Being A Relationship Cosmopolitan

Relationship cosmopolitan (noun): A person who chooses to unpack unnecessary relationship baggage and take only the lessons learned, new self awareness, and lighter emotional self into a new relationship.

 

As I sit here contemplating the end of my 18 month relationship hiatus, I ask myself: have I really done myself any favors by being single for so long? After a break-up, I find myself following a specific pattern: grief, anger, numbness, indifference, introspection (all the above usually simultaneously), lust, loneliness, back in the dating scene. After this pattern, another relationship follows. It’s how a lot of relationships begin, wonderful even sometimes emotionally/sexually intense; and then the honeymoon’s over and whatever you blinded yourself to about your own issues or those of your significant other hits the fan and you’re comparing this relationship to all the others (usually to disastrous ends). I’ve found this to be the case quite commonly in my own relationships and in those I’ve observed. And what is the issue that continues this vicious cycle? We continue to carry around the baggage from our past and don’t sort it out and dump it out of our lives after that stage in our life is over. We leave it at the door ready to be picked up every time we walk through the door into another relationship and stack it with what we’re trying to build in our new relationships. Now really, is that really fair to your new love or to yourself for that matter?

In light of that, I propose being a “relationship cosmopolitan”. You traveler much lighter through life and relationships and don’t have to worry about pesky weight and dimension restrictions as you walk through the gate to board your next relationship. By taking only what you need from what you’ve learned from your past, you arm yourself with knowledge about yourself and what you need, don’t need, want, don’t want and boundaries that must be established to give your budding relationship the foundation it needs to be built upon. When you start a relationship blindly, you make a foundation full of cracks and holes that at the least sign of trouble, the relationship crumbles. If you start your relationship on steady ground with the knowledge that both sides have things from their past that has shaped who they are now, you make a foundation of accepting that person and even yourself for who/they are but letting what you build be the slate on which your relationship is written and letting the NOW determine what the future might bring.

I don’t know about you, but I think I’m much happier with the idea of bringing a small carry-on rather than paying for extra luggage that’s better left behind.

Meeting the Friends

One of the most rites of passage of a relationship is meeting your significant other’s friends. Now some people blow this off as insignificant because friends usual aren’t blood, but I remind you of this one fact: your significant other usually acts with the most freedom and is more of their true selves with friends more than any other people. True, you want to make a good impression with the rents and other family members, but friends will more times than not be your ticket into the deeper recesses of your significant other’s life and affections. It’s true that first impressions are hard to get past but they can be overcome on both the positive and negative conclusions. I’ve had situations in which I’ve met one of my friend’s prospective or even present sig others and have liked them a lot and have later deemed them completely unworthy of my friends or better suited as a friend. Unfortunately, I’ve seen more of the former than the latter. And let me tell you, if your sig other is the type that completely trusts their friend’s judgment, you can write yourself into their life story for a recurring role or get yourself killed off before the end of the first season. In more relationships than not, there’s a person who gets themselves cast as “that guy” or “that girl”. Don’t be that person. If you’re looking to get serious with a person romantically, you’re going to have to deal with the friends as much if not more than the family. They can help your relationship go more smoothly or can make your relationship hell. So put yourself out there, be courteous, be good, and don’t be a prick. Don’t just do this for your sig other, do this as practice for anyone you deal with. You want others to think well of you in any circumstance.

Avoiding The Inevitable-Part 2: Guilt

This week, staff writer Stephany Salinas continues her “Avoiding The Inevitable” series with: guilt. Most of us have tried to avoid an inevitable break-up because we didn’t want to be the bad guy. But did we feel guilty because we didn’t want to cause our significant other heartache or because we didn’t want to be the target of an emotional hell storm?

 

Last week, I wrote about the familiarity aspect of a relationship that holds you back from doing the unfortunate task of breaking up with someone. This week, I’ll share with you yet another reason why people find it hard to break-up; Guilt.

At one time or another, most of us have been in a relationship where we just didn’t reciprocate the feelings of our significant other. They may have been crazy in love, head over heels for you, but the it wasn’t mutual. Yet, we continue staying in relationships like this because they make us feel better about ourselves. Who wouldn’t want a relationship that’s based around them, right? Wrong. It gets old, quick. When you become someone else’s world, you soon realize that the pedestal you’re on is pretty lonely, and boring.

