When it's One Sided

When you’re in a relationship and there is an obvious imbalance in feelings, it SUCKS. You have invested time, or money, or emotions into them and it turns out that the other person has done almost nothing. Whatever portion of your life you spent focusing on that person feels like wasted time, and for a while you consider your worth as a person. I was in a relationship for over a year where I felt as if I was the only one who was actually in love, and my ex was just putting on a face for me. I was hurt for a long time over this relationship, and I feel like I am now at a point where I can talk about it as objectively as possible.

In this story we’ll call him Tony. Tony and I met in our freshman year of college, on a dating app. I still went to Christopher Newport and he was going to Old Dominion, so the distance wasn’t bad enough to completely abandon the idea of dating him. We messaged each other for about a month or so, and during that time I was recovering from a previous breakup and trying to adjust to the college life. He had also been recently broken up with, and even cheated on, but seemed to keep it together. I was happy when I talked to Tony. It was like an escape where I could step out of my own life and step into the little world where we existed on the same plane. We would stay up until 2 or 3 am, just talking about things like Star Wars or space.

After we met in person, I knew that I was attracted to him. Not long after that, we began dating, and it was pure bliss. For our first date he drove from northern Virginia to Chesapeake, just so he could see me before we got back to school and give me late Christmas presents. I would go and see him at ODU almost every weekend, and we would get pizza and watch It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. We would walk along Hampton Boulevard to get to the Food Lion, and walk all the way back to his dorm for dinner. The weekend after Valentine’s Day he made me the best burritos I had ever tasted. I felt at home when I was with him. He was the reason I could feel calm. When I laid next to him in the tiny dorm bed I never wanted to be anywhere else.

The relationship changed after I ran out of money. Tony ever so slightly distanced himself from me, talked to me less, and seemed to be affected by the fact that I couldn’t fund our adventures anymore. I had been paying for the Uber trips back and forth, and for most of the food we were eating. It shouldn’t have changed how we were, because love doesn’t depend on how much money a person has, right? I was willing to go into debt to see him, and he just couldn’t reciprocate that. I was the only one with a job, and he was much busier in school at the time. Once summer came, he took me to his hometown to meet his family and so that we could spend the little time I had in Virginia that summer together. Something clicked in my head there. It was like all of a sudden I realized that we were not going to work out, or something was wrong with why we were together, or both. I wasn’t sure about what I would do with this information, and this feeling, so I ignored it and kept on with my life like the feeling had never came to me. We didn’t see each other for three months after that. We were thousands of miles apart, so it made sense. I went to Japan and Montana, and he stayed in Virginia and worked a temporary job.

When I returned to school, I was living with my parents in Chesapeake and commuting to ODU. I had changed my major as well as my school, so having Tony stick with me was just the stability I needed in order to get through it. We would see each other about once a week, but I was limited in how often I could drive to ODU because my mom was paying for every expense I had. I was the one who had to plan all of the dates, or initiate anything at all. During this time it felt like he had no interest in keeping the relationship going and staying together despite the hard times we had gone through. Looking back I think that she was trying to get me to consider why exactly I was still with him, even though I had many doubts and fears swirling around in my head. Even though the relationship was good I would still wake up in the middle of the night and imagine him on my doorstep, breaking up with me. These doubts ended up becoming a plague inside my head that took a long time to get rid of.

Tony broke up with me in March because he said he didn’t love me anymore. I wondered why I had made the effort to keep marching on in the relationship when he would end up falling out of love with me anyway. I would replay the relationship over and over in my head, trying to pinpoint exactly when I should’ve broken up with him. I wondered when I should’ve made things right. I blamed everything that had gone wrong on myself because I had been carrying all of the emotional weight for both of us. It took me a long time to admit to myself that I was in a one-sided relationship. I was putting in far more effort than he was and I was wasting my time chasing after something that wouldn’t work, at no fault of my own. For the longest time I was just angry about the way that he left me and that he had left me with nothing. I had given so much to him and to that relationship that I had nothing left for myself. My self-esteem and mental health suffered at the hands of somebody else.

Unfortunately a lot of women will subject themselves to unhealthy relationships because they feel that they have to settle for what they can find. When I was younger I believed that any guy even looking in my direction was a blessing because I believed I was a weird and not very good looking person. I let other people tell me that I should settle for whoever could put up with my quirky self. In a tough spot in their lives they will try to find stability in other people, as well as confidence in other people. This can help in the short term but can cause damage later on, especially if you don’t listen to yourself. When you depend on other people to tell you who you are and what makes you happy, you won’t be able to develop your sense of yourself and your own confidence. So my advice is this: listen to yourself and your gut. They’re definitely f**king right.