get a chance to have that; to have someone appreciate me and love me for who I am. But what I never thought about was the pressure and work that was needed to make a relationship work. I was ignorant to the fact that things could go south quickly.
So, let me share how my first relationship began and ended.
Weirdly, we met online – tinder to be exact. I know, totally lame but I was bored when I downloaded the app (LOL!) Typically, he would slide into my DMs and I would never respond to my tinder DMs because I wasn’t interested; but for some odd reason I responded to his message. We talked a little bit here and there for the next couple of days. It’s kinda crazy how things happen sometimes because about two weeks later, we happened to be at the same place at the same time and we both decided to meet. It was nice to meet and talk to someone for a change. Fast forward a couple months and we were practically inseparable, sometimes neglecting my own friends. At the mere age of 18, I was just excited to have some type of attention from a man for the first time. I was so into the excitement that I didn’t even notice that he never really asked me to become his girlfriend. We became a couple based on assumption. I didn’t get a first date, but I mean what was I to think, I just assumed he preferred hanging out indoors and I was practically a homebody anyways.
I was settling. As it went on, I began to question my worth and what exactly this guy saw in me. My insecurities were literally all over the place. I had seen my fair share of movies and read plenty romance novels to have made my own assumptions about some men and how they treated women; how fake some could actually be. I had the habit of continuously asking him how he felt about me and what he liked/disliked about me. I hated questioning myself and feeling insecure in the relationship, but he reassured me that I was good, and everything was fine. It didn’t help though. I pushed the thoughts away to focus on who was right in front of me, but it didn’t help because the thoughts were still creeping at the back of my mind.
Fast forward to a year into the relationship, I had given my all into this relationship. Compromising, sacrificing, and always making time for him because this is what you’re supposed to do in a relationship. I still questioned myself though, but I told myself that he saw something in me and is still dating me for a reason. I’m going to be honest with you, I expected so much from him in that year. I expected the magic, outings, and just plain fun together but GUESS WHAT? In that year he only drove to my house only twice because he claimed it was far but mind you he had no problem asking me to come over to his place; we only went bowling once and the movies probably twice and that was it. I always gave him the benefit of the doubt, always blaming it on the fact that he was working out of state for a couple months out of that year but to be quite frank it wasn’t even up to six months. I realized that during the majority of this relationship, I was constantly wondering why I had to poke and prod at him to get him to do things together like a normal couple, to get him to spend time with me since he claimed he liked me so much. I didn’t expect anything fancy, I just wanted him to want to spend as much time with me like I wanted to spend with him or like he did with his friends. I remember asking him one day “why haven’t we gone out yet?” and the thing about this guy is that he was always quick with the excuses “Oh! You’re not 21 yet” or “you’re never in town” and all other bullshit. He always had a way to get me to stop asking and to me it was just a way to tell me to shut up.
Don’t get me wrong, we had fun together. I don’t want it to seem like it was all negative with him but with the way I was always questioning his intentions, the negative seemed to outweigh the positive. I sat and talked to my best friend and confidant about it and she advised me to share my feelings with him. I wasn’t the most outgoing person, slightly shy and had a little bit of trust issues so I had to prepare what I was going to say to him. At this stage, the excitement of being in a relationship had already worn off and now it was time to work to keep it together. I knew that at this point I had to get back with God because I had slowly drifted from Him. I needed his guidance and advice. It was a slow and steady journey, but I had to see what He saw in me and trust that His process is the best. I surrendered the entire relationship into His hands and I said to myself “Lord, whatever you tell me to do is what I’ll do.” I confronted my boyfriend about my feelings and he said “Okay! I’ll do better.” That was all I needed to hear, and I assumed everything was going to be better. I believed him! What else could I do?
Now almost two years into the relationship, not much had changed. I began to reflect about our past and realized that we never celebrated any holidays (birthdays, valentine’s day) which made no sense to me. I kept asking God to show me the way because I was so discouraged and leaving him honestly wasn’t even on my mind. I had sacrificed and compromised a lot and to think all that was going to be in vain – NO ma’am! Before everything went left, we were both finally out of school for a while and were both in the same city. I wanted to see him, so I asked him to come over to my house that I had plans for us and of course he said he couldn’t come but I should come out to him and that he’ll have something planned so I agreed. I was excited that for a change he had taken up the responsibility to have something for us to do but I still expected the worst. I got there ready to spend the day with him and like I expected he didn’t change. It was the same; he was focused on his video games, hadn’t even taken a shower and of course with no plans at all. I wasn’t going to keep going the way I had always been by sitting in his room and feeling underappreciated while he acted like everything was alright. I left. I had to calm down. I cried and balled. I asked God to take control. I was fed up and I confronted, lashed out, and yelled at him. You name it, I did it. I laid out all my feelings to him from the past two years and he replied with his typical line “Okay! I’ll do better” and I asked him what exactly made this time different and he said to just watch and see. Two weeks after this conversation, nothing had changed. There was little to no communication between us and I replayed every negative aspect of our relationship in my head and I asked myself “is this how it’s going to be?”, “is this what I want?” or “was all this worth it?” because this was never what I expected or thought it was what God had in store for me. Early one morning, I heard a small voice say, “you’re worth more than this and it is okay to quit sometimes.” Obviously two years into a relationship, I thought I was at the point where I could be in love with this guy, so this voice scared me, but I knew that if this was what He wanted for me then quitting this relationship was my best choice. I prepared myself and confronted him about where I was at in this relationship. I told him that I was done because I couldn’t take the disappointment and disrespect any longer. There was a moment when I knew that quitting the relationship was the right relationship – it was when he told me that my confronting him about all the things he had done and hadn’t done and all the stuff about how I was feeling turned him off.
I knew that God was right. I was worth more than I was receiving. Sometimes those feelings of insecurities in your relationship might actually be warning signs and they shouldn’t be pushed aside. Those feeling are your guides. You have to realize that you don’t have to settle just because you feel like the best is behind you. It took me two years to realize my worth. The sacrifices you make don’t matter because a man will reciprocate to whomever he wants to reciprocate those feelings to. I’m slowly starting to learn to value myself enough to know that I’m worthy of someone better, someone that God has in store for me. Don’t hesitate to quit! It’s okay! Quitting doesn’t mean you’re giving up, it just means that you know that there is some better in store for you. We as women deserve better and the world deserves to see and experience women as confident souls that know exactly what they want and won’t accept anything less than she deserves.
So next time you see yourself settling in matters of the heart, just know that it’s okay to check out and quit – especially if you’re not valued as you should be.
– Chinwendu Ejimadu