Sunday Soul Searching: Little Things Can Have Big Meanings10:50 AM
Sometimes we don't appreciate the little things until one day we realize that those little things held a big meaning.
I dated P seven years ago. We were together for a year and even though it was a short relationship compared to my others, it is one I often reflect on because it changed my life.
It's one of those relationships that I look back on and always think of ways I could have saved it. I made a lot of mistakes, which partly led to our demise. That relationship taught me to never underestimate how a man can feel about me, even if he doesn't verbally say so. It's all about a person's actions. I'm the type of woman who wants to hear how a guy feels. P was a romantic but his gestures were subtle and sometimes, he was a quiet man who valued his space. So I didn't really notice his subtle gestures of love until now.
The grandest gesture that he did for me was one that went totally unnoticed until the day we broke up and by then, it was too late. For an entire year, he had always slept on the right side of the bed. I naturally thought that was the side of the bed he preferred, which was great for me since I always sleep on the left.
The last time I saw him, I noticed that his pillows were on the left side of the bed. So I asked him about it and he told me that he always sleeps on the left side. I was stunned. I then remembered the first time I spent the night at his place, that he asked me which side of the bed I slept on and never questioned it. He just took the right side.
Talk about a subtle gesture being a grand one.
Our breakup was the usual "He left me for another woman" story. There were already cracks in our relationship and she was someone who was his friend but secretly wanted him. She saw an opportunity to go for him and he cheated on me. He eventually ended up marrying her three years ago.
I don't feel sad about it because he deserves to be happy and honestly, we weren't a match at that time because we weren't on the same page. When I started dating him, my mistake was not accepting him for who he was at that moment. I constantly thought of ways I could change him and I tried to. And I think that emasculated him somewhat because I never let him be his own person. I always thought he was great but I could make him better. Big mistake.
Looking back, I think he had that knight in shining armor thing where he wanted to be able to save the girl. And I didn't need saving. I was accomplished, had my own money, was confident and independent. In his eyes, I think he felt I didn't need him.
I have since realized that we all have roles to play in a relationship and while, I am independent and strong, I have no problem letting a man do his role. Some may disagree with me on this and say I am sounding anti-feminist. But honestly, I believe in every relationship, each person has a role.
I also learned that you have to accept a person as they are in that very moment. We can't change anyone but ourselves.
I think of my parents and how I was raised. My dad was the head of the household who worked to support us. But when he came home, he gave his check to my mother, who was responsible for making sure that the bills were paid. My mom was the one who kept track of their bank account and balanced the checkbook. She also made sure our household was intact. She made sure it was clean and that we always had a meal to eat. When they went grocery shopping, she was the one who went inside and bought the food while my dad sat in the car and waited. That was her role. She was truly the head of the household but she had no problem letting my dad assume that title. Because she still felt like she was an important part of the household. But the key thing here is my dad felt needed. She had no problem letting him know that while she could handle the household, his place in the house was needed.
I never let P feel that I needed him. And that, I think, threw him for a loop because he didn't know his role in our relationship. I was so busy trying to change him, even down to the clothes he wore. I never gave him the opportunity to have the leading voice in our relationship. I'm not saying I excuse him for cheating because I don't. He should have come to me and discussed his feelings instead of sleeping with someone else. However, that was his choice to make. And I wish him well.
But he gave me the greatest gifts when he broke my heart. And boy, did he really break my heart. He taught me the importance of acceptance. He taught me that it's okay to need someone. He taught me that gestures of love don't have to be grand to be powerful. He taught me that being accountable for your actions and choices is the only way to grow and become a better person. He taught me how to be more fearless when it comes to love and not to waste a single moment.
Most importantly, he taught me to appreciate the little things. I appreciate the left side of the bed so much more now.