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Relationships: Figure Out the Bad Stuff Now

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When do you want to find out that the pilot flying your plane has no license—or, worse, does not know how to fly—before or after the flight? When do you want to know the person performing open-heart surgery on you has never been to medical school, or is drunk—before or after the operation?

How about your tax person or phlebotomist—before or after you suffer the consequences of their ineptitude? And when would you want to know you spent four years in school only to find out you had been scammed, that the organization was not accredited and your investment and dream is gone—before or after you invested your valuable time into making your dreams for the future come true?

Do these seem ridiculous questions? Of course they do. No more ridiculous, however, than getting into a relationship with someone who has no tools or relationship skills! Unless you want to find out the person you want to be in a relationship/are about to have sex with is already married, has two children and is never going to leave their family. Or the person you have been dating is a practicing drug addict and has recently been arrested for assault and battery. Or the person who has just told you they never want to be without you has said the same thing to five other people, or has an STD. Or the person you just moved in with never wants to get married/have children/is completely self-centered/has never had a successful relationship/possesses no skills when it comes to relationships and is not interested in personal growth whatsoever? Exactly when do you want to find these things out?

I have definitely been a victim of low self-esteem and a believer in Happily Ever After, but eventually this thinking and belief system caught up with me. My relationship patterns were clear to everyone but me; I only knew I was unhappy, had tried everything I knew to make my relationships work (the focus of my life) by being more accommodating, prettier, sexier, indifferent, hard to get, or aggressive.

Eventually, out of frustration, I actually started not to care at all.

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Expert HERWriter

Hi MaryAnne,

Such a great article you wrote. I couldn't have said it better if I tried. You are so honest and open about your feelings and your relationships. I, too, suffered from low self-esteem. I also had many bad relationships because I didn't think enough of myself to have what I was most deserving of...a healthy, happy relationship. Equality is one of the most important pieces. As my girl friend Gail would say, it has to be 50/50. If it's not 50/50 from the beginning, it does not have much of a chance of being a truly happy and meaningful relationship.

Thanks for sharing your own personal struggles with relationships! I'm going to send this to my daughter for her to read.

Best in health,

October 13, 2009 - 11:38am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.