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My relationship with my father has always been a rocky road throughout the years. Things got worse in high school. When I found out my parents were getting divorced, I had just started my first relationship. My relationship was a highlight during a dark time and neither my father or mom understood that. Surprisingly, my father was right about my now ex, because they are almost the exact same person. I don’t think that my father subconsciously saw similarities between himself and my ex, but he disapproved of him. I would always tell myself that my ex was not like my father and I was honestly just in denial. My father and I were having so many problems at that moment, it was only fair to blind myself to the type of person my ex actually was. Manipulative, selfish, controlling and insecure. All characteristics that my father exhibited in the past. I think that’s why I fell for my ex. I had only seen those behaviors shown by a major male figure in my life, so I ended up falling for a person who showed those similar behaviors. It was not until I went to school nine hours away and saw how a man should treat a woman that I finally realized that my relationship was not what I thought it was and I needed to get out immediately.

Otherwise, I would be like my mom, in an unhappy marriage and not wanting to leave because of her kids. Once you leave a toxic relationship, everything becomes clear. I saw how certain conversations and actions weren’t ok and above all, I was so unhappy. You know how it feels when you cry yourself to sleep and when you wake up, you feel so heavy and tired and that feeling refuses to go away for the whole day? Sometimes that actually happened because of words exchanged (more so on his part than mine) between me and my father. But when I was with my ex, it began to feel like that every, day. Even on days when I hadn’t cried myself to sleep or on days when we actually had a decent day. I finally realized that when I left the relationship and I began to understand why I got with him in the first place. Monkey see, monkey do. What a kid sees, a kid will do and that’s even as a 19/20-year-old woman. Older adults still do the same thing and it’s all because of the relationships we saw when we were younger. We tend to repeat the cycle because we don’t realize that the cycle is a mess and needs to be fixed. Well I refuse to repeat the cycle. Now I know what I want, need, and deserve despite everything I saw as a kid and teenager. I know what is ok and what is not ok. 

Most importantly, I know myself and no longer need or depend on anyone else to tell me who I am. I just had to open my eyes. I will admit I had some growing to do as well. I hold no ill will towards my ex or my father. My father has grown as well and he’s in his mid-50s. It’s never too late to open your eyes and make a change so you can break the cycle. I honestly have no idea if my ex has changed, but I will say that I learned a lot from that relationship. My father and I’s relationship is still a work in progress, but it is better than it’s been in a long time and I’ve come to the realization that I can’t depend on someone else to make me happy. That’s honestly so ghetto and who’s going to know me better than me anyway?

You all should go out and find your happiness. Sorry, but it cannot be a person because that is honestly setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Don’t attach yourself to someone just because of their potential or familiarity. Go out and live your life. If you learn about yourself, I think your next relationship will go at least a little better. But take the time to think about the male figures in your life, how they treat you and how they treat other women in your/their life. That’s the blueprint. And if you don’t like what you see, make the adjustment so you can be as happy and content as possible. Don’t let your relationship be your downfall. Even 50-year-olds can learn from their mistakes. Observe, learn and grow. We don’t take Ls. We take the chance to improve upon ourselves and become the best people we can be.

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