I’m almost to ashamed to admit it, but in the early stages of my relationship I spent far to many hours worrying about what others thought and ended up almost destroying it all. Now that I’ve had time to think about things and grow up a little, I have a handle on it, but for a little while I was the original Girlfriendzilla.
- I justified my behavior because people told me I was a “natural born leader.” I understand just how naive this sounds now, but when I was just beginning to explore the world of serious relationships, I thought that the strong, dominating (read: overbearing) women who freely threw around their opinions without caring what those around them thought were what men really wanted. And when people told me I was just showing of my natural leadership skills, I took this as a validation that I was behaving appropriately. Newsflash: I wasn’t.
- I didn’t stop to consider my boyfriend’s feelings. Somewhere along the way, I forgot that being in a relationship meant I had to take another person’s feelings into consideration. I didn’t care that he had no interest in seeming a certain way to the outside world — I cared and I thought the world cared. There’s only one word for my behavior: selfish. It wasn’t until it was pointed out to me how unfair and irrational I was being that I took a step back and reassessed what I was doing.
- Outsiders’ opinions were more important than mine or my boyfriend’s. It sounds absolutely ridiculous to think that I would put a stranger’s opinion on such a pedestal, but I did. If I could go back in time and give myself some advice, this would be at the top of my list: the only opinions that should matter are the ones of the people involved in our relationship.
- I thought I was doing it for his own good. I can just see every sane woman reading this shaking her head. Believe me, if I could take it all back I would. I felt if I organized his clothes or the way he trimmed his facial hair, I had some control over how the rest of the world viewed us and our relationship. That’s total BS obviously, but I didn’t know that then.
- I thought I had to fix my boyfriend. I cringed every time I heard an audible crunch while we were at dinner or a whistle in his inhale. If I could hear it, so could everyone else and that terrified me. It wasn’t long before my not-so subtle eye rolls turned into loud rants about his lack of decorum. Looking back, it’s a wonder he didn’t take off for the nearest exit.
- I wanted my boyfriend, but I didn’t want him to be himself. This should give you an indication of just how deep the judgmental, crazy gene ran. I loved my boyfriend with everything I had — the problem was I should have been loving him with everything he had. It didn’t matter that his eyebrows weren’t perfectly manicured or that sometimes he smelled like potato chips — that was who he was and if I took my cray cray glasses off long enough to see that, I could have saved myself a lot of trouble.
- His friends weren’t among the social elite. Yes, I went there. I hit the poor guy where it hurt, his friends. Don’t get me wrong — they were nice guys. They stood by each other and treated each other right; they did what I was meant to be doing and wasn’t. I never doubted how genuine they were, I just doubted they were classy enough to be associated with. Trust me, apologies were made and a serious lesson learned about not judging books by their covers.
- My attitude just plain stank. I can’t deny it — my self-entitled attitude stank. I had it in my head that what I wanted was what my boyfriend wanted. If I had taken the time to pull my blinkers off, I would have known that the amazing guy I had first fallen in love with also had an amazing personality that didn’t need my assistance. Thankfully, I realized all this before it was too late.