Tuesday, October 20, 2015

That Time I Tried To Love, But Lost!

During my time at Cairo Scene my expat experience in Egypt was the subject of many of the articles I wrote, and my recent experience of ending a relationship with an Egyptian man would have been a welcomed addition to that series. Since I have absolutely no bad blood towards the incident now I don't have to add to the rather mean-ish ways I had in the past of portraying my intercultural love as a ridiculous, bad idea, and today only look back to how hard it has actually been to end it for me although, everybody agrees, it was a nightmare. This week, I came clear to almost everyone in my life about just how painful this experience has been and I shockingly found out that almost every expat lady has had a similar experience. Before, even though that is pathetic of me, I didn't feel I could even write about it to prevent anyone from knowing what I allowed to happen to myself. But I finally can now...

I spent a lot of time researching Hillary Clinton this weekend and came to find out that after a life like hers most people still see her as a person defined by the Lewinsky affair. Bill had done her wrong, but she decided not to leave him despite people expecting her to. What I really saw, however, was a pivotal moment in her life where she made the choice to sacrifice some of her pride publicly in order to maintain a life with the person she loves, no matter how painful that was. I made similar choices in the last few months. I fell in love with a person that required me to forget about my ego, my pride and, in the end, my own personal happiness in order to feed his, and although this sounds like a horrible experience I was happy to do it. For a person who has taught me how to feel love I was willing to do anything to make him never forget that I also loved him. Unlike Bill, the receiver of my sacrifice chose not to appreciate it, yet, make me feel dumber and dumber about doing it.

To love somebody who is not right for you is almost worse than unrequited love. I knew until the last day I was loved back but knowing is very inferior to feeling something. A lack of love was never a problem for me and my Egyptian boyfriend. A relationship ends, but the love doesn't. And knowing that something is a bad idea, doesn't have a future or will make you sick just doesn't matter when you love. And I did. And then, knowing that in actuality you are loved back but it doesn't work anyways is very, very painful. I hoped that love would be enough but everybody knows it's not. I knew I was never getting rejected but he tried very hard to make me feel like I was. For the numerous times I had hurt his feelings I felt like I was being taught a lesson. The treatment was bad, and I took it because I told myself "but he loves me!" Not a single person I spoke to accepted me, a pretty strong-minded person, to be this victim-like dumbo. But I chose to be just that for a very long time.

Now one may claim it is not beneficial to be with a person that criticizes often and compliments never. One may claim that a person that doesn't appreciate you and wants to change everything about you isn't worthy of you. And one may claim that once a relationship has become toxic both parties should just accept defeat and move on. Obviously, I know that! But if there's love, there's no such thing as the rational decision. I've known for a long time I should not allow someone to treat me badly even if he also treated me better than anybody before once and I still didn't have the strength to say "suck it!" and walk away from him. I thought I was going to be Hillary and accept kicks and beats if that means I get to be there for the person I love in a time of trouble. I thought of it as merely a bad time, until it became obvious that the good time wasn't coming back anymore. Eventually, and thankfully, I realized that for the good times to return a relationship needs two fighters, and not just one, and I was the only one.

I still struggle with the end of my relationship which, despite numerous attempts to try again, ended in May already. With each time I signalized to my ex that I still care about him he became more powerful and milked that fact to the last drop. The only way to fix it, unfortunately, was to force myself to completely stop caring. Evidently, I'm still not there but I will finally try. I had to accept that this power struggle had gotten out of hand, with me as the loser, and walking was the only viable option. I'm thankful for the memories but they have lost the ability to motivate my actions in the present. I knew that the days where he appreciated me would never come back, so why would I still try? And, finally, there is a very big lesson I learned from all this: when everybody you know shares an opinion about what you should do, they're probably right! It took me a while but I finally listened to the omnipresent advice everyone I know gave me and walked away, and it's so much better for everybody. 

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