Immediately, I thought to myself: that is one of the most ridiculous statements ever when applied to romantic relationships.
I know that now, but I only wish I would have realized that early on.
I spent more time in my life than I care to admit “fighting for love”. There were the many metaphorical fights – the push/pull, up and down, hate that I love you, rollercoaster ride, emotional fights. Then there were the actual fights when I found out that one of my so-called friends was being way beyond friendly to the object of my affection. Oh and the fight when I discovered a guy was keeping from me the fact that he was starting another relationship. Or the fight when I realized this guy’s ex-girlfriend’s refusal to let him go was actually mutual. Yeah…”fighting for love” has never meant a good day for me.
But for some reason, though I had a feeling it wasn’t normal, I was hellbent on accepting and expecting the drama. The wondering, the waiting, the overanalyzing, the accepting of tossed crumbs from his table as evidence that I would one day be asked to join him for a real feast. I figured he was worth it. He was everything I thought I wanted, which I now realize like a mirror shining light from one room to another, I was projecting good things onto a person in whom those good things did not exist (at least not to the extent I had imagined). I was minimizing his flaws and maximizing his perfections, thrusting him onto a pedestal while unwittingly forcing him to look down on me. I did this over and over again with guy after guy. I was the definition of insane: doing the same thing repeatedly, yet expecting different results.
I used to think I liked uber-ambitious men who kept me at arms length while they pursued other things – be it their career, the high score on Madden, or even other women’s panties. I figured their detachment meant freedom for me, but I quickly realized that wasn’t freedom. It was bondage. Bondage to an unhealthy amount of drama that, had I not came to myself when I did, would have certainly sentenced me to a lifetime of unhappiness.
I’m competitive to a fault. I’m so competitive, I refuse to enter a competition unless I am fairly certain that I will win. I thought I wanted the guy that I had to “win”. That’s what the fight is about right? It’s about winning. But too often what gets lost in the flurry of the fight is what it is we’re actually fighting for. Sometimes, even the most competitive among us have to step back and ask ourselves: what is the prize here? And is it worth it?
In my case, the relationships I fought the hardest to start, maintain or keep were the ones with the sorriest prize. I was like that idiot at the carnival who keeps giving his money to the game attendant until the amount of money he has lost equals way more than any prize he could win. He has no concept that sometimes winning means walking away. It was Donald Trump who said “Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that’s more productive.”
Looking back, I realize it was nothing more than my ego that caused me to fight as long as I did. Then one day I realized there was a more productive way: choosing a man who also chose me.
Just writing those words gives me chills throughout my entire body.
It seems elementary and obvious, but that idea was foreign to me. A relationship that I did not either have to fight for nor surrender to? Was there a man or a woman who didn’t grow on the object of their desire like hair on a Chia Pet? Could a relationship be easy right from the beginning? No surprises, no drama, no games – just two honest people honestly into each other? Apparently, I had been missing something extraordinary all along: normalcy, peace and sanity. No fighting required.
This is me now.
This is not me then.
“Me then” refused love in the way children refuse to admit they’re sleepy though they can barely keep their eyes open.
“Me then” thought happily ever after meant turning a blind eye to the most egregious actions.
“Me then” had no clue that some men aspired to be good husbands and fathers and that was the kind of ambition I would come to find utterly indispensable.
“Me then” insisted I was seeing potential in a guy when in actuality I was seeing what I wanted to see.
“Me then” believed him when he said I was immature and weak because I wasn’t emotionally strong enough to withstand his inhumane treatment.
“Me then” was truly naive to believe things would ever be different when dealing with the same man.
“Me then” thought I had to overcome obstacles (that he virtually placed in the way) to finally get the love of my life.
“Me then” thought anything worth having is worth fighting for.
Me now would say that’s false.
Love worth having is love that you don’t have to fight for.