I entered my relationship with my first girlfriend at 21.

We both were discovering who we were.  I was exploring my own sexuality. I was dealing with accepting myself.  And the relationship was toxic.

So what made me stay you ask? and why did I leave?

Yes, in that relationship we stayed longer than we should have. We were each other’s first love’s. We did not know how to let go of each other.

I woke up the moment it became physical.  That was not a reflection of love, or at least not the type of love I want.

Thought I would get it right on my next go around…  the quiet storm of the first relationship didn’t prepare me for the natural disaster to come with my next relationship.

Natural Disaster and I last three years. For a third of that time, I allowed myself to be strung along by a person that didn’t want me.  She expressed this in different ways from her texting me that she was no longer attracted to me to her sleeping with a guy while we were together (when we started dating she left out the part that she was bisexual).  It was truly over then.  A year before ending it.  I was 31.

Ok… so why did I stay in this one? Simple… She was my heart.   I thought this relationship was something I could fix.  I thought I could fix her fading attraction to me.  I allowed her to be in my head.   I allowed her to convinced me that what she did was a one-time thing.  But the overarching reason is that I loved her.  I loved her so much and it hurt me to let go.  I later realized that it hurt me more to stay.

When being with “Natural Disaster” I second guessed my worth and my value. I got out knowing that I deserve better than that.

My lack of self-love made me put up with a lot of things. The relationship with Natural Disaster was a mirror that reflected the lack of love I had for myself. That mirror also reflected my level of self-esteem (I can admit this now looking back).  People would not believe I suffered from low self-esteem.  I was loving her more than I loved myself. It showed in the way that I allowed this person to treat me.  I allowed her to walk all over me. I allowed her to talk to me all kind of ways. Every time we would break-up she did something else unacceptable and still, I allowed her to come back.

How’d I finally let go?  Well…

It took me a while to realize that I deserved better. I had to realize that none of this treatment was any fault of mine.  This was who she was.  She was going to be this way with anyone she was with.   This is who she was. No amount of love I gave was going to change that.  Once I accepted that it was easier to let go. In fact, I felt sorry for her in the end. But I realize that had to start putting myself first. Therefore, I couldn’t help her anymore.

If I loved myself like, I thought, I would not have accepted my ex’s behavior.

There are a lot of things the “post the storm and natural disaster” me would not put up with. No more listening to someone telling me about myself when they haven’t even begun the search for who they are.  No more of trying to communicate with someone who doesn’t know how to communicate and doesn’t even want to put forth the effort in communicating. I want someone comfortable with their sexuality and accepting of that.  I need someone who’s actions line up with who they say they are.

Natural disaster exhibited none of the traits above. So, I left. She was the greatest teacher about the type of relationship I now want for myself.

My greatest lesson though is I need to love “ME”  first.  That sets the tone for all my relationships.