As adults, most of us have been in a few relationships regardless of the length.
We meet someone, we connect, there’s mutual interest, we date. The relationship may become serious, sometimes sooner rather than later. My typical “relationship” (I use that term loosely because people define it in various ways) is a commitment to continuing to work toward learning each other: patterns of behavior, understanding each other’s thought processes, still determining if interests are mutual, and realizing motivations.
As time goes on one may show they were interested in you as a person or the idea of you. What that means is they put you in a box of who they perceived you to be. Or, maybe, they saw something in you they wanted or you made them feel a certain way. The problem with this is when you don’t live up to their expectations, they may turn sour. They may begin to either disengage with you, began breaking commitments, or even ‘turning mean.” I use the term “turning mean” to lump together when they gaslight and attempt to cause you to feel the relationship breakdown is your fault. In reality, the fault is theirs for not seeing and accepting you for who you are, and instead wanting you to be who they wanted you to be.
There’ve been numerous occasions when a relationship had gone sour. The person turned mean. I communicated to them that I wasn’t going to endure their mental and verbal abuse and physical aggression. Ironically, they were usually shocked as if everything in the relationship was going smoothly.
Some examples of “turning mean” may include:
_ Them doing things they know they shouldn’t and later making excuses for their behavior.
_ Them intentionally saying potentially hurtful things and later retracting their words.
_ Them not wanting to actually work on conflict resolution and having a preference to blame you for all alleged problems.
Those things, the mean things, are what I remember after the relationship ends. Yes, I do recognize the beginning was good, though the beginning is just that … a beginning. What’s more important to me is how things develop because it shows me who the person really is. It’s a learning process for me and I never have any regrets.
I learn to look for what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy in future potential friendships and relationships. Behaviors are added to my red flag list and I recognize them earlier rather than later in the next person. I’ll talk about what I consider to be red flags in an upcoming article. Another lesson is to not rationalize other’s behaviors; simply believe who they show you, and tell you, they are.
I’m no longer surprised when I receive messages weeks later, three months later, sometimes a year later from the person who turned mean. They always ask if I miss them. My reply explains the things I remember when they didn’t get their way, how they treated me or spoke to me in anger, etc. Yes, I forgive. I’ve also learned a lot and moved on. When it comes to friendships and relationships, there’s no future in my past.
If someone wants to stay in my life, they just have to be good to me. Communicate openly with me. Work with me to find solutions to challenges. Look within themselves to analyze their behaviors versus first placing blame and projecting. I hold others to the same standards I hold myself to and that’s to be emotionally mature.
I’d love to read your experiences with past friends, loves, and lovers. Can you relate to someone turning mean and then attempting to regain entry into your life? Have you forgiven, as well as forgotten (so to speak), and given someone another chance? If so, how did it turn out? Do you miss past loves and lovers? Do you sometimes desire to be with that person again? If so, what stops you from going back?
Comments are always welcome.
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