It starts off great. You meet someone, and they’re so sweet, it’s unbelievable. In reality, it IS hard to find someone who is genuinely doing things out of kindness of their hearts and/or because they care about you. Let’s face it, the dating generation of today can be quite selfish, clueless, and careless. That being said, when you DO find someone who is willing to cater to your every need, you’re drawn to it. It starts off small and normal, with surprise lunches, cute texts saying how much they miss you, and all that adorable fun stuff that everyone shamelessly likes in the beginning of a new relationship. You see them constantly, because being without them sucks. You still get those funny feelings when you’re around them, because everything is new and exciting. You’re still learning about this person, and it’s fun. This is typically known as the “Honeymoon” stage. The stage every couple goes through.

Then, of course, the honeymoon stage is over. At this point, you ask yourself if you really like this person, or if it was just the thrill of meeting someone new that was exciting. Unfortunately, this is where things USUALLY get messy. Who knows, maybe you both decided, “Meh, it was fun, see ya later!” In a perfect world, all break-ups would be like that. Alas, we all know this world is far from perfect.

At this point, you’re still wondering if this is something you want to continue. Because you’re unsure, you’d rather stay in the relationship than potentially lose something you actually wanted to keep. As you continue through the relationship, for however long, you start to notice certain things that are suddenly annoying or unappealing. Whether it be physical traits or characteristics, you find yourself wanting to spend less time with this person. If you make it clear that you’re bored or unattracted to them, they try even harder to get your attention. That’s when you realize that you’re just not into them.

This actualization, like the realization of familiarity, may be sudden or gradual. For me, it was gradual, and a complete accident. Not only was I falling for someone else (a friend at the time), but I started realizing that I didn’t care about him anymore. I didn’t want to see him everyday, and I didn’t want him to accompany me when I went out with friends. His quirky literary imagination suddenly became annoying, and his obsession with wanting to be with me every chance he got went from being romantic to creepy. What’s worse, is every time I wanted to say something, I thought about all these romance novels and movies, and how what this guy was giving me was what every girl wanted. So why didn’t I want it? Why was I so different?

I wasn’t. I wasn’t different at all. I just wasn’t in love. At this point I realized that this guy was nuts about me, and I didn’t even remotely feel the same way. Now, I find myself to be a pretty nice person, and I try my best to never hurt anyone’s feelings, so I found myself stuck in a position where I was just clueless. How do you go about bringing up a conversation that you know is going to break someone’s heart? And this isn’t just a “maybe”, no, it’s a sure thing. His heart was going to be broken, he was going to be in pain, and it was going to be my fault.

So I did the worst thing possible; I waited. I waited and pushed it off as long as I possibly could, because for a moment, hanging out with him for a couple hours a day was bearable, compared to the heart break that I was eventually going to have to put him through. (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, the other guy I had started to get feelings for was still around, but we never did anything behind future-heartbroken boyfriends back. Cheating is for cowards.) So, I spent my days trying to avoid hanging out with my own boyfriend. I would make up excuses and say I was busy or had a lot of work/cleaning to do. After a few weeks, I realized what I was doing was even worse than breaking his heart. I was letting this guy think that everything was okay, and that I still loved him. I was leading him on, and that’s one of the worst things you can do in any relationship.

After I grasped this concept, I knew what I had to do. However, I was still struggling with how to bring about such a painful conversation, until our very last argument (as a couple).

I remember the exact moment it happened. I was outside tanning, and had been trying to make plans with my family. When I tried discussing these plans (that didn’t involve him) with him, he got upset. He was catching on. He asked why I had been MIA lately. I was concerned about leading him on and him thinking everything was okay, when, in reality, he was confused. That part of the relationship where you don’t know if everything is okay and you feel hurt and confused, that’s what I was putting him through.

At that moment, I knew I HAD to do it. I didn’t care about breaking his heart anymore, because what I was doing by procrastinating was even worse. So I called him and did what I had to do. Over the phone, it’s not too bad. It’s when I saw him in person a couple of hours later that was difficult. Looking into watery, heartbroken eyes is not an easy task, but one that you may have to endure during a break up. So we talked for about 45 minutes, which mainly consisted of him asking “why?”

Why? How do you tell someone you don’t love them? It’s tough. It’s extremely tough. Honesty can be extremely painful, but it’s a huge weight off of your shoulder, and a soon-to-be open door to happiness…with someone else.

So after a couple hours of dealing with the questions and anger from him, I finally felt free. I was happy. And honestly, that’s what matters most.

Never let guilt prevent you from ending a pointless relationship. The only way a relationship will be successful is if YOU are happy. If you’re not, realize that it needs to end, and that prolonging the break-up process because you feel sorry for the other person actually makes you pretty thoughtless.