dating + love

Relationship Do-Overs?

August 30, 2010

Ok, boo, let’s try this one mo’ ‘gin, from the top…

The hardest part about breaking up with a lover is, well, breaking. Not everyone can be like Mariah Carey–where when they break, they break. Lots of time, energy, emotions, compromise and [often times] money is invested into building a relationship. So, understandably, when a romantic relationship has run its course it’s not always easy to make a clean break from that person (as in leaving them the hell alone) in whom you’ve invested so much of yourself and your resources. In many cases, breaking from a person and the relationship you shared also requires you to break from the residual parts of you that got tangled in the web of love/like/lust.

It seems that relationships that are negative, unpleasant and doomed to fail would be the easiest to break from. If the state of the relationship has more cons than pros, ending it and moving on seems the most logical thing to do. Right? Not so much. I know countless people (myself included) who have been in relationships that weren’t worth the effort put into them who struggled in breaking away from the relationship and the other person involved. Again, just like healthy and happy relationships, major investments are made into relationships that are unhealthy and unhappy. While some people may enjoy the thrill of drama and chaos that often surrounds toxic relationships, there are also people who want their bad relationships to be good ones, and try their damnedest to turn them around and make them better. I dare say that unhealthy, dysfunctional relationships are likely the result of a one-sided partnership, where one person in the relationship wants to better the relationship, while the other denies any need for change. Healthy, successful relationships are the result of both parties willing to work at maintaining a solid foundation to grow and mature the relationship. When one person isn’t in it to win it, that’s when things become damaged and in need of rescue.

I’ve had my share of relationships where I felt like I was the only one putting in work, compromising, and making personality adjustments. And in these cases, I wasn’t quick to give up on the relationships, and figured Mr. Right Then needed a little more time to realize the good thing he had. Once I show him how wonderful I am and how willing I am to be everything he needs in girlfriend, he’ll be willing to put in the effort to keep me. Sometimes these thoughts were complemented by empty promises from Mr. Right Then assuring me that he, too, wanted what was best for the relationship and would change the things that caused the rifts between us. Because the truth was, the changes were only temporary, and then we were back to square one with the same ol problems. Sometimes I was even met with stringent claims that I was the one with all the problems, and I was the one who needed the work–while Mr. Right Then maintained that his only faults were a direct result of my stubbornness and selfishness. (o_O) Yep, your girl Gemmie has been there and allowed such things to take place *smh*

Just when I got tired of carrying the burden of sustaining the relationship on my own, just when the hurt and disappointment became unbearable, just when I was done being with some one with whom I had no positive future, just when I was ready to make my break and find some one else who’d appreciate what I had to offer, I’d be hit with the words, “Let’s start over.” *record scratch* Start over?! Why start over when multiple opportunities to fix this current relationship were wasted? What can a fresh start bring that wasn’t already in this relationship that will compel you to do better? What makes a new start different from the first one? Why did you have to be on the brink of losing me to decide to change?

While these questions draw attention to the absurdity of the idea that bad relationships just need to hit the reset button to reach good relationship status, I can’t help but wonder “Is starting over a valid option?” If a person in a relationship has consistently managed to eff it up and not be one to compromise, is it possible for them to have a so-called do-over that will allow them to change and contribute to building a healthy and positive relationship? More importantly, is it worth taking the risk of more investment of time, energy, and emotion to see if that change does come? What if the person actually start to show improvement and a renewed effort that looks like the very change the relationship needed?

I honestly don’t know. As much as I’ve wanted to cut my losses, tell the shady dudes “up out my face boy”, and move on to the next, it’s not always done so easy since I’ve been so tied to my investments and being comfortable in the known–even as unfortunate as that known may be. I’ve never really given relationship do-overs a try. Second chances? Yes, too damn many in fact. But the idea of starting fresh, virtually erasing the past and having a new beginning? No. Yet, every so often I find myself confronting a another broken relationship I [ironically] haven’t completely broken from, exploring the possibilities of what hitting the reset button could do. And where it might lead.

Searching for wings to confidently fly solo,
~Gemmie Bird

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  • Reply MsEsquire77 August 30, 2010 at 11:18 am

    I'm all about forgiveness and second chances but at some point you have to look at your relationship and have a come to Jesus moment. When someone shows you who they are you have to believe them. If their words and actions don't match then its time to go.I've been perpetually single for most of my adult life so I know what loneliness feels like but I refuse to be in a relationship just to keep my bed warm. Being in a couple and feeling alone is much worse and not worth my time.

  • Reply Tunde August 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    great post. that's all i can say. reset button? if only that was a real thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply Sukez August 30, 2010 at 11:13 pm

    I've started over about 4 times with one person over a 3.5 year span and each "reset" was painful. Like Twit Ma said, I had to have a come to Jesus moment, realize this was NOT for me and DO MY BEST to move on with my life. I loved hard with this one and often felt like it was reciprocated and the same kind of love coming from him. Felt like I was doing ALL THE WORK and I expressed this to him. He never agreed until I left. But ehh, it's whatever. He started to change once I left. Unfair and I couldn't fall for that. My heart needed time. *hugs Gemmie* (oh and forgive me for not keeping up with the blog. I've been a bad girl)

  • Reply thatdamnafrican August 31, 2010 at 4:00 am

    Complete do-over? Don't think I've ever done it before. Second chances? Yes, but not do-overs. Can't see how it could work either. Can you really forget your past? Erase everything you both went through together? Have a true clean slate? Possibly, but not likely. Although people can and do learn and change for the better after a failed relationship, I believe that the change that occurs is unfortunately meant for the next person to enjoy. I've had a lot of moments of wanting to go back to what was comfortable cause that's human nature, but it has NEVER been the best choice for me.

  • Reply Gem of the Ocean September 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    @msesquire77"If their words and actions don't match then its time to go."–but what if they do start to match? is it worth another go round? i definitely agree with this–>>"Being in a couple and feeling alone is much worse and not worth my time."@tunde thanks ๐Ÿ™‚ @sukezyeah, ppl always seem to realize the good thing they had when its too late, and that thing has left the building. and in almost all cases, its for the best. *hugs back* i can def say the same about keeping up with you and others but no love lost! :)@thatdamnafricani completely agree–most "do-overs" are meant to be used on the next person. i told this to my college bf when we finally stopped doing the "we're broken up but still actin like we're together" song and dance. he was a great guy, but he'd made one too many missteps with me and i just couldnt get over all the hurt he'd brought me. i just hope things worked out with the next girl

  • Reply A Case of the Ex « That's What GEM Said July 20, 2011 at 1:59 am

    […] changed and why I should reconsider his offer of love and affection. The question of “can we start over?” is inevitably asked, and for a second I give it a thought. For a second I consider how […]

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