Let’s Talk About Relationships
Much like my ‘Being Mixed Race’ post, this topic has been floating around my drive for a while and I’ve been wanting to write about it for ages. Since starting the ‘Let’s Talk About…’ series, I’ve been thinking about what topics I can write about and thought this is the perfect opportunity – especially as it has been a while since the last post.
Relationships are a tough topic for me just because they’re always so complex to dive into – questions like, “Why did this break down?” “Why did I even date them in the first place?” “Will I be single forever?”
But it is such an interesting topic and something I just wanted to touch upon. I’m no relationship guru (trust me on that), but I mean I’ve had some experience that could possibly make one or two books depending on how you wanna spin it.
First things first I’ll eat your brain… yeah, no wait… wrong discussion. Let’s talk about romantic love, shall we? Let’s ask really deep questions like, “Does it exist?” “Is it a lie?” “Is it a trap?” and then go into a frenzy because you don’t know what is real anymore. In a way, I do believe that romantic love is socially constructed and that would be thanks to Hollywood.
Think about it – you’ve grown up watching films and reading books where a guy and a gal meet and fall in love and live happily ever after. Love at first sight and all that BS. Although, miss me with that BS but I’ll get onto that later. Hollywood has led many of us to believe that we will meet our one true love by bumping into them randomly in the street – and, yes, okay, you can randomly bump into someone in the street, and they may have the guts to ask for your number, but 9 times out of 10 that’s not going to happen. And if it did… how do you know that’s your one true love straight away?
For me, love is something you build. I attended a family member’s wedding back in August and I remember the pastor did a speech and brought up a valid point. Wouldn’t you rather ‘climb’ into love rather than ‘fall’ into it? Falling implies that you will not have a great landing and it’s all bumpy and just not a great experience, right? Climbing into love implies that you’re building something with your partner and taking time as you go along. To reach the top is an achievement and to have your partner alongside you makes it even better. You build a partnership and you listen to each other, you support and trust each other.
I feel like it would be appropriate to insert something about love and devotion here, so… [emoji] I can’t get enough of all that love and devotion in my life. [emoji] /endsong
But do you see where I’m coming from? Honestly, I used to be such a hopeless romantic. I used to pine for the fact that I would meet my one true love and my life would suddenly have meaning. I mean, don’t we all at some point? Then reality hits and you realise you should really concentrate on yourself before committing yourself to a relationship, anyway.
Mind you, this is not something that I always used to think. Like I mentioned I used to be a hopeless romantic but it wasn’t until I got into my first proper relationship that I realised that this sh*t ain’t no joke. It’s not all flowers and chocolates and snuggles – people actually talk about *le gasp* their feelings and when I was younger this was very, very difficult for me. After that relationship ended, I was told that I wouldn’t open up and if the first inkling of a serious conversation was about to take place then I would clam up and just hide myself in my phone. I used to deny this vehemently, but now looking at it retrospectively it is something that I used to do.
Serious conversations about feelings and the future still scare me but I’m getting better. This even applies to my platonic relationships. Situations sometimes arise and I just want to hide in my shell and not deal with it. But dealing with it is part of growing and sometimes you just got to rip it off like a plaster.
I think the best example of reality hitting me in the face was when Mutay and I had our one and only real argument back when we lived together in university (unless you count that time I got angry at her about Skittles back in like Year 8 or something, but irrelevant… I was just short and had a hot temper so, you know).
I won’t delve into what happened too much because honestly, I am very embarrassed about it but I was a terrible person who instead of talking to my best friend about what was bothering me would hide it and then it all came spilling out and I really had no justification for my actions. I was hit with things about myself that personally I knew were the truth but didn’t want to believe. Let’s face it, no-one wants to hear the worst things about themselves said out loud.
But even after everything, my stubborn ass refused to apologise properly. It got sorted out in the end because Mutay was the bigger person, but that episode was devastating. In saying that, it helped me grow as a person. You should be able to speak to your friends without it being a HUGE deal – be honest and open because if you can’t be then can you really call yourself their friend?
Rolling back to thinking I would find my ‘One True Love’, I used to be so stuck on the fact that we had just the one person that we were meant to fall in love with and be with forever, but I mean is that even realistic? I think we have soulmates – people who come into your life to teach you something and help you grow as a person and learn more about yourself. Just like a season. You may go through many soulmates and that’s cool; it’s a learning curve.
