I’ve Started Putting Myself First In My Relationships And It’s The Best Thing I’ve Ever Done

It wasn’t until I got tired of living with crappy relationships and started putting myself first that I realized that love didn’t have to be so draining. I CAN be happy in my relationships, and all it took was putting the focus on myself instead of stressing over my partner. I can safely say that I’ve changed my ways and I’m never going back.

  1. I no longer put time into someone who doesn’t even care about me. When I look back and think about all the guys who only wanted to date me short-term or just wanted someone to sleep with, I can’t help but get a little annoyed at myself. I mean, I KNEW deep down that they were using me, I just didn’t have the self-respect to quit putting myself in second place. I deserve someone who actually wants to be with me and it’s taken me a long time to figure that out.
  2. I’m actually satisfied with my dating life for once. I used to be at the beck and call of any guy who would throw a look my way but now that I’m putting myself first, dating is actually pretty fun. It’s mostly because I don’t do stuff that I don’t want to do, simple as that. If I don’t like a guy, I don’t date him. If I don’t like the way the relationship is progressing, I get out. That’s it.
  3. I might regret it if I don’t make myself a priority. I’ve realized how terrible it feels to look back on a relationship and find out that I wasn’t even happy. What’s the point of being with someone if you don’t actually enjoy being around each other, am I right? I’ve officially stopped doing things that don’t benefit me in relationships, like sacrificing my own happiness for his. It’s really not worth it and I know that now more than ever.
  4. I don’t waste time dating losers. If I come across a guy who wants to date me but I don’t want to date him, I just don’t even go there. I’ve learned to trust myself and to not overthink about what I could possibly be missing out on. If he seems like a jerk, he is. I’m not going to be able to fix him, nor do I want to. I only hold out for the good guys nowadays, no exceptions.
  5. My self-esteem is through the roof. I’ve never felt more love for myself than I do now. Once I dropped my destructive relationship behaviors, I feel more connected to my wants, needs, and opinions and have been taking them way more seriously. The thing is, I can’t expect someone to love me if I don’t love myself and that’s the truth.
  6. It just feels right. I never knew how pleasant relationships could actually be when I’m not running around trying to make my partner happy. I’m a huge people pleaser and my relationships have always ended up draining me. I’ve realized that I need to make sure that I’m happy first before I start worrying about my partner because that will only end in me feeling resentment and regret.
  7. My partners end up respecting me more. When I stick up for the things I want and need in relationships, my partner is actually happy to give them to me—who would’ve thought? I guess I always assumed I didn’t deserve that level of care and respect. I’ve recently found out that I do and it feels greats.
  8. It’s helped me achieve balance. When I’m in a relationship, I tend to let it take over my entire life. I completely forget about my friends and any creative projects I was working on. It becomes my number one reason for living and we all know how unhealthy that can be. Ever since I’ve changed my mindset, other areas of my life have balanced out and I don’t put so much importance on whether or not my partner is happy. Although that’s really important to me, it’s not the ONLY thing in my life that matters.
  9. I’ve re-discovered who I am. I had no idea just how many awesome things I can accomplish in my life because I’ve always been so busy in either finding a boyfriend or keeping my current boyfriend satisfied. I have so many things to offer the world and once I started to empower myself in my relationships, I became more than just someone’s girlfriend. I became the real ME.
  10. In the end, I’m all I’ve got. When I really thought about it, I realized that we’re all we’ve got at the end of the day. No one dies “together” and no one belongs to anyone else. We are our own greatest partners and it took me a long time to realize that I’m worth more than just taking whatever I can get in relationships. If things aren’t going the way I want them to, I have the power to either change it or get out.
Jennifer is a playwright, dancer, and theatre nerd living in the big city of Toronto, Canada. She studied Creative Writing at Concordia University and works as a lifestyle writer who focuses on Health, B2B, Tech, Psychology, Science, Food Trends and Millennial Life. She's also a coreographer, playwright, and lyricist, with choreography credits for McMaster University’s “Spring Awakening,” “Roxanne” for the Guelph Contemporary Dance Festival, and “The Beaver Den” for The LOT, among others.

You can see more of her work on her Contently page and follow her on Instagram @jenniferenchin.