I was in a two year long relationship before my current one (well, 2.5 if you include the very dragged out 'break-up' process). The ending wasn't pretty at all - it was messy, complicated, frustrating and just a whole mush of things I wish I didn't have to go through.
I'm only remembering this past relationship because I can't stop comparing my current one to it (even though I know I shouldn't). After the break up, I spent a year trying to find myself, to stand on my own two feet, rediscover my interests, passions and the causes that empower me (i wanted to be Julia Roberts from eat-pray-love, minus the travelling to india because covid). I also read A LOT about relationships - from attachment styles to red flags, green flags, setting boundaries, love languages, you name it. And because of it, I had a crystal clear vision of the new relationship and partner that I wanted.
I don't know if it's manifestation, good karma, or whatever but I ended up finding that person at the start of 2021. I don't know if he's THE person yet, but for now, the relationship is everything I could have ever imagined it to be.
Since I can't seem to stop overthinking and just accept the good stuff for what it is, every time something great happens in this relationship, I find myself thinking about just how different and how much better it is compared to my previous one - whether its giving simple compliments, handling miscommunication constructively, buying thoughtful gifts for special occasions, not feeling like I need to prove myself, knowing that it's okay to say no, and just... the way things flow organically. Whilst it's great to relish and appreciate what I have now, I always wonder if I'm a 'bad person' for making these automatic comparisons.
The truth is, I still journal every day using the fountain pen my ex gave me (sorry not sorry - its just v nice). This morning, I thought - why is it that every time I think about this old relationship, it has to be in a negative light? Yes it may have ended badly - and maybe its natural for that to produce a strong lingering sensation of negative emotions. But was it really all that bad? I stayed in it for two years for a reason right? I don't ever doubt that there was a meaningful connection between us.
The more that I thought about it, the more I realised how distorted our (or maybe its just me) recollection of the past can be. When I tried to remember all the good times from that relationship, there were plenty of them. I just never gave them attention because I was too caught up on how 'bad' that relationship was and how 'good' this new one was. But isn't that sad? To label something that was such a big part of my life as 'bad'? And why am I being so dichotomous about it all?
The silver lining in all of this is that I also had the empowering realisation that I can choose to change the narrative of my past. I can actively choose to stop referring to my ex and the relationship with such UGH (disdain) and instead hold a more balanced perspective on it. I can choose to say that it was a good one; but that this one is even better. Heck, I don't even need to compare the two relationships to feel good.
Maybe there's a twisted part of me that wanted to narrate myself as someone who came out of a horrible relationship and stepped into a wonderful one (can you tell i love chic flicks). But thats just stupid. I'm going to choose to rewrite my own story.