I was dating this guy at the beginning of last year and even though it didn’t work out, he did teach me a lot because he was unlike any of the guys I’ve ever dated. When someone opens up your eyes and shows you a different perspective, it is refreshing and I know can always look back at that time with fondness because I was genuinely very happy at that point in my life.
I think with all the guys I’ve dated, I have learnt something new about myself and just in general which is great (in an ‘Oh, shit then’ way rather than an ‘OMG YAAAS’ way, if that makes sense). There are a few relationships where I’ve mourned the loss of a friendship, even now I’m doing that with a guy I was seeing at the start of the year, but it is what it is and you can’t force things if they weren’t meant to be. Just live your life, b.
There were so many things I used to believe in and I think that’s because I was influenced by what I read/watched. Like in the k-dramas I watched where it’s okay for the guy to act like an asshole and the girl would still fall for him. What?! But I’m not going to lie to you because k-dramas still give me feels and I still watch a few, so hey. You get my drift, though. You ever heard someone say, “Oh, he’s only picking on you because he likes you!”? No, girl, noooooo. If the only way he can express his feelings for me is by picking me then I don’t wanna know.
Red flags are such a big thing to look out for in a relationship. I remember I used to get told, ‘You need to go to the gym’ or ‘You could have a flatter stomach’ or ‘I mean, your ass is great but think of the potential if you worked on it?’. And yet I still stayed with him?
Here’s the clincher, though! If you were reading my blog back in 2015 then you’ll remember I posted about my New York trip. What I didn’t mention, however, was how my boyfriend at the time made me cry whilst on said trip. All because of an Instagram comment and the fact that I didn’t FaceTime him every f*cking day. The details are hazy but I posted a selfie on Instagram and a guy commented on it and then Mutay commented on it and then my ex commented on it. I deleted all the comments because I was like, “Whatever” and my ex BLEW TF UP. “You shouldn’t have deleted my comment. Why did you delete my comment? I’m your boyfriend. Blah blah blah.” I was in Baltimore for a wedding and I was meant to be enjoying myself with my best friend and getting ready and yet I was f*cking miserable and crying on and off the whole day because of some fool who wasn’t even in the same country as me.
The moment someone makes you cry and feel so sh*t about yourself and like you did wrong even though you know you didn’t do anything wrong is the moment you exit the relationship. Just run. Just like this dude.
In hindsight, I should have left his ass as soon as those things happened AND YET WHO WAS THE FIRST PERSON I SAW AS SOON AS I CAME BACK FROM HOLIDAY? Sigh, Chynna. The thing is when you’re in something, you have rose coloured glasses and ugh. It’s difficult, I can’t lie. But we need to do better – we can’t be settling for these scrubs that don’t respect us. (I’m sorry, I’m actually listening to ‘No Scrubs’ as I’m writing this, so this is totes appropes)
I mentioned this in my ’25 Things I’ve Learned In 25 Years’, you need to love yourself first if you want a healthy relationship. Of course, anyone is capable of loving, we are human of course. But healthy > toxic, so if it takes you ages to love yourself then so be it but at least when you do enter a relationship you’ll have the right mindset.
The same mental process should also be applied to your platonic relationships. If you’re going out of your way for someone and they’re not doing the same, why are you wasting your effort? Relationships are a two-way street. You can’t expect to receive and not give and the other way round as well. It’s just common decency, right?
We should be continuously growing as people – surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals makes such a difference if that is what you’re looking to do. See someone inspirational? Don’t be jealous. Take from them and go do your thing, and spread the inspiration.
Negative Nancies, as I like to call them, have such a bad effect on me. I find myself slipping into a dark abyss (as dramatic as that sounds) and think that I won’t progress in life, but then when I’m with say, my best friend, and see how she’s freaking slaying life then I feel so inspired and that I can f*ck sh*t up (in a good way). It’s a vicious cycle, sometimes.
A note: cut out the toxic people in your life. This is easier said than done, I understand, but in order to reach Nirvana (no, I’m kidding… or am I?), you don’t want toxicity in your life. As O.T. Genasis would say…
Moving on, you should really put yourself before anyone and think about everything else later. Never put yourself in a compromising position for someone who wouldn’t do the same for you.
I’m sure there will be people who disagree with me on my thoughts about romance and love and blah blah blah, but that’s cool – leave it in the comments and let’s start a discussion. This is the exact reason I started the ‘Let’s Talk About…’ series.
