A true relationship is two unperfect people refusing to give up on each other.
When we think of life and what makes us happy, prosperous and truly content, chances are that a stable, loving relationship is pretty close to the top of our priority lists. Most probably alongside friendships, an enjoyable job, and a secure financial situation. Although I do appreciate the idea of finding happiness can be down to a whole number of other factors- and is clearly individual to each person- in my opinion, strong interpersonal relationships are a key ingredient to living a more fulfilled life. For today’s post, I wanted to explore my own experiences of relationships and dating, as well as the effect they have had on my mental wellbeing!
So throughout my teenage years, when the pressure to date and engage in romantic relationships mounts, I very much struggled to deal with those expectations. While the people around me I knew from school and outside activities felt seemingly comfortable doing this, I felt reluctant and scared to do so through the fear of embarrassment or rejection, not to mention the fact that I had very little idea around what I wanted. The idea of parties and socialising with large numbers of people would petrify me. I’d isolate myself from friends. Slowly but surely I was becoming a recluse; spending the majority of time at home in my room. And worst of all, I continued to ask myself these questions. Why am I feeling like this? How can I change it? Are other people feeling the same, or am I just different? To say I was confused would be an understatement.
Now when I felt these emotions, naturally it made it almost impossible to have a relationship. Girls my age simply didn’t see me like that. At best it would be friendship, nothing more. Although at the time I couldn’t see it, I now realise that it was my mental health issues that were leading to problems in my interpersonal relationships. As well as many other aspects of my life.
When I finally lost my virginity at the age of 19 and subsequently entered my first proper relationship, around 3 years after leaving school, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t come as a surprise. While I never previously envisaged myself using apps such as Tinder and Bumble as a method of finding a partner, it was one of these that lead me to meet my first girlfriend. As I’m sure many of you reading this can relate to or have possibly experienced yourself, your first relationship is a complete mixture of emotions. You’ve got the excitement and wonder of seeing where things will progress, indecision around how you should act and approach your relationship, and even the natural fear of what will happen if something goes wrong; if it doesn’t work out. For whatever reason. Like anything new in life, we are very unsure of what to expect.
Despite the fact that my first and last relationships definitely flopped, not to mention were very detrimental to my own mental health, I now recognise that those failures happened for a reason. And that I’ve simply never been ready to have a successful relationship. All too often you witness people in fruitless marriages, with people they don’t love, who they simply ‘put up’ with, however, my own experiences of mental health problems have made me realise that life is worth more. Yes I may crave attention, yes I may take rejection hard, yes I may put my heart and soul into everything, but I still refuse to accept a relationship that isn’t right. It’d be unfair on me and the other person. Finding love is something that should just come naturally!
To finish, here’s some corny but rather great advice I recently received: You’ve got to love yourself before you can love anybody else. Focus on becoming a better version of you- a brilliant relationship is just around the corner!
P.S. It’s okay to feel vulnerable and shitty sometimes, that’s what makes us human 🙂
Thanks for reading,