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I dated a woman from Cork about 11 Years ago, as a Cork girl, she was very different from me, which I loved.
She was big into drinking and partying but at the same time she was laid back; I was uptight, anxious, and worried about the future.
Whenever I’d visit Cork to see her, a soothing sensation of calm would wash over me as I felt ever-more at peace the closer I got to the hotel.
Spending time with her never felt like a chore or an obligation; I was never concerned about the compatibility factor as in when we’d do together. To be honest I just wanted to be close to her.
Being around her felt like being transported out of my normal life and placed into a different reality where everything seemed less hectic, less rushed, and less overwhelming.
It’s hard to explain, but I felt like I could just be myself whenever I was with her. Simple outings, like going for breakfast, took on more meaning than they normally did, as did everyday things like spending time outside while walking on the payments.
I remember one evening while I was teaching her how to drive, sitting in the passenger’s seat, I kept reflecting on how grateful I was to be seeing the trees pass me by, enjoying the late evening, and looking forward to the dinner we were about to have together.
Still, dating her was quite painful at times because we both knew we were from different counties.
I chose to ignore that reality, basking in our relationship as if things would change and they did, only for the worst.
It was a bank holiday weekend when I decide to go visit her in Cork, we were meant to go out that night but before we could do that things came to an end, we got into a huge argument over, what exactly? I couldn’t recall!
I was heartbroken, but I didn’t hold any ill will towards her because, truly, she hadn’t done a single spiteful or unkind thing towards me the entire time we had dated.
What I do remember, however, is the simple yet powerful advice she gave me after the fight was over.
Eleven years later, I still find myself thinking about what she said to me that night.
#SO WHAT HAPPENED?
At one point during our fight, I threatened to go back to Dublin by packing my stuff, turning my back on her, and driving home in the middle of the night.
It was fucked up selfish and childish attempt to hurt her.
I didn’t end up leaving though, we did talk things over, made up, and went to sleep.
But before going to sleep, however, she made sure that I was awake and then she said:
“Please don’t ever walk out on me.”
There was a “noticeable grudge and anger” in her voice.
She certainly did not mean, “Please don’t ever walk out on me”, as in, “Please don’t ever leave or abandon me because I need you and I love you.”
Instead, she was issuing a “stern warning” to me, something she wanted me to remember from that night onwards.
She meant: “Don’t ever leave and walk out on your girlfriend in the middle of a fight. That’s the worst thing you could possibly do in a fight and it’s never the right choice.”
The next morning we woke up next to one another, but I could sense that my threats hurt her and things between us weren’t the way they were before the argument.
We went out for lunch later that afternoon and while we sat there waiting for it to arrive she said:
“You know if you had left me last night, I don’t know if I would have chased after you.”
After all that length of time, to this day I still feel a weird mix of emotions, fear, uncertainty, confusion, betrayal when I reflect on the meaning and implications of her statement.
“Not only had she called my bluff, but she had also admitted that our relationship wasn’t important enough for her to fight for it.”
FUCK! Okay, that’s my big ego doing the talking.
Putting my ego aside, what my ex was saying was that she wasn’t willing to chase after a man who was willing to walk out on her whenever they had a row and things became “a little difficult” to deal with.
So, ladies and gentlemen, I couldn’t fault her for that, could I?
That was our last lunch date, I knew our relationship was never going to be the same, so eventually, I decided to let go of her as I moved on with my life.
#ADVICE WELL PERCEIVED!
Fast forward a few years, I got into an argument with this new woman I was dating at the time.
We had been in an “on-again-off-again” relationship for months, and things were taking a turn for the worst.
We have all been in that situation at some point in our lives and I can tell you that situation isn’t good for anyone to find themselves in.
As being human, after losing all my patience and getting really frustrated, I walked out on my partner.
But… I did manage to go back.
Nevertheless, those words from my previous relationship“Don’t ever leave” were ringing loud and clear in my head, and I knew I had no choice but to set aside my ego and go do the right thing by working through our problems and not giving up on our relationship.
So after driving up in Patrick street and calming myself down, I swallowed my pride and texted my girlfriend, “If I come back, are you willing to talk things through?”
“Yes, I Promise”, she said.
That was the answer I needed to drive back to her place.
When I arrived, it was evidently clear that she had been crying her eyes out.
We genuinely apologised to one other. Then started a grueling process of laying all of our cards out on the table, finally saying the things to each other that needed to be said.
The fact of the matter is, we forgave each other and then came up with a plan to improve our relationship onward.
Here’s the real zinger, just over 6 months later, we broke up and this time for good, there’s no doubt in my mind today that it was the right decision for both of us.
Thinking back of that night, though, when I forced myself to go back to her place, to not repeat the mistakes of my past, and to act like the mature adult she deserved, I did it because of the “advice” my previous girlfriend had given me years earlier.
I’m not entirely sure if you can learn any lesson from my story because love is “difficult, messy, complicated, and thorny,” just when you think you got it all figured out you discover it has more moving parts than a Swiss watch.
Still, this is my story I felt I needed to share, probably as a reminder to myself of my own flaws and of the appreciation I feel I should have for the women who have taught me how to be a better partner to my significant other.
During all that length of time, my dating experience has lead me to believe “We don’t always get the opportunity in our lives to apply the lessons we learn from those who taught them to us in the first place.”
This is the price we pay in order to understand our selves better to become a version of us we know we should be.
We often make empty threats in relationships as a way to gauge test others while assuring ourselves that they need us.
Deep down, we’re all scared that a fight with a girlfriend or a boyfriend is indeed but not always a sign that things are coming to an end.
In such situations, it’s always better to make yourself vulnerable by openly expressing your fears than trying to act hard and tough.
I do acknowledge the irony in suggesting this, considering my own story I’ve just told you.
This is nothing more than just a warning to myself, a reminder for my own self to be more mature, patient while being less vindictive and selfish.