We had been together for three and a half years. When we first met, he was going through a difficult time. He had depression, he was grieving one of his parents, he was struggling to get a job, and had major trust and communication issues from both his childhood and previous ex-girlfriends. I was his friend first, and very soon after became his one support. It was inevitable that we fell in love.
For two years, I helped him through his depression, I helped him open up and learn to trust and communicate again. Even though I was managing my own stresses and workload, I devoted my day and all my free time to him. I taught him how to eat more nutritious food, would encourage him to go for daily walks with me. He flourished, and in his happiness, I mistook my happiness and the success of our relationship.
After two years, he was a changed man. Everyone saw it; his friends, family, everyone who knew it commended me for the positive change I had brought to his life. Meanwhile, I was buckling under the stress and responsibility of part-time studies, earning a living, keeping his mental health afloat, cooking him two meals a day, and actually also carrying the majority of the financial burden.
We began to fight. Consciously or unconsciously I started resenting him for having to carry the weight of our entire relationship by myself. I was hurt and lashed out when he wasn’t able to think of me, make sacrifices for me, put me first, and essentially love me the way I loved him. He started to draw away from me, hating that my anger would erupt at the drop of a hat. Eventually, he’d had enough, and he left.
In the beginning I couldn’t understand it. I had done everything right. My whole world had revolved around him. How was I still not good enough? Why did he not want me anymore? I went from anger at him for not choosing me, to anger at myself for not getting it right. It was all my fault. I shouldn’t have snapped at him, I should’ve, I would’ve, I could’ve… none of it helped.
It took me a long time to build a life in which I was the centre of my universe again. It took even longer to admit that letting him become the centre of mine contributed to the end of our relationship. It takes two to make a relationship work, but I can’t help thinking, if I had known better, if our relationship could have been more equal, then maybe things wouldn’t have ended the way they did.
Although the pain of this heartbreak felt like it would break me in the beginning, I am grateful for the lesson I took away from it; it was one I definitely needed to learn. I’ve learned to love myself, and know that I should never lose myself, my needs, or my life, even for the one I love. Relationships need balance. As much as I thought I could, you can’t love someone enough for the both of you. And you should never, ever beg someone to love you the way you love them. This is a lesson I hope to take with me, and still believe that I will fall in love again. This time, I will find someone who will love me the way I deserve to be loved.