I stayed in a situationship for way too long and here’s what I learnt

Genius is knowing when to walk away.

I stayed in a situationship for way too long and here’s what I learnt

As a 24-year-old, I like to think I've got a decent handle on the complicated dating lingos that exist today. But going back to when I was 19, my wisdom, in matters of the heart, was a little less polished. Back then, terms like "love bombing" and "cuffing" did not exist. Nor did "situationships". But nonetheless, I learn about it the hard way. 

At 19, I was a wide-eyed college student, utterly smitten by a handsome college senior who seemed to tick all the boxes for me (or so I thought, back then). So I dived in headfirst into an undefined romance. Our friendship tiptoed into something more, and I mistook it for love, not realising it was what we now call a "situationship". It may have gone on for too long, but looking back, it definitely taught me a few lessons. Knowing what I now know, here's everything I would tell my 19-year-old self about those blurry lines of romance.

There's a thin line between self-love and narcissism 

My partner was obsessed with his appearance and himself. Now don't get me wrong, self-love is crucial for a healthy relationship. However, his excessive self-focus veered into narcissism, and instead of uplifting me, it left me feeling overlooked and unappreciated. Moreover, he would deflect blame onto me and invalidate my feelings, which became increasingly draining over time. That's when I realised the emotional turmoil that comes from being with a narcissist. Understanding the difference between self-love and self-obsession was the first step towards reclaiming my self-worth and breaking free from the toxic cycle.

You can’t fix him 

My partner often blamed his inability to commit to his supposed "inability to accept love", citing unresolved daddy issues as the root cause. Naive as I was, I fell into the trap believing I could love him enough to mend his brokenness. In retrospect, I was living in a fantasy, akin to an Imtiaz Ali film where the manic pixie dream girl saves the man-child. But reality hit hard: no amount of love could change him. I learned the hard way that people aren't projects to be fixed; they're individuals responsible for their own growth and healing. 

Trust their actions, not their words 

He was good at weaving beautiful words that (momentarily) swept me off my feet. He'd shower me with compliments, calling me his "angel," only to vanish for days on end without a trace. Despite his inconsistent behaviour, I clung to his words, convincing myself that his words held more weight than his actions. But his actions spoke louder than his fleeting declarations of affection. And it took me far too long to realise that trust should be placed in actions, not empty words. 

Effort is a two-way street 

I grew up watching Bollywood films and believed that going all out for someone, without any expectations, was the truest form of love. I was the only one putting any effort into the "relationship" with no reciprocation or appreciation in return. In my mind, this was the noblest form of love. But the reality was that my efforts were met with indifference, which left me feeling unfulfilled. I realised that love is a two-way street and that giving endlessly without receiving anything in return does not make you virtuous; it just leaves you with a broken heart.

Their lack of interest does not define your worth 

In the throes of my situationship, there were days when his disregard left me feeling worthless and insecure. His casual approach to our relationship planted seeds of doubt, making me question whether I was simply unlovable and unworthy of commitment. It was a painful realisation that gnawed at my self-esteem for far too long. But with time I understood that his indifference was not a reflection of my worth, but rather a testament to his own shortcomings. It took nearly two years to grasp that I was the one who was out of his league, and not the other way around. 

Lead image credit: Netflix 

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