I agree, relationships are so totally different to what we see in the movies. I think films will have you think it’s so easy to just meet your ‘prince charming’, when in reality, that’s not the case. I remember going to uni thinking – “man! all these eligible bachelors!!” then realising there was way more to picking a partner than just finding someone who is smart! I won’t say I believe in soul mates and that there will be one person out there for everyone, I think I believe more in there being a few people out there that you can really click with and end up spending the rest of your life with.
Red flags are so important and it’s a shame they’re often ignored. I was once seeing a guy in my first year of uni that was an absolute nightmare… he would also make comments about my ‘big stomach’, he would tell me how nice other girls’ bums were, he would make comments about hoping I never ‘fall in love’ with him, and it ended in the most horrid way. He was such a nightmare that even almost three years down the line he saw me and my bf at a party and started trying to fight my bf… *shivers* but at the same time bad experiences get you to learn for the future, I became so picky after that experience and it meant that I met my bf who’s still pretty perfect after 3yrs.
This was a good read! Like you say, focusing on yourself is the most important thing, and cutting out crappy toxic influences in vital!
Right?! I am all for escaping reality and just imagining that relationships are as easy as they seem in the movies, but we need some real hard-hitting movies out there to portray that they’re not. Like 500 Days of Summer, I guess.
I’m so sorry you had to go through that, Kemi. NO ONE deserves to have comments about them like that and that guy is absolute trash. He probably had insecurities which he then chose to take out on you, which is so fucking stupid. Ugh! Can’t believe he tried to beef your bf, as well. Trash! Absolute trash.
Thanks for reading, girl! Keep cutting out those toxic people dem ?
Growing up watching Disney movies and loving them, I had the same mindset. Honestly, I thought that what happened in the films was exactly how it happened in real life: Prince charming takes you away on his horse, and by the way, prince charming has to be the first guy you meet *ever* I mean did Cinderella have multiple prince charmings? Nah, so why would it happen? The first guy I would ever “fall in love” with should be the one. Right? RIGHT? I’m so glad that I’ve passed this stage of thinking after dating so many idiots at school.
I slowly started realising that “oh yeah, it’s not the first guy I meet that is the One. But the ONE still exists.” And three years ago, I thought that he was it (and you know how that went down) Looking back at that relationship though taught me a lot, he did feel like a soulmate, who unfortunately didn’t stay. I learnt that I shouldn’t be expecting things from someone who was going through the same struggles as I was – for example, expecting gifts from him every day. It was stupid of me to think this, but again, media was shoving it in my face. Telling me that boyfriends should always be doing something special for their girl every single day, but that was just tiring and unrealistic – for him and me. He tried his best though, and I am so thankful, I regret how I acted sometimes and wished that I told him at the time how much I appreciated it. With that said though, getting ya girl something once in a while is great. Like, don’t just do nothing ya know? XD #Balance?????
Social media manipulates us into thinking this way. I’m a lot better at it now – I can step back and practise how grateful I am for my relationships instead of demanding and expecting so much from my relationships. Again, this is something super valuable that I learnt from my ex.
I remember you telling me about that guy. How awful – especially you’re supposed to be living your life out in NY. That controlling, manipulative behaviour is what you should look back fondly at how you cancelled that from your life jfc.
Relationships are super complicated. I’d like to think that I’m much better now with dealing with them especially after my heartbreak last year, but the truth is I’ve still got a lot to learn. ” If you’re going out of your way to someone and they’re not doing the same, why are you wasting your effort? Relationships are a two-way street. You can’t expect to receive and not give and the other way round as well. It’s just common decency, right?” THIS. I find myself giving a lot in my relationships = Time, effort, love. I get upset when it isn’t given back to me. At the same time, I wouldn’t budge from a relationship that I’ve already emotionally invested in so I start becoming passive. BUT, I have gotten a lot better at this recently especially when I repeat in my head how awesome I am, how I’m worth it and how I don’t need a boyfriend to make me happy. As Micah Lee (a fellow blogger, you should def follow her!) said to me when I was weeping on the phone to her about my ex, “A boyfriend is a luxury, not a necessity” (She wrote a post here: http://www.micahalee.com/2017/09/i-don't-need-man.html)
My ex told me to “lose some weight” because he didn’t feel attracted to me anymore because I had gained weight. He refused to have sex one night because of this and so I spent the rest of the night DUMBING HIS ASS… no, I spent the night apologising to him and telling him I’ll improve for him. I KNOW. SICKENING. The past year of focusing on self-love has really helped me take control of the fact I’m doing things to improve for myself – not anybody else.
