What I Learned from a 9-Year Relationship with One Girl

It’s been a little less than 2 weeks since me and my ex-girlfriend broke up. Nothing special really happened after we parted our ways in my life, but this 2 weeks felt very long to me. I thought and wrote a lot about a lot of things either on this blog or my personal notebook. And the relationship with her and the lessons from that is one of them.

I met her in the last year of middle school as a classmate. We became boyfriend and girlfriend after about 2 months of back and forth text messaging without talking that much in person in school. Both of us were shy. But we were feeling the same. And fast-forwarding to today, now we’ve become 24. We are not together. We’ve tried really hard to make the relationship work, given up at times, separated, and gotten back together again and again.

During the process, I got to learn about my strengths and weaknesses. Especially weaknesses. I think there’s something in the long-time romantic relationship that teaches about ourselves, because there are not many opportunities in our lives where someone else pinpoints and wants our weaknesses to be fixed, hurting our egos. This kind of “scolding” has taught me which one is just a simple habit that I can get rid of, which one is just an ego thing that I just don’t want to change for no good reason since my identity is wrapped around it, or which one is the thing really in my bones, or in my core that I cannot change even though any women demand. Also I got to know which is my real strength, and which is not my strength that I thought it was, but it actually wasn’t. It’s basically grown the self-awareness that is probably the most important thing in life. Short-term meetings don’t provide this kind of nugget of wisdom, I think, since we don’t have the chance to grit though, be patient, hit rock bottom emotionally, and still try hard in that short period of time.

I also learned the dynamics of push and pull, yin and yang, masculine and feminine energy that inherently and inevitably comes from the love relationship. I am pretty good at putting my strengths and weaknesses into words that I got to learn from her, but not so good at this feminine and masculine characteristic things. Even though I cannot express explicitly well on this energy dynamics, I just have a sense of knowing on this and I was able to extract some lessons on how I should treat women.

So, these are 6 lessons as a man with masculinity that I should’ve done and should do in the future, based on the self-awareness and the masculine-feminine energies the were gained and felt.

First, take ownership of every problem in a relationship, even if it seems it’s her fault. Listen to her complaints, the faults of mine that come out of her mouth carefully and do something about them to show that I really listened to her. I may think it’s partially her fault which is true most of the time, but don’t mention her bad. I probably and even automatically think of her faults. But direct my attention towards mine. I can say what I want from her later in a loving way. Don’t react and just listen and take it like a man even when her words hurt my ego. Love is far more important than my pride or ego. Even if my bad is minuscule, focus on that small fault of mine, not hers. Small things are big things for women, I realized. In some cases, I might feel that it’s her fault 1000%. This is bullshit. Throw it away into the trash can. It’s rarely the case in a relationship between the 2 people. My ex really acted out irrationally at times, I must admit. I was really pissed off. But looking back on it, it was actually her trauma acting up because of my past behaviors that hurt and disappointed her deeply. I should’ve taken care of even her irrationalities in a responsible manner since they were there because of my faults in the past.

To be honest, I took the sightly nuanced version of this attitude that didn’t really work. I made myself believe ‘it’s all my fault’ whenever the problem came up.

First of all, ‘it’s all my fault’ is the wrong assumption which turns out to be dangerous and unhealthy. It’s rarely the case that just one person has done something wrong. It’s both. Me and her. Since I tried really hard forcing the untrue assumption down my throat, my sanity didn’t last long. In the end, I vomited out my complaints and her faults on her.

Second of all, since I believed ‘it’s all my fault’, I tried to change my core when she complains about me. My core shouldn’t change. I should’ve taken every problem like a man, which I kinda did, but I should’ve done it without believing the false ‘It’s all my fault’ assumption, which I didn’t do. This slight difference makes a world of difference I think.

By the way, complaining is annoying, but men must not complain about women’s complaining. We must take it like a man. We are allowed to punch in the faces of the men who complain, though. I always complained about her complaints. I deserve a fucking punch in my front teeth.

Second, dance to the rhythms and the beats of her emotions. What I mean by that is… when she is angry at someone, don’t say who is right and wrong, just get angry with her towards the same person. When she is giggly for no good reason, just throw stupid jokes at her like a clown to make her laugh even more. When she is sad, just be sad together, and be there for her.

When she wants to tap dance, go buy the dress shoes for the tap dancing. When she wants to breakdance, be willing to spin on your head even your scalp becomes bald. When she wants to dance classy with the classical music on with a guy wearing the tux, at least wear stylish and try dancing like a gentleman even if I am sucky at it.

What I did was the worst, I must admit. I asked her why she had so many emotional ups and downs. I tried to “stabilize” her emotional states, which never worked. It’s part of the femininity. I should’ve accepted it and danced to it even.

Third, counter the negatives of your masculinity with the feminine behaviors at times even if you have to put on an act. Do what girls do if it makes her happy.

I’ve spoken adult languages since I was far from an adult. I trash-talk for fun with my friends. 99% of my friends are just guys with the dicks. Sure, I don’t curse to my girl, but I tend to express things rather directly. Not just language, but also my mindset, attitude, life philosophies are rugged. I think and do the socially accepted manly things. But I should’ve countered those with the feminine sensitivity that a REAL man has.

