I Let My Relationships Control My Life For Far Too Long & I’ll Never Do It Again

I didn’t realize just how much the relationships I had in the past were keeping me trapped instead of helping me grow—that is until I threw them out and chose myself over them. Here are 14 ways in which they held me back from being happy and chasing my dreams.

  1. My goals weren’t respected. I remember once telling my first boyfriend about my goals and how he mocked me about them. So much for support, jerk! His negative comments made me doubt myself and put my goals on the back burner, which is sad because they were so much more important than he was.
  2. He was jealous. The same guy was never happy for my achievements. He was always finding negative things about them or trying to bring me back down to earth “for my own good.” It was such BS and really just a show of his insecurity, which made me stupidly tone down my success to make the loser feel better.
  3. I was broken down. Another guy I dated kept finding flaws in me and over time, this really messed up my confidence. It was hard to love life and be a go-getter when I felt like I wasn’t worthy of happiness. I won’t give a man such power over me again.
  4. My energy evaporated. I dated a toxic guy who was always sucking my energy with his drama. It left me depleted, unable to dedicate my energy and passions to other areas of my life. The result was that I was stuck in a dark pit of his own making.
  5. He tried to persuade me. The same guy was always trying to change my mind about decisions I wanted to make, as though his future was the only one that mattered for us. He wanted to decide where we’d live and what we’d do. I wish I’d taken a stand and stood up for my own ideas, FFS!
  6. I cared too much about what he thought. Dating a guy who had so many opinions and who I really loved made me worry too much about what he thought about me and not enough about what I thought about myself. Now, I thankfully know better.
  7. I over-compromised. He never met me halfway. I was always the one pushing my needs aside so that he could be happy. What BS! I tried too hard to make my past relationships work, making them a priority to the point that I blocked out everything else I wanted in life.
  8. I worked too hard on something that wasn’t worth it. I know every relationship requires putting in work, but most of mine were toxic. I ended up doing much more than I should’ve to try to carry the relationship along. It was like the relationships ended up consuming everything and taking my full attention.
  9. I fixed them instead of myself. I’d try to “fix” guys by helping them with their problems and helping them through the rough patches in their life. It was almost like they were just a distraction for me. Instead of thinking about working on myself and my own life, I dedicated all my time and energy to them. After those relationships, I had nothing because the rest of my life had been neglected.
  10. Their lack rubbed off on me. Some guys I dated lacked ambition in their lives, and it’s so true when they say that a person’s behavior can end up rubbing off on their partner. Soon, my ambitions became diluted, which sucks because I know it’s important for a relationship to boost my self-growth, not cut me down.
  11. Negativity is a dream killer. One guy I dated was the biggest negative person I’d ever met in my life. He was negative about EVERYTHING. If I suggested a cool mini getaway or fun restaurant, the answer was always “no.” He never wanted to try anything new and was pretty stuck in his ways. This prevented me from doing quite a few fun things. What a killjoy!
  12. I got caught up in the past. The same guy was always arguing with me and we’d have massive fights that were always about things that had already happened. Ugh, we were so stuck in a negative pattern that it kept me stuck in the past. It made it impossible to see the future and dream about it.
  13. I lost myself. When I was so worried about trying to be the perfect girlfriend and accommodating my boyfriend’s wishes, I was hiding away my real self. I’ve learned from my mistakes. I refuse to deny myself what I want because it’s my life and I won’t hold back from living it to the max.
  14. Heartbreak was emotional quicksand. The relationships were bad enough, but even worse was dealing with heartbreak when they ended. The pain consumed me so much and made me feel like I had no future. What BS! I actually had a better life without the relationships and toxic men I allowed to hold me back. I could be whoever I wanted and not lose sight of my dreams, and I’m lucky that I finally woke up to that fact so that I’ll never sleep through my life again.
Giulia Simolo is a writer from Johannesburg, South Africa with a degree in English Language and Literature. She has been working as a journalist for more than a decade, writing for sites including AskMen, Native Interiors, and Live Eco. You can find out more about her on Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow her on Twitter @GiuliaSimolo.