It sounds counterintuitive, but trust me on this. I used to be the girl who always tried to make my partner happy and my relationship work, only for them to fail every time.
I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong until I finally asked myself what the pattern was. I realized it was all because I cared. Once I stopped caring, here’s what I figured out.
I Focused Less On What They Needed
I used to spend entire relationships trying to be the best girlfriend I could possibly be, which meant desperately trying to figure out my partner’s needs and preferences.
When I stopped caring, I didn’t try to fit into boxes and mold myself into the person I thought would be good enough.
I Focused More On What I Wanted
When you stop focusing on someone who used to hold so much of your attention, your brain automatically looks for somewhere else to channel in all that energy.
I decided to put that on myself. I asked myself what it was that I wanted and started to look for the person that fit my standards, rather than constantly morphing to fit theirs.
I Stopped Putting Pressure On Them
Sometimes, I didn’t realize that the more love I tried to give, the more I pushed someone away. I put a lot of pressure on myself and on relationships to fit into ideals rather than trying to adapt to what they offered.
I stopped giving ultimatimatums and testing my partner to see if they would pass. I simply went with the flow to see where it would go.
I Stopped Living In The Future
I realized that I cared more about where my relationship was going next than where it was at the moment. I was living for the next thing as if that would make me happier, and I didn’t even stop to think if I was truly happy in the moment.
I would get to the future and still feel the same. When I stopped caring where I was headed, I finally learned to enjoy myself in the moment.
I Unpaused The Plans I Had On Hold
You dream big when you’re young, then you often feel full of regrets when you get older and realize you kept all those plans on the back burner. I spent too long caring about relationships and working around their schedules.
When I stopped caring, I finally had the time to actually act on them, and maybe travel and go back to school. It no longer mattered to me how doing so would affect my relationship.
I Imagined My Life Regardless Of Them
They call them a “partner” for a reason—they’re there to support you, not to be your whole reason for existence. They’re supposed to live your life with you, you’re not supposed to live for them. Once I finally realized this, I started to live life the way I wanted to, whether my partner would be in it or not.
I didn’t care to get approval and knew that I would never have reason to blame them for holding me back.
I Had More Time For My Friends
I stopped ditching my friends to prioritize dates and worrying that girls’ night would upset my boyfriend. With that, I stopped feeling guilty for being a bad friend and being afraid my friends would eventually feel fed up and leave me.
The time I had to bond with other meaningful connections made me a happier and a more whole person, which in turn made me a better partner.
I Stopped Caring If My Friends Approved
As much as I spent time with my friends, I stopped caring what they thought of my choices, my relationship, and my boyfriend. I stopped worrying about whether my boyfriend measured up to their expectations or if they thought I could do better.
I started to focus on what I wanted rather than care of what someone would think of it.
I Erased All Deadlines
Maybe part of me thought I’d be married at 25 and have kids by 30. Then 25 came and I definitely wasn’t married, and I realized I didn’t care about that.
I stopped expecting my boyfriend to meet my family by month three and rush to move in by year one, and instead just moved at whatever pace felt comfortable
I Had More Energy
The less energy I spent analyzing and overthinking every aspect of my relationship, the more energy I had in general, quite literally.
I stopped keeping myself up at night wondering what exactly my boyfriend meant when he said he was feeling confused, and I was able to wake up earlier to meditate, do yoga, journal, and buy a latte all before 9 a.m.
I Stopped Feeling Jealousy
It wasn’t just jealousy of other girls he’d talk to—which I couldn’t help myself from feeling because I cared so much that I couldn’t imagine losing my boyfriend to someone else. It was also being jealous of other couples, anyone who seemed happier or more in love or further along in their relationship.
Then, I didn’t care what others did in comparison to me as l realized it was out of my control anyway.
I Worked On My Own Healing
Who doesn’t have daddy issues these days? But seriously, when I cared so much about someone else and something else, I would forget to take care of myself in between.
Taking caring out of the equation gave me the space to ask myself why I was caring so much in the first place. Was I simply afraid of being abandoned?
I Made Them Realize They Could Lose Me
I no longer tried to cater to others and give so much that I felt drained. They were able to see for themselves that I knew what I wanted, and either they could join for the ride or they could watch.
This meant that if the relationship didn’t have equal and give and take, I would simply continue on my journey without them.
I Became Closer To Their Family
You can’t hide much of a man’s mother. Some of them have an almost annoyingly close bond and share much more than I’d even feel comfortable with.
At the same time, this gives their mother the ability to feel out your genuine intentions. When his family felt that I was in it for the right reasons, they trusted me with their son and respected me. They welcomed me in and I gained a second family.
I Stopped Comparing Him To My Exes
I stopped measuring my current relationship’s success by weighing if it was better than the ones I had with my exes. I realized that didn’t matter.
One person’s mistakes shouldn’t be projected on another, not to mention that there are infinite possibilities for how my new boyfriend could mess up in his own creative way.
I Found Myself Before I Found Love
All these points led back to one thing. The less I cared about a relationship, the more it worked out. The real reason why is that it takes two people to make a relationship work, except you’re only in control of one of them.
When you care too much, you try to control the other person too, and the many variables that go into a relationship. When you only focus on yourself, you work on being a better partner, and things tend to fall into place.
My Boyfriend And I Broke Up
So where did all these realizations lead? Ironically, they led to a breakup. Hear me out, though. Sometimes things need to get worse before they get better.
If you cared so much about someone else that you lost yourself like me, then you need to be away from them to remember who you are and what you want.
I Went On Other Dates
I learned what it was I was looking for in the first place. I no longer stayed with someone simply because it was comfortable, forgetting what brought me to them in the first place.
Going on dates with other men reminded me what it was that I liked, needed, and looked for.
My Boyfriend And I Got Back Together
In my case, when I relearned what my checklist and standards were, I realized what it was that I was looking for. I realized that my boyfriend fit those criteria all along, but because of the toxic foundation we had built, they had been forgotten and replaced.
It became clear why we hadn’t worked out in the first place. I wasn’t myself and tried too hard. I cared too much. Now that I was sure of myself, I was also sure of him.
I Inspired My Boyfriend To Grow
The time that my boyfriend and I broke our codependency allowed us to rebuild our own routines, ones that aligned with our preferred lifestyles. My boyfriend was no longer able to rely on and depend on me, and he had to figure out how to move forward on his own.
By the time he came back to me, the dynamics had been reset, and we could finally move forward as equals.