Someone's always got to be the bad guy when the relationship ends

Someone wise once told me that in order to succeed in life, we need to embrace our failures and see them as stepping stones towards a greater understanding of our true character.

The mistakes we make along the way and the way we pick ourselves up defines us as human beings. It's all about trial and error.

The way we learn is essentially the way we are going to live, and the reality in life is that some people are better students than others.

While some people are just naturally gifted at getting things right the first time around, others require a more cautious, steadier approach. Step by step, fall by fall until we finally master the challenge at hand.   

But then you get those who never learn, the ones who find themselves stuck in a cycle of their own circumstance. Poor unfortunate souls who believe that life is one big revolving door, spinning round and round in circles with no break on the other side.

Instead of learning from their mistakes and taking responsibility in a healthy, mature manner, they bang head to wall over and over again until finally concussing themselves into a coma of their own wallowing pity and self-despair.

We've all been there at some point, and while most of us manage to pull ourselves up and out, there are those who fail to acknowledge the consequences of their own shitty choices and situations.    

Being thirty something and single for the first time in five years got me thinking about failed relationships and the things we do to avoid the inevitable feelings of pain, loss and failure. There's the name and shame game in which we blame our former lover for everything that's gone wrong in our lives including the wonderful relationship that you once shared

Let's face it...someone's always got to be the bad guy no matter how amicable the relationship ends. While that kind of behaviour may be tolerable when you're sweet and twenty, it sure as hell ain't cute and nothing short of fucked up when you're supposed to be a mature adult dealing with your own personal issues. 

Another personal favorite is avoidance. The classic art of jumping from one relationship to the next thinking that it'll miraculously heal the wounds of your broken heart without taking the time to reflect on what just happened.

The ones who sleep better at night convincing themselves that they're in love again when in actual fact they're petrified of facing the reality of loss.

Is it possible that we avoid reflection because of the horrifying truths and imagery that might stare back at us? Nobody really wants to admit defeat or take responsibility for failure. Everybody loves a winner, but are we really winning if we fail to acknowledge the fact that the problem could actually be you?  

There's nothing like a little time alone to reflect on the ghosts of relationships passed. Big, Steven, Jay and now Aiden. Each ex uniquely different from the next physically, mentally and emotionally.

Each one evoked a different kind of love and subsequently, a different kind of pain when they eventually ended. The only common thread amongst these three men (besides a dick between their legs) was a failed relationship with me and the set of standards and expectations they could never achieve.

Had I set each of these relationships up for failure without even knowing it? Had my incessant need to control and mold things into my own delusional reality of relationships ruined the joy and spontaneity of being in love? Was it really me all along?  

Looking back, I played the blame game exceptionally well. It was after all the human thing to do.

It was easier to blame Big because of his womanising ways and commitment phobia, or Steven because he just disappeared off the face of the planet, came back and then disappeared all over again. I really dodged a bullet with Jay, the compulsive liar with a drinking problem who wanted me to relocate to Rustenburg.

Had these men scarred me so badly that the only way I felt I could heal was to jump into the next best thing? Emotionally damaged men who needed the power of my love to heal instead of actually healing myself? 

Would I continue to follow the same patterns and make the same mistakes now that I'd had this daunting yet refreshing epiphany? Or would I finally see it as a lesson learned?

If you smoke 20 cigarettes a day, your lungs are going to turn black. If you eat a Big Mac meal for lunch every day, you're going to get morbidly obese. If you keep pushing someone you supposedly love into being something that suits your ideals and not theirs, you're going to lose them forever.

Instead of accepting the fact that we are all human beings bound to make mistakes along the way, we will never truly progress and succeed in love.  

When it comes to understanding our own flaws and weaknesses, I couldn't help but wonder, when will we ever learn?

For more, visit Manni Bradshaw’s blog and Facebook page.

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