Dear Little Sister
I’ve been wanting to write this for a while now, because you’re at an age where I had made too many mistakes to keep track of. I had just moved out of home, moved 1000km south to a big city where I knew 2 people, I was dating my high school boyfriend of 3 almost 4 years. I went through some dark days, when I was your age and I wish someone had been there to guide me through.
I think I’ll write a series of letters addressing what I was experiencing at your age compared to what I have learnt 8 years down the track, but to start off with, lets talk about love.
When I was 18, love was broken to me. I had just ended my relationship with my high school sweetheart after only living together for 3 weeks. I then made a series of mistakes involving his best friend, which to this day, I completely and utterly regret and wish beyond many other things, that I could take my actions back. I then met an amazing guy on the night of my 18th birthday; he was musician, he was in corporate banking, he was covered in tattoos and his birthday was 2 days before mine.
I was in love from the moment I met him, or so I thought. I then persisted by calling him everytime I was drunk and singing to him on the phone and telling him how amazing he was. Safe to say, he ran away pretty effing quickly.
After that, I loved attention so much because I had only had the same guy in my life for 3/4 years, that I hate to admit I became promiscuous in a bad way. I drank too much, partied too much, slept with whoever I felt like and treated myself quite poorly.
At the time, I knew it was wrong, what I was doing and how I was treating myself, but I didn’t really understand when to stop or when to call it quits. I kept spiraling down this horrible path and ended up in hospital for alcohol poisoning or suicide attempts at least 8 times within that year… I wasn’t someone who valued themselves or what I had to offer.
I stand now at the age of (almost) 26, and wonder what I have learnt. I definitely don’t party anywhere near as much as I used to (hell you’ll be lucky if you get me in a club once every 2 months). I’m not promiscuous in any sense of the word, and more importantly I have learnt to cope with my manic depression so much better than I ever thought I could.
But what have I learnt about love?
Good question and it’s a question I will always, ALWAYS reflect on with every year or milestone or relationship.
I suppose if I had to figure out the three main things I have learnt about love in that time they would be…
1. We Accept the Love We Think We Deserve – Until We Realise We Deserve Better
The amount of times I’ve called our stepmum bawling my eyes out because I’ve finally just had enough of accepting the bare minimum in a relationship, is overwhelming. I sometimes wonder if I have in fact learnt anything from all my previous heartbreak, or if I will continuously make the same mistake, as it seems at the moment.
I have thought about this in depth alot particularly in the past 24 hours, and one thing I can’t shake from my head, is that when women stop putting in the effort they usually do and start putting in the same amount of effort their partner does, thats when you can really see the truth behind a relationship. Either you are compatible because the amount of effort is agreeable by both parties, or you will realise that you actually need someone who WANTS to date you and who WANTS to spoil you.
If you are dating someone where if you don’t make plans, book dates, schedule time in to spend together, then you would have a pretty effing boring relationship – you need to wake up to yourself and really question whether this person wants you as a ‘friend with benefits’ or a ‘life partner’.
I really have taken a step back lately, because I in fact just realised this myself. I realised I was bored and had nothing to look forward to in my relationship, because I stopped planning and I took a step back from putting effort in. I had no dates to look forward to, no travel plans to look forward to, no weekend escapes to look forward to… and you know for once I didn’t want to ‘fix this’ myself. I wanted my partner… my ‘equal’… to actually put effort in and PROVE he wanted to be with me…
Which brings me to my next point…
2. Talk Is Cheap
Talking things through with your partner or lover or friend or WHOEVER is so important when you want to ensure you’re on the same page. BUT and this is a Kim Kardashian but… do not let continuous promises of ‘fixing’ or ‘getting better’ fool you.
If someone values what you have to say, sees that there needs to be improvements and understands that you are a special commodity that might be lost at any moment, they will WORK and let their actions speak more than their words.
When someone continuously over promises and under delivers, if they deliver at all, maybe it’s time to leave.
As much as your heart and your time and your head might be invested in this person, if they can’t prove their integrity to you or keep their word now – what makes you think they ever will change? Sure give them some chances… but if it’s an issue which CONTINUOUSLY is brought up and you are continuously having to explain why you feel like you’re in a one sided relationship, take a step back and actually analyse if they are in fact changing or sticking to anything they say, or if they are just using words for a quick fix, hoping you’ll forget.
A person who truly values another person, will do what it takes (within means) to keep that person. A person who places little value in another person, will watch them struggle and get upset and KNOW they can fix it with a bit of effort, but will fail to do so.
Ask yourself, are you a ‘friend’ or a ‘girlfriend’? Because as much as I hate the ‘needy’ girlfriend stereotype, the truth is, it was created by society to make women feel guilty for wanting to be treated with a bit more respect and love and appreciation than the postman. There is nothing wrong with wanting a man who says he loves you, to prove it.
3. Learn From Your Parents Mistakes
This has been the hardest lesson for me to learn and one I still struggle with on a daily basis. Obviously our mother was not a nice person to our father, that’s not debatable. BUT moving forward, as much as I love our dad, I acknowledge that the way he has treated his ex girlfriends and even our beautiful stepmum, is not up to scratch.
I am not abusive like our mother and never have been. But do I expect the man to put in little to no effort in a relationship, because that’s why I’ve learnt from our father – yes… god damn yes.
The amount of times I’ve hugged our beautiful stepmum and wanted to just take her away from our dad because I knew she deserved to be treated better, she deserved someone who put in effort and paid attention to her was overwhelming. Yet I seem to continuously date men who are just like our father because I have somehow accepted this as the norm.
I realised the extent of this last night, when I was talking to one of my best friends and she has the same issue. Her mum was always the one cooking and cleaning and catering to her fathers every need. Her father was non-existant when he was home, not putting any effort in with the family and then never spoilt the mother or showed appreciation for her hard work. So naturally her first marriage was a spitting image of this – her being the perfect little housewife, without a bar of appreciation.
It is such a shit and hard thing to understand that you don’t have to be the ‘nice girl’ or the ‘always available girl’ or the ‘cool girl’. Fuck me, I have continuously been ALL of these things in every relationship (besides maybe my first), and you know who always gets hurt in the end – ME!
Why? Because I never EVER expect the man to be the equivalent of what I am. Society makes out like we have to be these strong independent women, who are great in bed, cool with your man partying with his single friends, leave the house always looking runway ready, keep a clean house and a happy family and earn an income. What does society expect of the man? …
Have a job… and don’t cheat…
That’s why the term ‘pussy-whipped’ was coined. Because if a male starts putting in the same amount of effort as a woman, he is clearly dominated by her and is a weakling.
Well no… fuck no… why is there not a term for when a women is putting every last bit of her energy in for a man, but if a man takes his woman on date instead of partying with the boys, he is ‘pussywhipped’.
the most important lesson in all of this, is know what you want and don’t let someone give you any less or make you feel like an idiot for having high expectations….
Because you know what, regardless of who you are, you deserve an equal, not a lesser being or someone who just doesn’t get what is standing right in front of them. A man or woman who sees your worth is out there, and they will come along sooner or later… but the person who makes you feel like shit because you want commitment, you want to know what your future together holds, and you want to know they love you beyond just a text message, is not someone you want in your life for the long term.
Remember I love and adore you, always.
Your ugly big sister xo