My ex-girlfriend was jealous of my sister because of my brother-in-law all the time. My brother-in-law is a man with more of the sensitive side than me in my opinion. Handsome Korean movie stars came to my sister’s office to promote their movies. And she filmed a video with her phone, screaming at them with excitement. He got sulky because of it. My sister said to Mom that our dad wouldn’t respond like this ever. My dad wouldn’t really care if Mom did that. I agree with my sister. By the way, my sister thought it was cute of her husband to react that way.

And I told this story to my ex. She wanted me to act like that as well. I could’ve acted the way she wanted me to, even though it’s not natural to me. Who cares if a man does the things with the feminine energy in front of just one girl in the privacy of just two people in a romantic relationship? I wasn’t a real man to do that. I regret. A real man is willing to embarrass himself to make his woman happy. A man who does the manly things only is just a coward. I was a coward.

Fourth, write a loving letter when you want to demand something from her(but don’t do it often). This is allowed only when she is ready to accept. Men of course also have the complaints about his partners. Still, don’t say it when things are heated. Be patient and wait like an intelligent man. Write with the calm mind in a loving way.

My tendency when facing unfavorable situations is anger. I get angry. I have the fight in me. I am competitive. In my school years, 99% of the time, I was the fastest, strongest, most athletic guy in my class, even in the whole school on some sports. I hurt her emotionally on multiple occasions with masculinity mixed with immaturity. I pressured, threatened, and traumatized her with my masculine energy.

Be cautious. Remember men should change first to see the change in her. Men go in first and women accept it. As a result of that, women change accordingly. This is how physical sexuality works. It’s not just the physical. The sequence here is gentlemen first, not ladies.

Fifth, be honest and vulnerable when you mess up all of the above. The first lesson that I stated above is hard especially. It’s fucking hard to take ownership of myself and her both. My ego will act out at times if I am not careful. When, not if, I make a mistake of doing that, I should apologize with an honest and vulnerable attitude. She knows I am perfectly imperfect. For example, just say “I try really hard to own every problem we have myself. But this time I couldn’t take control of my anger which means it was immature of me to talk and act like that to you. I am sorry, I got ahold of myself right now. I am not gonna act like that, and I will listen to you carefully. Would you forgive me and keep saying what you were trying to say about me?”. Or in the situations where she is sulky because I didn’t dance to her emotions the other day, just say “It’s your emotions that mattered, not anything else. I should’ve said to you “A guy who pushed you to the side to grab a seat on the subway is such a jerk. I gonna kill him when I saw him do that to my girl.””

It’s totally fine to clean up my mess after I mess up.

Lastly, be healthy, sturdy, and strong for yourself FIRST to weather in the midst of the storm, called the femininity.

This principle is like the constitution and the rest above is like the sub laws.

I must exercise, sleep well. I must do my art. I must live accordingly with my life philosophies. Basically I should water the roots of my life with pride, not for myself, but for my partner. This core is not compromisable even though she wants to change this. When she does, I should express firmly and gently so that she can accept it with an open heart. If I get defensive about it at all, she will close her heart. I should know the art of telling a woman ‘this is not fixable’ gently and firmly without being defensive.

I should be like a sturdy and strong tree. My core, my root should be so strong that the relationship can be built on it reliably. It doesn’t ever change even though her femininity storms through my tree. I may break and trim off the branches of bad habits, throw away the leaves of ego. I maybe bend my trunk of my identity to dance with her hard emotions. My art, health, life philosophies are the roots. A woman sometimes says she doesn’t like my roots, but she hates even more to see a man compromise his roots for her. And she secretly loves about my stubbornness of my core. I should’ve told this firmly, lovingly, skillfully so that she didn’t feel forced to accept my way of life. I should’ve opened her heart to accept my core, not forcing her into thinking that this cannot be changed no matter how much she wanted it to be.

Going to the movies even though I hate sitting in a chair for 2 hours in front of a big screen is nothing to do with my core. But sacrificing my time for exercise, art, personal projects in order to make her happy momentarily is not sustainable and healthy for me and both ultimately, since this kind of sacrifice weakens my roots that our relationship grows upon.

This is it. There are more lessens or principles that I’ve thought about a lot, but I think these are the most important commandments at this moment I could extract from my pondering.

Actually, I declared that I was going to blog everyday a few days before we broke up. She didn’t know this blogging platform. But she signed up and followed me. Now she unfriended on Facebook, unfollowed on Instagram, unfollowed here as well. I don’t know if she will read this one in the future or not. I want her to know that I have woulda, coulda, shoulda. Full of regrets. Regrets are the hardest ones to live with. I am so sorry sincerely. I apologize. I didn’t know because I was deep in the mud. I couldn’t see clearly because of my unhealthy habits, ego, immaturity, lack of understanding of your beautiful, mysterious feminine energy, and lack of self-awareness.

I was going to put up the letter that I wrote to her a week ago to express my regrets and console her in a way and tell the URL by text message. But I decided not to do so, because I got to the conclusion that this letter would do more harm than good from her perspective. The letter would be liberating to me in a way for expressing my feelings, but not to her maybe, I thought.