Dear 17 Year Old Me, What Were You Thinking?

We are all guilty of it.. Dating someone we think we can fix.. But why? The story always ends the same: We end up wasting each other’s times and emotions, and leave the relationship feeling unsatisfied, insecure, and alone.
Do we do it because we don’t think we are good enough for someone great? Or maybe, just maybe, it’s because we need to fix ourselves..I realized I dated someone I was trying to fix because I needed to fix myself.
Rewind: 4 years ago
Mom used to tell me I needed to quit trying to fix people and work on myself first. I ignored her advice of course, because I was 17 and knew everything (so I thought) ..
Meet the latest “project.”
The bad boy. By bad I mean he didn’t  have a car, job, or phone. (Yummy). He was into partying, his motto was “f*** it, you only live once.” But I was in love with this bad boy. I saw hope in him. I thought by being with him I could help him become motivated about life, and want to be successful.
Over time he made baby steps. Slowly but surely he got a job, a car, and a phone. But then life happened, his party boy mentality got the best of him and he ended up with a DUI. Which meant no car, no job.. Back to square one.
Fast forward two years later: I decided to go to nursing school. So mom and dad helped me pick an apartment in Newark. However, little did they know, I was housing this bad boy with me. He was back to no car, no job, no phone. But no worries, I told people :  ” Stop being so judgmental, people make mistakes, and he promised hes changing his ways, so ill give him another chance.”
Plus, I had all those things he was lacking. I could help him..
I mean, I joined the military and worked as a waitress. I didnt care about paying all the bills. I didnt care that he left all the lights on, trashed my car, hardly picked up after himself.  I worked my butt off while he sat at home on the couch and drank beer and ran up my cable bill.
My parents weren’t dumb, but they didn’t know he stayed all the time. They didn’t know he practically lived there. He would take me to work and use my car, and do who knows what with who knows who. But I didnt care. I didn’t mind paying bills. I’ve never been materialistic.. Especially when I’m in “love.” But it was okay, he did the dishes, he cleaned,  and he loved me..  Right? Riiight…
First mistake:
1 Corinthians 15:33 Do not be deceived, bad company corrupts good morals.
Had I listened to this verse, and stopped trying to fix people, I could have saved myself a lot of time and heartache. But I was stubborn, we all are, aren’t we? I told my mom she was wrong. He wasnt going to bring me down, I was going to bring him up. After all she didn’t know him like I did..
I ignored other advice from loved ones as well, such as “You lay down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.” “You just wait,” I would say. He would change. After all he loved me.. He says things will be different, and I believe him. Well.. He didn’t change. He grew more dependent.
Time went by and I started feeling trapped in my own apartment. I started feeling like I was raising a child.Our relationship became toxic. I would get out of the shower and he would be going through my phone. Even demanded my Facebook password. I gave in because I knew he had insecurities from his past relationships.
What I didn’t know what this: When someone is so worried that you are cheating, and constantly needs to know your where abouts, who you talk to, what you’re doing, it’s not only unhealthy, but it is 95% because THEY are the one cheating, and are terrified you are doing what they are.
Long story short, four years later, lots of arguments, trust issues, and other draining situations, he didn’t change. And I wasted all that time trying to fix him, trying to believe in someone who didn’t believe in himself.
I finally grew enough courage and broke up with him on my birthday when he got me a promise ring. Mom was so happy she almost did a cart wheel. I was glad not fight with her anymore. She never once said “ I told you so.” But she was completely right.
Yes he had issues. But he was not the problem. I was. I needed to realize I couldnt fix someone. He needed to fix himself. He needed to believe in himself. He needed to want those things that I wanted for him. If he was going to change, it would be because HE wanted to. Maybe I could plant a seed in the back of his head and he will remember one day that I tried, but HE has to overcome his demons, im not the one who can do it.
I needed to have more confidence, and realize I could do better, I deserved better. There are so many girls out there that remind me of myself, and I hope a few of you read this and get out while you can. Yes it was extremely hard. Ask my best friend, and anyone that came to my birthday party. I cried all night like a baby, like my life was over. You would have thought my dog died, or something extreme. Nope just a break up, that I knew needed to happen.
Some people are not so lucky to get out of toxic relationships. They end up being blessed with a miracle, a precious baby. But the baby more than likely ends up with just a sperm donor, because his father is still out trying to find himself. Or some other woman that thinks she can change him.
I’m not saying I have regrets. I did not end up with child from my former toxic relationship, but I have friends who have. I hope they don’t have regrets either, because babies are a gift from God. Thats not what im getting at here.
I dont have regrets, I don’t wish I never met him, because at one point in my life, maybe he was exactly what I needed.
But the goal of writing this is that maybe someone will  read this and realize they deserve better. Get out while you can. Let him find himself and then come find you when hes actually ready to be in a relationship. Dont try and change someone like I did.
If you’re staying with him because you love his family. Just know that they love you too, and more than likely, and sadly, they  know you deserve better. Part of me stayed with my ex so long because I loved his mom. I feared she would never talk to me again if we broke up. But here’s a little secret: she’s still in my life, and more than likely will be for long time. She’s so supportive and always has been.
Yes it was a hurtful experience. But I look at each experience as a learning experiment and try and grow from it. I learned exactly what I don’t want in a relationship. More importantly, I learned what I do what.
I want an equal, a partner, a teammate. Not someone I need to fix and drag along through life, hoping they become motivated. I want the type of love described in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7:
” Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”
Love demonstrated with action. Not words.
We should all seek this type of love. But we become impatient and settle. One thing that has helped me is  keep in mind Jeremiah 29:11:
For I know the plans have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
We need to learn to be patient. Like my Grandma says: “He will find you when you are ready.”
My plan is to put God first, and let him worry about finding my other half. Maybe he is busy trying to make a life for us, who knows.
All I know is I’m not settling for anything less than 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 and neither should you.
P.S : Of course he compliments you, and promises to change, and makes you feel good, because he knows you’re great! Mom would always say: “He’s gonna guilt trip you because he doesn’t want to lose you, who would?
Momma’s always right. If you still have one, try taking her advice sometime.

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