I’ve lived my entire life thus far resigned to the excuse that I am simply incapable of saying “no” to people. I’m a pleaser. I’d rather run away to a new country and change my name than adult-up, face someone, and tell them something they don’t want to hear.
That’s 22 years of “oh, I don’t care where we eat!” and “yes, I can give you a ride even though it’d be COMPLETELY out of my way and quite inconvenient” and “no, really, we can leave the concert early even though one of my favorite bands hasn’t taken the stage yet!” and, most recently, “yes, despite my entire gut telling me it’s a bad idea, I will date you.”
This approach to interacting with others has left me unsatisfied, frustrated, annoyed, and taken advantage of. I have voluntarily taken the passenger seat of my own life for far too long. I’ve felt too afraid, and perhaps a little unworthy, to grab the wheel and steer for once.
But the thing is, I know exactly what I want, in 9/10 situations. I do not resign myself to passivity due to uncertainty. I definitely care where we eat, and I’ve probably been thinking about it for hours. No, it’s not okay with me if we leave the concert early-I paid money to be here and want to see the damn show. And lastly, I know EXACTLY what i’m looking for as it pertains to a significant other, yet I find myself accepting gentlemen’s advances, due to the mere fact that they are, indeed, gentlemen.
The problem is that I lack the voice to assert myself.
However, yesterday, thanks to a little push from my best friend, I did one of the hardest things I’ve probably ever done in my life. I confronted someone face-to-face about what I wanted.
And it was nauseatingly horrifying.
I broke off the situationship-turned-boyfriend that I’d found myself involved with for the past few months. In person.
You see, my default approach would be to shoot him a text saying that I was breaking things off, provide little to no explanation, and then hit the “block” button as fast as my little fingers could move.
However, I chose to take this opportunity to grow as a person, and decided to handle it face-to-face like a big girl.
Let me be clear, there was nothing particularly wrong with him. He’s a fine guy-nice, smart, well-mannered. Has his shit together. Pretty good “boyfriend material”, objectively speaking.
We hit it off in the beginning. We had plenty to talk about, had all sorts of fun together, and he treated me better than I probably deserved. But we just never had a “spark.”
I’d expressed this to him bluntly when we were deliberating whether or not to take our relationship to the level of exclusivity. I told him that my gut told me that this was a bad idea, and I didn’t think I’d find what I was looking for in a significant other in him.
Alas, he persisted. And so I gave in. He’s a nice guy-he deserves a shot. Right?
And I gave it a shot. I gave it my best shot.
He became increasingly clingy-freaking out when I hung out with a member of the male gender, needing to be in constant contact with me, declining to give me space when I deliberately asked for it.
Enough was enough. I panicked, and shut the whole operation down.
I invited him to my place, and explained to him that this relationship isn’t working for me, and that no, there was nothing he could do to fix it, and that I saw no reason to continue to see him, as it felt disingenuous of me to do so without having developed the feelings for him that he professed to have had for me.
I won’t speak for him, but I could visibly tell that I was hurting him with every word that came out of my mouth. And that was devastatingly hard to watch, especially as I watched him walk away from me for the last time, with his head hung, and his eyes down at his feet.
Hard as this experience was for me, I feel that I really learned a lot about dealing with confrontation and being honest and transparent about how I feel about things. It was uncomfortable, heartbreaking, and scary. But I’d rather feel all those things and say what I need to say than keep my mouth shut in the interest of not upsetting people because I don’t want what they want.
From now on, I’m the driver. I have a voice, and I am fully capable of using it. And I intend to.
I’m in charge of my life, and the direction it takes is up to me.