Over the weekend I met a friend for a walk around the seawall. Dee is a wonderful person I met a few years ago and we’ve often said that we met exactly when we both needed one another. She was going through a divorce and I was struggling through the end of a horrible relationship. We supported one another through the healing process and really gave each other the courage to heal and have the courage to believe in our biggest dreams. She and I have talked often about our past and currently relationships in very supportive ways, so it was no surprise that we started talking again about how we were doing in our love lives. She said something during our talk that really struck a chord. She thought the reason my past relationship failed was because I sacrificed too much. At first I wasn’t sure that was right, but she started lining it up for me and I couldn’t say anything . We all sacrifice for the people we love, but there is such thing as giving too much for not enough return.
Here’s the list. I gave up my home in the city for his home in the suburbs. I’m the type of person that loves the hustle and excitement of the big city, so moving to a place where the closest coffee shop was fifteen blocks away and everything closes at 7 was a real change. I don’t usually get home from work until 7 or 8, so basically once I got home there was nothing to do. He was a hiker and mountain biker, so I gave up my lifestyle to make his easier. At the time I didn’t mind because I loved him and I wanted him to be happy. I tried to make it work. Moving away from the city meant I gave up the ease in which I saw my friends. They went from living a few blocks away to at least a 30 minute drive away. I gave up my food routine and adapted to his way of eating because he complained about not getting enough of certain things and I was the only one who cooked. I gave up big portions of my weekend because we moved into a bigger place than I was used too, and he didn’t really help clean. He tried sometimes, but he just didn’t get it and I didn’t want to nag. Now none of this seems particularly huge to me. We all give certain things up. But what Dee pointed out was that I got nothing in return.
I’m not a give and take person all the time. I believe in karma and positive energy, and sometimes you help someone just to help them. I don’t always need a reward or payment. But in a relationship, there needs to be a certain equality. After awhile, the things I was sacrificing piled up until I started to resent it, and because of how unhappy I was, more and more things started falling away from me. I sacrificed my health because I was depressed. I was eating poorly and eventually ended up medicated for anxiety. I stopped seeing my friends because getting to them was too difficult, and I felt guilty about asking them to trek out to me. I sacrificed every ounce of confidence I had at events because I was constantly worried about him and his social anxiety problems. I sacrificed time with my family, because his anxiety made it hard for him to visit them, but it had no affect on seeing his family, so we visited them way more than we visited mine. In short, it became all about him and not enough about me. Continue reading