Relationships are hard. I love what you said about building a partnership rather than falling – It’s SO TRUE. THAT IS GOING IN MY BOOK OF QUOTES THAT MOTIVATE ME ON A BAD DAY LOL.
Thanks for opening up about this topic <3
I hear ya. Then you realise that Belle has Stockholm Syndrome and Ariel gave her legs up for a guy who couldn’t even remember her face :/ LOL, I LOVE ME SOME DISNEY BUT IT IS SO PROBLEMATIC.
You live and learn from your past relationships and hopefully move onto brighter, greener fields. At the end of the day we are all still learning and not everyone is going to get it right the first time, which is absolutely fine!
Your ex is trash and I am so glad he is out of your life because you don’t need that BS dragging you down.
Climbing into love is more worthwhile than falling into it. You both work hard for a mutual goal and help each other along the way. Meanwhile, you don’t really have control when you’re falling unless you can fly or something. I totally agree with you about that!
Yeaaah, relationships are not easy. I wish it was flowers all day, every day but there are bumps along the way that needs to be ironed out. Being the bigger person can be hard but good things can come out of it. I’m still trying to learn how to be one. I’ve learned to admit that I am wrong and I make mistakes.
It’s good when someone opened your eyes to a different perspective and thought. It’s definitely not good when you’re told all of these negative suggestions/comments. Seriously, love people for who they are and there are BETTER ways of getting your message out without sounding like an insensitive prick. When a guy is mistreating you and doesn’t love you for who you are, keeps saying crap to you, and etc. you need to leave him. Totally agree with you about cutting toxic people out… You’re just better off without them!
Glad that you agree! Relationships are headaches, lets all be honest here. However, there will always be the people that are worth putting up a fight for!
I think relationships are so much harder than they seem in films. Life isn’t a fairytale, unfortunately, and it took me a while to understand that no relationship is perfect. Facebook makes it seem like everyone is having the time of their lives in perfect relationships, but that’s rubbish really. Couples argue, problems happen, and no couple is perfect.
At the beginning of my first relationship I genuinely didn’t understand why couples ended up breaking up unless someone cheated or something major happened. But there are so many reasons why relationships break down, and I can’t believe how naive I was back then. I just had the whole “we’re nothing like other couples” mentality and thought we’d be together forever without any problems because we were just better. It’s so funny to look back on that now!
Sorry to hear what happened in your previous relationship. That’s awful and you shouldn’t have had to deal with that. It’s far better to be single than to be with someone who drags you down.
Loved this post, Chynna. This is one of my fave series’ on any blog and I was so happy to see you’d find another post!
If only life was a fairytale T_T Social media makes people put up a facade so that you think they’re having the time of their lives, but really it’s so much definite behind closed doors. It’s part of the reason I didn’t post that many photos when I was in a relationship! Thank you, Amy – gonna definitely be searching for more topics to post about ?
After being in a few relationships, the ones I see in Hollywood are so weird to me now. The whole “just happen to run into the love of your life” thing works for some people but probably not most. I like the term of climbing into love instead of falling into it. It’s something that slowly builds up for most of us!
I’m glad you and Mutay made up after that argument! I have to admit that even after being with my husband for like 10 years, talking about feelings and the future is still hard. My husband is definitely the type that doesn’t like to talk about those things, and we’ve gotten into fights before because of it. I think the important thing is to learn to move forward and keep making progress.
I also think it’s hard to really see the whole picture when you’re involved in the situation. I wish I had broken up with my previous boyfriend earlier, but these are things that I only realize in hindsight and not at the time. Emotional feelings often take priority over rational thought. Sorry to hear that your ex-boyfriend made you feel that way during your trip though 🙁
Definitely agree on cutting out toxic people and putting yourself first! It’s always hard to do, but pays off in the long run. Thanks for sharing with us, Chynna!
Haha, same, Cat! Sometimes when I watch a film, I end up shouting at the screen like “YEAH EFFING RIGHT DID THAT HAPPEN?!” Yet, I still watch them for the feelgood factor. Catch22. Haha. Thank you for reading, Cat!
