Hi friends. I’ve replied to a number of your comments and Facebook messages here on the blah-g lately and many of you have asked me crush questions. Namely, how to get into a relationship with a guy you like or how to know if a crush likes you back. But what if you’ve got the guy, you’re in the relationship, and you’re still not happy? I received a message from a reader over the weekend–we’ll call her Rebecca–who doesn’t need to get into a relationship, but instead needs out of the one she’s in. Here’s what she said:
Hi Lisi! My question is more of a situation I’m in that I’m not sure I know how to get out of or even that I 100% want to leave? I have been dating a guy I’m in love with for around 7 months. This is my first real relationship. We both had an attraction to each other all through 8th and 9th grade and are finally dating so this was pretty much a dream come true. He’s always been cooler, more liked and popular and funner than me and I feel really lucky to be dating such a catch. The problem is around our three month anniversary I realized I wasn’t happy. We didn’t do anything to celebrate the 3 month mark but I don’t like complaining so I didn’t say anything. I also didn’t hear from him on my birthday but didn’t want to nag although that really hurt me. He did call the day after to apologize and wish me a happy birthday and everything was good after. Since then I’ve noticed that whatever I expected to happen in a relationship isn’t really happening. It doesn’t feel like we’ve gotten closer and have become better friends or anything and he actually tends to criticize me a lot (he calls it teasing), but for valid reasons most of the time. Stuff like me running late a lot or taking a long time to get ready which are both true. He also says I either get way too chatty when it’s just me and him but then go totally mute and weird in social situations and that’s also true. I know saying all this sounds kinda bad and it doesn’t feel great to hear, but it isn’t as terrible as a lot of relationships I see on tv. I’ve wanted to be with this guy for so long and it’s crazy he chose me out of every other girl. But we generally just do what he wants and I’ve made a lot of changes to try to make him happy. i’m not sure how to get him to start appreciating me more and treating me a little better so it feels good to be with him. I don’t know what to do at all and don’t want to go to my friends because I know what they’ll say. Any advice? PS. Please make another Clique movie!! Xx
Hi Rebecca. You have a lot to say here and I don’t blame you for a second. I’m not sure I am going to say something different than what your friends might tell you, but know that any advice I’ve got comes from a place of honest care for you to be in the kind of relationship you deserve–even if that means only being in a solid relationship with yourself for a while. Read below for a few tips on how to look at your situation from a new perspective.
1) Don’t Blame Yourself
It’s easier to preach than to put into practice but I gather from the way you phrased some things in your message to me that you feel your boyfriend’s criticism of you is just. You mentioned that a lot of what he negatively comments on, albeit hurtful, is true. Therefore you must deserve the harsh speech. I want you to know that not for a second do you deserve to feel criticized and judged in your relationship. That being in love and loving another person is a wonderful experience, but it means being gentle and kind with one another, being compassionate and non-judgmental and not making snide remarks on the other’s behalf, even if they are technically coming from a true place. It’s not a way to build your relationship but instead will break it down, which is what you’re experiencing now. There are ways to resolve conflict with your significant other that don’t involve harming their self-esteem. Do not blame yourself for how your boyfriend treats you. It isn’t a reflection of you and truly is his own issue. I wish him luck with that. As I mentioned in a previous post about standing up to BFF bullies, it isn’t your fault when someone treats you badly, but it’s 100% your responsibility to stand up for yourself and protect your self-respect when a relationship dynamic becomes abusive, controlling and imbalanced.
2) Ever Heard of the”Gaslight” Tactic?
Rookie Mag defines this term expertly so I’ll leave them to it:
“Gaslighting, the tactic, is named after Gaslight, the 1944 movie, which is about a guy who tries to get his wife diagnosed as incurably insane by doing this. It’s not always fully intentional, and it’s not always done primarily to harm you—alcoholics, for example, are almost invariably gaslighters, because that’s how they get people to enable or overlook their drinking—but it causes real and profound damage. It erodes your sense of reality, destroys your self-esteem, and reduces you to a depressed, fearful, self-loathing, hysterical person. At which point, the gaslighter tells you that they treat you badly because you’re hysterical!” – Rookie Mag
Learn this term and try to be aware of situations where you’re being “gaslighted” by significant others, friends, and family members. It’s a huge red flag that’s hard to notice at first, so your best defense against it is to get prepared by spotting the signs. I don’t know all of the details of your situation, but mentioning that you believe you have always essentially been inferior to your boyfriend is a little alarming to read. It’s possible you’re being gaslighted and don’t yet know it.
3) Get Off the Roller Coaster
At this point consider yourself lucky not that this boy “chose” you of all the other girls, but that it has only taken you seven months to realize this relationship may not be right for you. For a lot of people, it takes years to see their significant other’s true colors—the cliché “love is blind” exists for a reason. I’m not saying to avoid conflicts that can be resolved in a healthy way, and of course all relationships ebb and flow. But my best advice to you is to exit any relationship that does not consistently lift you up or leave you feeling like your best self. You should feel confident, beautiful, strong and capable with your S.O. You cannot make your guy treat you fairly and you will likely waste a lot of time and go through several heartbreaks trying. And believe it or not, you WILL find a boy who can appreciate the ah-mazingness that is you. Give your time and energy to someone who sees your worth and values you endlessly for the imperfect human that you are. Or simply give it to yourself and be your own best friend right now.
4) Get Your Girls Around You
You need every bit of support you can get right now. Get your girlfriends around you and don’t be afraid to let them know you might need a little more girl time than usual. Have some girls nights out or stay in and reconnect. And if your girls just aren’t enough right now and you need extra help, I’m always in support of reaching out to a counselor or therapist to hash out the issues you might feel are too personal to share with friends. And remember, if you need a place to vent on the fly my Facebook inbox forever welcomes you.
Hope that helps. I’m sending a virtual blah-g-o-sphere hug out to you today, Rebecca. To all other readers, keep the questions coming!