I know how it feels to question your sanity during a rocky relationship and in the breakup that inevitably follows. Women are always written off as “crazy,” especially after a breakup – I’ve been there many times myself. It would be a stretch to call me clingy, needy, or difficult, and this only intensified after the relationship ended. I’d message my ex repeatedly, stalk them on social media, and obsess about what went wrong and when my ex would come crawling back. It took over my entire life and while I know I was being the stereotypical “crazy ex-girlfriend,” I don’t regret it at all. In fact, that craziness said more about my strengths as a girlfriend (and ex-girlfriend) than my flaws. Here’s what it really means to be a crazy ex-girlfriend.
- You care. If you cared about your relationship and were invested in its future, you may have a hard time letting it go when it ends. Your commitment to the relationship may make you seem clingy at times, both during your relationship and during the breakup period. And even though you may be labeled as “crazy” for struggling to let go, it’s a sign that you truly cared about your relationship and did everything you could to make it work.
- You have boundaries. Sometimes, our boundaries make us seem difficult, high-maintenance, and a little crazy. In reality, being able to speak up for yourself and be clear on what you won’t tolerate is totally healthy and necessary in relationships. If your relationship ended after your ex challenged or crossed your boundaries, they might label you as the crazy one for being too picky or demanding. But if having boundaries is crazy, I’m happy to be a crazy ex-girlfriend.
- You know your needs. Similar to broken boundaries, many relationships end when needs aren’t met. In your relationship, you may have known exactly what you wanted, and you were willing to ask for it. But women can often be called crazy for wanting quality time, commitment, sex… the list goes on! If you’re anything like me, you may continue reaching out to your ex, even after the breakup, in order to try to get those unmet needs fulfilled. Even though this usually doesn’t end well, you’re not “wrong” or “crazy” for having needs.
- You’re human. You might be considered a stereotypically crazy ex-girlfriend because you’re human. In other words, you have good days and bad days, and you experience a range of emotions in your relationship. Men, on the other hand, are taught to not share their feelings, so when you do, you may get called crazy. This can especially happen after a breakup, when you may feel like you’re on a rollercoaster of emotions. You may feel like a crazy mess during this time, and your ex may think so too, but forgive yourself for just being human.
- You still have room to learn. Being a crazy ex-girlfriend means that you’re still growing and learning—and that’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes, both during relationships and when recovering from a breakup. I made mistakes in my relationship, and my ex did too. But there’s still room for improvement. Some of the actions I chose weren’t really that “crazy” (although I may have been labeled as such), while others are actions I definitely don’t want to repeat. I can learn from those experiences and make better relationship choices in the future.
- You’re choosing the wrong partners. One of the most important lessons to be learned from being a crazy ex-girlfriend is to choose partners who won’t label you as crazy—both during the relationship and after it’s over. And though we all need to take responsibility for our own crazy and unhealthy behaviors, sometimes, the wrong people can bring out the worst in us.
- Sometimes, you’re not really crazy at all; you’re a victim of gaslighting. A toxic partner may blame you and your behavior for the relationship failing, ignoring their role in the breakup. If you’re shamed and called “crazy” by an ex for caring about your relationship, having boundaries and needs, and being a human who makes mistakes sometimes, then be proud to be crazy. And most importantly, celebrate that your relationship with them is over.