While binge watching Being Mary Jane on Netflix, I came up with the perfect relationship topic. Honestly, these posts write themselves, when you’re dating… Back to the topic. This show is all about a successful, woman of color, who is trying to find herself, while experiencing what a lot of dating women go through…. Drama.
On episode 5, titled “Mixed Messages”, Mary Jane (Gabrielle Union) asks a love interest:
What did your ex-wife teach you? –Being Mary Jane
This very question birthed the topic of this blog. What did your Ex teach you?
Every relationship, good or bad is a lesson. There is always something to be learned, but a lot of times we focus too much on the pain and drama behind the breakup, that we don’t take a moment to reflect on who WE were in that relationship. This is not to say that every time a relationship ends, we’re at fault, but it’s also not to say that we’re always right. Relationships should be 50/50.
I have recently done some soul searching. Not just with my relationship status, but also my life outside of my relationship. I have discovered things about myself by reflecting on past relationships and events, which have either given me great joy, or caused significant pain. When you sit down to think about your life (going to therapy also helps with this), you learn a lot more about who you are as a person and what you’re willing and not willing to put up with.
For me, when it comes to relationships: I have a tendency to dominate. I am spoiled, and wish to have things my way, or I feel that I am being ignored. This is a very poor way of thinking and has caused tension many of times. Another flaw is that I don’t know how to sit still and allow things to flow naturally. I am extremely impatient. These types of behaviors can stress both parties out, and can become exhausting.
Relationships need a healthy balance of give and take. We must learn how to communicate, compromise, check our insecurities and egos at the door. There is absolutely nothing worse than a person so prideful, that they can’t admit their faults. I have learned to apologize when things have gotten out of hand. It’s not necessarily apologizing for our feelings, but sometimes the way we go about expressing them. I had a tendency to feel some type of way about a situation, and instead of going to the guy I’m dating, with a level head, I immediately attacked. I am so glad that he -a long with my mom and a good friend, brought it to my attention. I have spoken to my therapist about it and realized a lot of my anger comes from the past. Not even with past romantic relationships, but my relationships with family and friends.
Communication and finances are two common factors in breakups. We should not be silent, when things aren’t right, however we do need to learn how to express our feelings in healthier ways. Ways which won’t weaken the other person, or make them feel that they can’t have a simple disagreement with us. I’ve been in that situation as well. Feeling like I have to endure and be miserable, instead of speaking up, out of fear. Relationships aren’t about endurance! It should never be uncomfortable, painful or abusive in nature. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female.
I challenge you all to take a look at your true self. The you that you hide from friends, family, and sometimes yourself. You should let go of what was and what could have been, so that you can heal from it – especially before going into another relationship. Heal yourself from past pain, even that pain that has come from situations outside of your romantic relationships. We never realize how much of that hurt we carry on into our present life, or how it affects those around us.
I think it’s important to have closure in any relationship that ends – from a romantic relationship to a friendship. You should always have a sense of clarity at the end and know why it began and why it ended. You need that in your life to move cleanly into your next phase. – Jennifer Aniston