When I was 21 years old, I discovered something that would change my life: Sex in the City. Not like actual sex in the actual city, but the TV show. I understand that this isn’t really a good Christian show and many of you are possibly judging me right now, but I never claimed to be a good Christian, so….
Sex in the City makes me feel good about my life. Why? It promotes strong, lady-driven friendship. It makes me feel better about getting dumped. It makes me feel okay about being a sexual being. Calm down, again, Christians. Not sexual like I’m working the pole on the weekends. Sexual like I am a woman who was created BY GOD with needs. There’s nothing shameful about that.
I remember this episode of SITC that change my life forever. Samantha (my fave because she is bold and fearless and sassy as haillll), was dating a FOINE male model, and she realized that she just didn’t see herself with him anymore.
In the natural, the breakup made no sense. They loved each other. They worked well together. They were equals. He provided for her. She provided for him. (Because it’s okay for a woman to provide for a man…did you know that?!) There was no reason for her to dump him, other than the reason that she knew it wasn’t right. So, she sat him down and she said, “I love you, but I love me more.” I think I rewound that like 12 times, and I just listened.
I had never in my life, as a young, insecure woman, realized that I could love myself as much as I loved the man that I was with. I never considered ending it with a guy simply because his love wasn’t the kind of love that I needed. I never knew that was an option.
It seems silly, doesn’t it, that I didn’t know that was an option. I don’t know when and by who, but somewhere along the line I was taught that you only break up with people for really, really specific reasons. And, if you don’t have a reason to not end it, you don’t. Why? Because you’re lucky to have a man who isn’t cheating or on drugs or who has frosted tips. So we stick around, basically because “It’s not awful.”
This might be a bold statement, but sometimes I feel like an awful relationship is easier to end than a nothing-is-wrong mediocre one.
Ending an awful relationship is clear cut. Awful is easy to spot and you know what you have to do. Awful makes tough decisions simple. But not mediocre. Ending a mediocre relationship is confusing and frustrating and makes you feel selfish and needy and demanding.
Awful makes you feel like a Lemonade-empowered Beyonce smashing people’s car windows with baseball bats. Mediocre makes you feel like that third girl in Destiny’s child that nobody actually knows her name, but we all know she was there.
For the first time, sitting on the floor indian style, no doubt eating funfetti frosting because I definitely went through a funfetti-for-dinner phase (Don’t lie. We all have), I realized that my needs, my desires, and my wants must be met, and if they’re not being met, it’s okay to walk away. It doesn’t make me stupid or ungrateful. It makes me smart.
There was this guy that I was talking to. We’ll call him Chris. Chris and I started chatting, and I was smitten. He was so good at flirting. Like, ladies…so good at flirting. I fell for him quickly and hard. One day, I was doing what all of us do: stalking him on social media. It was 1am, which is prime social media stalking time because you’re laying in bed and it’s that or watching videos of puppies on facebook. It seemed like a natural choice.
I found him online, and I see a girl on his page. And in her profile picture was him. Sitting with her. Looking very much not like a brother or a cousin or a coworker or a stranger. He was looking close. Cloooooose. I didn’t want to jump to any conclusions, as I would normally have let my mind wander to the idea that he had a secret family in Norway and his name wasn’t even Chris and he probably lied about loving hockey.
So instead of doing all of that, I decided to call him. We talked about it. He explained it. That was his ex. They had recently ended a long-distance relationship. She was still in his life, which I couldn’t really be mad at, because we weren’t exclusive. And two days previous, she had called him to let him know that she wanted to move to be near him.
Did I believe him? Yeah, I did. My intuition told me he was telling the truth. So we sat on the phone, talking about what to do next. We decided we would keep talking and cut the flirting while he figured out what was going on with her.
The next day, it just wasn’t sitting right. I didn’t feel like it was fair to him or fair to her, but I really didn’t think it was fair to me. So I called him and we talked. And this is what I told him:
“Chris, I like you. A lot. And this isn’t what I want to do, but it’s what I’m going to do. We can’t talk anymore. It’s not because I don’t want to talk to you anymore, but it’s because I’m not a second-choice kind of girl. I’m a first choice. I don’t wait around while a guy tries to decide if he wants me. And most importantly, I am not the kind of girl who takes another girl’s man. I won’t compete with her because neither of us should have to. So yeah, I don’t want to end this. But I’m going to. Because I like you, but I like me, too.”
I hung up and I cried. I really did. Crying isn’t ridiculous, guys. Sometimes you’re just sad and need to cry while you listen to Only Hope off of the A Walk to Remember soundtrack, and THAT’S OKAY. So I sat in my car and I cried. And I cried the next day and the day after that.
You see, I liked Chris. That wasn’t the problem. And honestly, I could have kept in contact with him and that would’ve been okay. There wouldn’t have been anything wrong with that. But there was something telling me that it wasn’t right.
Sometimes, it just isn’t right. Sometimes, everything is right, and it’s still not right. Sometimes, everyone is telling you that it’s right but you know….you just know…in your gut area, in that space that holds your desires, that it’s not right and that you need to walk away. And singles…if it’s not right, even if there’s no reason for it to not be right, that makes it wrong.
It’s okay to walk away from something good. It doesn’t make you too picky or too demanding or too needy or any of the “too’s” that people assign to you. It’s okay to say, “I don’t want to.” It’s okay to say, “No.” And it’s okay if the reason for saying all of those things is simply because you think that you deserve better.
Don’t buy into the lie that we have to settle. Don’t let someone with a mediocre life convince you that you should have a mediocre life. Create the life that you want. Dream it. Design it. Build it. And then live it. Because the degree that you are loved will be as fulfilling as you allow it to be.
Leah Barterian works as the Youth Program Director at Grace Christian Church in Metro Detroit, Michigan. She is extremely passionate about singleness, Red Wings hockey, social equality, and late-night snacking. She loves baked cheetos, puppies, and laughing at videos where people slip on the ice. She inexplicably hates black beans and humidity. Follow Leah on Twitter and Instagram @Leahbarterian. Explore Leah’s blog HERE.
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