When you’re in the relationship bubble, it’s easy to neglect yourself. The shock comes when your relationship ends and you’re left to pick up the pieces of a broken woman. This is exactly what happened to me — and it wasn’t pretty.
I’d forgotten about the world around me. I was so consumed by my relationship that I wasn’t really living in the real world anymore. Things between my ex and I were on the verge of breaking down and I was fighting so hard to keep them going, so much so that everything that I said and did was for someone else and not myself.
I had no one to make the effort for. I stopped caring about myself a long time prior because I thought I was happy in my relationship. As it turned out, I wasn’t. I’d just given up on myself and gotten lazy because I thought I’d found my person and I knew that he’d never leave me.
I let myself go physically. I became out of shape, I stopped wearing makeup, I let my hair grow — heck, I even abstained from shaving my legs very often! Ladies, you know your relationship is doomed when you let your legs grow out for a few weeks at a time because you’re no longer having sex and there’s no one to impress. Bummer.
I felt obligated to look after my ex. As my ex-BF was younger than me and away from all that he knew, I felt super protective over him. It became one of those situations where I felt more like his mother than his GF, and slowly but surely we began to fall apart because of it. A relationship can’t continue when it’s not between equals but I conveniently ignored that fact for a long time.
I sacrificed things for the sake of my relationship. Even though I’m not proud of it, I admit that I put everything into making my relationship work and it meant that I cut back on things I loved like spending time with my friends and family. He was at the top of my priority list and everything else slid down to the bottom, including my own happiness.
I stopped being myself. Because I was deeply unhappy, I stopped acting like myself and instead became someone else. A shadow of my former self, if you will. I often looked in the mirror and I didn’t even recognize the person staring back at me. It was extremely heartbreaking when I realized that the happy, bubbly girl I once knew was gone.
I took control and ended the relationship. It wasn’t long before I decided that I didn’t want to be in a relationship that made me become someone else. I wanted to be in a relationship that allowed me to be unapologetically and to grow and become even better. Even though it took a lot of courage because I cared tremendously about my ex and his well-being, I bit the bullet and ended things.
I got my life back on track. I stopped neglecting myself and started to move my wants and needs to the top of my priority list. I made a list of my ultimate life and career goals long ago that had been sitting at the bottom of a drawer collecting dust, so I dug that out and started making plans for how I could achieve my dreams.
I focused on myself. With my ex out of the picture and my new lust for life, I put all my time into my friendships, my family, and myself instead of finding a new relationship. In fact, it was a couple of years before I even started dating again. I decided during that time period that I wasn’t single — I was just in a relationship with myself.
I never looked back. Even though I’m now in a new, happy relationship with another guy, I’m still in a relationship with myself first and foremost. After making the huge mistake of neglecting myself for so long before, I’m adamant that I’ll never do it again. That’s a promise.
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