I'm sure all of you who have been in a break up (doesn't matter which side) understand that it's not an easy thing to go through. I have been through a few and in many ways, it actually helped me grow as a person.
Yes, I have been bitter about some of my breakups.
Yes, there are times where I feel guilty about various aspects in my past relationships.
Yes, I've even held a grudge or two against some of my exes.
Yes, I thought about being petty about the event (I didn't have the heart to go through with it though).
And yes, I've begun to realise that in each single one of those breakups, I have some degree of responsibility and I must own up to it.
Let's start with my first relationship, I was only 20 at the time, I've never thought about getting a girlfriend. All I cared about was my studies, my job and playing video games.
It wasn't until a friend of mine brought in his soon to be girlfriend and her friends into a board gaming store in the CBD of Sydney.
During that time, I've interacted with her friends like they were mine, teaching them how to play Magic the Gathering and Munchkins and just enjoying the night before having coffee with my friend and the ladies.
That's when one of those friends begun to have some sort of attraction towards me, little did I know (Yes I'm a blockhead).
My interaction with those girls have happened a few times over the next few weeks before my friend's now girlfriend told me one of them would like to come with me when I said I was going to go Ice-skating. I was a little confused by what she said, but agreed on the grounds that having company to do something I want to do is never a bad thing.
I enjoyed my time with the girl (she was 19) and she was quite affectionate with me, but me being me, simply dismissed it as if it was her character trait. She invited me to a board game night with her university friends and it was becoming clear she was very affectionate to me and me alone. Once I managed to pick up that signal, I asked her about it and the next thing we know, we were dating.
This was my first relationship, I was... uncertain about it at first and started to feel things I was alien to. I did care about her, at the time I would do anything for her. Was it love? I wasn't even sure but we did a lot of things together and eventually we both slept together.
It was about a year this relationship went on, however, things were becoming stale. To get to the point, she broke up with me.
Here is where I want to talk about how I felt and acted. I was very bitter and tried to get back together with her. But in the week I was being delusional, I realised that I was being unfair and petty so I apologised and cut her off from then on there. But I was desperate, I was infatuated with the idea of being in a relationship.
To me at the time, it was a social status that I frankly had an addiction to. I'm not proud of it, in fact looking back, I'm disgusted with myself.
You can guess what happened next, online dating was something I used, trying to talk with any girl that matched me etc. Tinder, Okcupid, you name it, I was probably there.
Eventually there was a girl that had interest in me, I was elated and immediately became infatuated with her. Note, this is in no way love or in a rational sense was I able to determine if we were a compliment to each other.
There wasn't much to talk about this relationship, we've dated quite a lot, slept a few times, but inside me, I felt empty about it. Eventually I was unhappy and the girl was very concerned and wanted to help.
Again, I realised how unfair I was to her, she liked me, she wanted to be with me but I couldn't reciprocate that feeling at the time. I broke up with her because I was not ready for a relationship and I was wasting her time. 6 months of wasting her time, that was a new low for me.
But I haven't learned my lesson, I continued dating, trying to remember what its like to be in a real relationship. Some of those were up to the boyfriend/girlfriend stage but it didn't take longer than a few months before it went down to 'better to be friends' kind of situation.
And now, my last relationship. Funnily enough, out of all of the relationships I had, she was my first dedicated friends with benefits. We had sex quite a lot, we played video games or watched anime together because it just happened that we had the same hobbies. Eventually we both developed feelings for each other and BOOM, relationship.
However, it became apparent to me that she was not what I was looking for. She had her own issues, very reminiscent to my first few relationships and needlessly to say, it strained me.
Eventually I couldn't take it and broke up with her, it greatly upset her and she just left from my life (which I understood). Funnily enough, even after all these breakups, not a single one of these women said they hated me or thought I was a bad person (now you can see why I called myself petty). At that point, I stopped actively looking for a relationship.
After being through a few, I now know that there is something in me I need to deal with. The relationships I've been in and the break-ups leading from that have taught me about myself more than I could've ever imagined. I sought to improve myself, wise up and interact with people more.
Looking back the past half decade or so, I realised that despite how terrible I was, these women have unknowingly taught me how to be a better person, I've still many ways to go.
Though I'm not in contact with any of them anymore, I thank them from the bottom of my heart, sure some of those breakups hurt me, but had that not happened, I may have stagnated long ago.
Am I ready to go dating? I would like to think I am, in my mindset, I sought to improve continuously, because at the end of the day, I need to know that when I see myself, I'm no longer a petty, bitter person, but a person that I can be damn proud of.