You’re so on point about how we need to “climb” into love rather than “fall” in love. Relationship is definitely something that takes time and patience. That’s a great explanation, and I agree with it wholeheartedly. I, too, fell for the Hollywood romance when I was a teen, but I realised quickly that those were all BS, haha!
It’s hard for me to talk about things when it becomes one of those uncomfortable subject matters. I clam up when things gets ugly.
I’ve not been in a relationship for almost fifteen years now, and I’m okay with it. Sure, I would like a boyfriend, but I’ve always been so busy with school and work and my hobbies that I never really tried to get a guy either. Then again, I’m happy being single, and I’d rather be single then be stuck with a total prick. I believe in self-love (and I know I do that quite well, haha!), and if I were to stick myself with a horrible guy, then I am doing myself a huge disservice. Why would I do that to myself? I deserve better. I am not perfect, but I don’t need to tie myself down to someone worthless.
Finally, you bring up an excellent point about how those relationships have taught you things. That is so true, and it can even apply to friendship and other types of relationships. I can see that you learnt a lot from yours. I do hope you will meet a wonderful guy in the future, but for now we can love ourselves and enjoy what life has to offer us!
Man, who didn’t fall for that BS. Sigh, if only we knew better. I am totally same about uncomfortable matters, but I’m trying my best to get better. But I always get this itch when someone wants to talk about /deep/ shit and I’m like, “Ughhh, nooo. Just talk about rainbows, fairies, and other shit.” Haha.
For now, men are still trash so I’m quite happy by myself – living my best life 😉
I never had expectations with relationships except to be serious and sometimes it doesn’t work for the other party. Being married for 4 years and being together for nearly 10 is a constant struggle to work on with my husband. You learn to see how you are in the relationship and if it is a good relationship, you grow and if you don’t, you need to leave. That happened with my ex. He wasn’t ready to commit to me and so I left after he became toxic to me but eventually apologized to me. That was nice. But you definitely learn more about yourself during relationships. It’s a worthwhile experience in my opinion.
I’m glad you managed to get out of that toxic relationship and the fact that he actually apologised is a good thing!
Relationships are indeed hard. And I mentioned this in a previous comment in relation to loving yourself – I honestly don’t think I could accept or appreciate depth of real love until I started loving myself. It’s very hard for people to see that, and it was hard to see that when I was depressed. Even when I first met Nick I was in an awful state. It took me a long time to be able to love him with every inch of my being. And before I met him I was entirely of the belief that I had done so much wrong in my life that I wasn’t worth loving, I was never going to find anyone who would love me.
Little did I know that he actually kinda felt the same way, and felt like his real self was trapped inside. He looked like he felt uncomfortable being his true self around other people before we started a relationship together. A relationship takes two, there is nothing else to it. It has to be both people working for the relationship.
Thank you for sharing your private feelings about relationships when you were younger. I was actually the opposite – I opened up to people far too easily, I let myself be vulnerable, and as a result people were able to easily take advantage of me.
I don’t blame you for how you felt back in 2015. It doesn’t matter how young you are, or how inexperienced you are. I think we all react that way over small things at one point in our lives. Because we let ourselves be vulnerable to someone we care about and want the attention of, even if they are a massive piece of shit. ? 2015 isn’t all that long ago, but in 2014, one of my exes would mock me for being weak and that was when I started going to the gym, determined that I would be strong and not be the definition of weak. I just wanted to prove him wrong. I don’t know why I cared so much. But now I know – I was infatuated with him, I cared about him and wanted his attention and his approval. And when we like someone, it’s what happens.
Relationships have so many facets, I wouldn’t even know where to start when it comes to them. They are also very individual things – I think I’d be able to write a totally different book based on my experiences too! I think the best thing about relationships is that we can write about them, like you’ve done here, and share the experiences with other people so that they don’t feel alone when a relationship breaks down and that they too can learn from other people’s relationship dynamics.
It’s often hard to realise there is a toxic person in your life, especially if you are in a relationship with them and are blinded by your feelings. I think that this toxicity can be best avoided by taking the relationship slow, taking time to really get to know one another, and certainly not taking the other person for granted.
I think there is SOOOO much you can write about relationships and so many topics to cover, you should do more “Let’s Talk About…” posts but on different kinds of relationships or different aspects of relationships. ?