I was 15 and he was 16. I didn’t like him in the beginning, and he kept pursuing me. It was a young, innocent love which grew rapidly over the next few years. For maybe two years into our relationship things were good. Actually, everything was great. We went out on dates, talked on the phone for hours about nothing and everything, and bought each other presents for the holidays. Things were normal for what is considered normal for two young teenagers in love. I was happy.
Fast forward six years.
We grew up and matured. Each one in their own, different way. Our relationship became long distance, and we had many differences that we weren’t really talking about either. We had no communication, and most of the time fought. I wished things were different, and I loved him more than life, but I wasn’t happy and I didn’t want to admit that to myself. We became two completely different people who loved each other, but couldn’t find common ground. Looking back at it now, I see that we were both looking for ourselves, just starting out our journey in life, not accurately seeing ourselves or each other for who we were.
I couldn’t picture my life without him and for years prayed that things would change, that we would communicate better and that he would treat me well. I was attached to him in an unhealthy way too and instead of focusing on myself and my personal development, I put all my attention into this toxic attachment, believing with all my heart that I could change it. We kept breaking up, then getting back together, then breaking up again. He would break promises, and I would get hysterical.
This went on for a few more years until I finally began to heal. It took a lot of emotional pain, breakthrough, extremely hard work with myself. I remember consciously asking myself questions like: is this the way you want to be treated for the rest of your life, emotions aside? What are you looking for in a relationship anyway, Albina? How important is communication between you and him? Is there any communication at all?? Will you really be happy or are you believing a fairytale story in your mind that you will be happy if you are with him?
It took a long time for me to move forward which was extremely painful. Only a few of my close friends knew the intensity of my situation and I didn’t share a lot of it with most people that were around me. But every chance I got to talk about it briefly, especially if someone asked, I readily jumped on to the opportunity and played the blame game.
I blamed him for my pain.
I blamed him for his broken promises.
I blamed him for wasting my youth on our unhappy relationship.
I blamed him for not being happy.
I blamed him for the nights I cried in emotional agony every time we broke up.
I blamed him for my anxiety and depression.
I made myself sound like I was a martyr for years because of him.
It wasn’t until recently, as I analyzed my life again and again, a thought came to me:
“Stop blaming him. There is no excuse for his actions, but there is no excuse for yours either.”
And suddenly it hit me.
Most of our relationship I wasn’t the best girlfriend. I wasn’t willing to work things out, because I only saw everything my way and everything was supposed to be how I wanted it to be. I wasn’t sensitive to his needs or to his life even if at the time, I thought I was. I didn’t really try to understand him or what he was going through. In reality, I was very selfish.
No, it doesn’t excuse his part of the mess and his poor choices when it came to our relationship, but I was no angel either and I failed to acknowledge it.
So I made a decision, to stop the blame game. I took responsibility for my own life, my choices, my past, my decisions, my attitude and everything I contributed to my first, real relationship. I decided to forgive him completely, and also forgive myself for all of the pain I brought into my life, by my own actions and by my own choices.
Here is what I learned:
Life will suck sometimes, and people will hurt you. In the end, you have a choice to either play the victim and stay in misery, or take responsibility for your own life and consciously move forward, without getting caught up in all the bad things that happen to you.
By forgiving someone that hurt you, you don’t make an excuse for their part of your pain, and you don’t make it ok. Forgiveness is the beginning of healing.
We all make mistakes. Yes, that person hurt me, but I am no angel myself and have a lot to work on too. I’ve hurt others as well, even if it wasn’t in the same way that I was hurt.
By taking responsibility for your own actions, you free yourself. And there is so much power in that inner freedom.
Today, I am happily married to the man of my dreams, my loving husband Roy. I have not regrets, and I don’t look back. I choose to learn from my mistakes, make better choices moving forward and most importantly, close the door to the blame game every time it shows up.