Life Lesson #1: Love Yourself First
Whether we like it or not, we all have to go through a long list of "firsts" in life: first kiss, first date, first "serious" relationship, first time you have sex, and the first serious breakup (which is never, ever, an easy thing to go through), to name a few. But being a feminist definitely made it easier for me to make a dreaded and life-altering first decision.
I had my first serious boyfriend right at the end of high school when I was 18. I was young, naive, sheltered, and completely confused about what I wanted in life. He was an amazing first boyfriend, though. He respected me, we were very compatible, and most importantly, he was always supportive of all the changes I went through (the best boyfriend a feminist could ask for).
I went through major life changes when I started university. My relationship with theatre (my life-long passion and university major) drastically changed for the better, my feminist identity became much stronger (and louder!), and I simply just started to grow up. However, some time during our time together, I no longer felt a strong connection to my boyfriend. I knew I had to end the relationship because I was no longer madly in love with him and I had the desperate need to be on my own and live my life with my new identity. I was a completely different person when we first got together.
It's been a month since I broke up with him and it hasn't been easy. At times I feel guilty because he was a great guy and an amazing boyfriend, and somehow I feel that I'm causing him suffering that he does not deserve. This is a major reason why many women don't have the courage to end a relationship. We feel that the person we share our life with does not deserve to be broken up with. As usual, women put someone else's happiness ahead of theirs because that is simply the way we are conditioned. Although I really do wish there was a way I could minimize his pain, I simply can't, and I cannot get back together with him for that reason either. I know too well that I am entitled to go out there and live my life and to meet new people and keep rediscovering myself in new ways.
My friends have praised me for my choice because I found the courage to end the relationship. I know that many of my friends and women in general have trouble finding this courage. Well here's my advice: this is your life and you have to do what's best for you. It is sad when a relationship comes to an end but just be thankful that you got the privilege to spend a part of your life with that person. And most importantly, you may think you're doing that person a favor by staying with them, but you are actually harming them just as much as you're harming yourself, because everyone deserves to be loved and be happy.
I'd like to end this post with a very wise quote from Sex and the City (I know this is kind of ironic because a lot of feminists dislike this show, but I personally think that this quote is amazing):
"I'm gonna say the one thing you aren't supposed to say. I love you...but I love me more." - Samantha Jones
Natalia also writes for her own blog
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