I Love You, But I Love Me More #SingleWithLeah

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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 isnt 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 Im working the pole on the weekends. Sexual like I am a woman who was created BY GOD with needs. Theres 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 didnt 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 its okay for a woman to provide for a mandid you know that?!) There was no reason for her to dump him, other than the reason that she knew it wasnt 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 wasnt the kind of love that I needed. I never knew that was an option.

It seems silly, doesnt it, that I didnt know that was an option. I dont 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 dont have a reason to not end it, you dont. Why? Because youre lucky to have a man who isnt cheating or on drugs or who has frosted tips. So we stick around, basically because Its 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 peoples car windows with baseball bats. Mediocre makes you feel like that third girl in Destinys 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 (Dont lie. We all have), I realized that my needs, my desires, and my wants must be met, and if theyre not being met, its okay to walk away. It doesnt make me stupid or ungrateful. It makes me smart.

There was this guy that I was talking to. Well call him Chris. Chris and I started chatting, and I was smitten. He was so good at flirting. Like, ladiesso 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 youre laying in bed and its 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 didnt 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 wasnt 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 couldnt really be mad at, because we werent 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 wasnt sitting right. I didnt feel like it was fair to him or fair to her, but I really didnt 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 isnt what I want to do, but its what Im going to do. We cant talk anymore. Its not because I dont want to talk to you anymore, but its because Im not a second-choice kind of girl. Im a first choice. I dont 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 girls man. I wont compete with her because neither of us should have to. So yeah, I dont want to end this. But Im going to. Because I like you, but I like me, too.

I hung up and I cried. I really did. Crying isnt ridiculous, guys. Sometimes youre just sad and need to cry while you listen to Only Hope off of the A Walk to Remember soundtrack, and THATS 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 wasnt the problem. And honestly, I could have kept in contact with him and that wouldve been okay. There wouldnt have been anything wrong with that. But there was something telling me that it wasnt right.

Sometimes, it just isnt right. Sometimes, everything is right, and its still not right. Sometimes, everyone is telling you that its right but you know.you just knowin your gut area, in that space that holds your desires, that its not right and that you need to walk away. And singlesif its not right, even if theres no reason for it to not be right, that makes it wrong.

Its okay to walk away from something good. It doesnt make you too picky or too demanding or too needy or any of the toosthat people assign to you. Its okay to say, I dont want to.Its okay to say, No.And its okay if the reason for saying all of those things is simply because you think that you deserve better.

Dont buy into the lie that we have to settle. Dont 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

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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15 Comments

  • My ex-boyfriend (who I thought was “the one”) broke up with me and said, “Someday you’re going to meet a steak and realize I was a hamburger.”
    I had no idea what he meant until — three years later — I met my husband. And I got it.
    Don’t marry the burger, friends! It’s not a horrible idea, and you won’t be miserable, but it’s not the best. Hold on for God’s best. **That being said, I have also seen a few friends hold on for a perfection that doesn’t exist. It takes wisdom to know when you’ve got a great thing and not letting a great partner get away in search of a fairy tale.

    • This is so true. It also really makes me want a hamburger.

      I think it’s important to hold true to the idea of being picky and particular. Why wouldn’t we be? But I, too, have seen friends who are holding onto this idea of perfection that doesn’t exist. There has to be a balance.

      Good things are enemies of the best things.

      Thanks for your input and support! I appreciate it so much!

  • Interesting. Even though Leah’s speaking to the singles, I felt this resonated with those of who are married as well. Not that I’m advocating divorce or anything but I think these words apply to them as well. Not sure how. Maybe it’s a sign to talk over one’s marriage and say, ‘Hey, I need to go to school for me.” “I need to start my own business and leave the pressure-filled workplace for me.” “I need to have more to do that stick around the house and watch the kids.” There’s a delicate line of course with the marriage folk and I’m not trying to be Dr. Parker or anything, but Leah’s words spoke to me too about some decisions in my life as well.

    But I commend you for your decision. And I totally get what you mean about being second choice feeling. I don’t believe the guy felt that way about your (of course, I wouldn’t know) but YOU felt that way. And it’s because you love yourself you did what you had to do. Highly commendable.

    • Parker, you are so right. I think that we go through stages in our lives where we lose ourselves. For my brain type and personality (highly creative, feeler, wanderer), this is VERY tough for me. Sometimes the thought of marriage is incredibly scary for me because I’m afraid I’ll lose the ability to choose for myself. For instance, I love traveling alone, and last time that I went somewhere I told my mom, “One day I’m gonna get married, and my husband is going to ruin all of my vacations!”

      Obviously, that train of thought is a little bit silly, but I started asking myself, “is it really?” God gave us things that we are interested in, and I have seen so many of my friends and family push those things aside to make room for a mate. I’m not sure that’s the way that it was intended to be. Obviously, there is room for compromise, but is completely losing yourself in love compromise? I don’t think it is.

      I appreciate your thoughts so much, as it gave me a whole new thing to think about. Thanks so much for your input and support!

  • Interesting. Even though Leah’s speaking to the singles, I felt this resonated with those of us who are married as well. Not that I’m advocating divorce or anything but I think these words apply to them as well. Not sure how. Maybe it’s a sign to talk over one’s marriage and say, ‘Hey, I need to go to school for me.” “I need to start my own business and leave the pressure-filled workplace for me.” “I need to have more to do than stick around the house and watch the kids.” There’s a delicate line of course with the marriage folk and I’m not trying to be Dr. Parker or anything, but Leah’s words spoke to me about some decisions in my life as well.

    But I commend you for your decision. And I totally get what you mean about that second choice feeling. I don’t believe the guy felt that way about your (of course, I wouldn’t know) but YOU felt that way. And it’s because you love yourself you did what you had to do. Highly commendable.

  • Ah yes, the quandary of the “okay” relationship.

    This reminds me of that scene in “500 Days of Summer” when the main character meets his ex, who had never wanted to get married, and finds she’s engaged to her new guy. He keeps pressuring her to give a reason why she WOULD marry that guy, but WOULDN’T marry him when they were together. Badgered, she finally says something about being “sure” of her new man. When asked “Sure of what?” she replies, “Sure of what I was never sure of with you.”

    That scene almost knocked me backwards off the couch, because it perfectly explained some relationship choices that I made in my own dating days (basically I dated a guy for 2 years and always had the jitters about getting engaged, but got engaged to my husband after only 9 months of dating). Good stuff, Leah; rock on!

    • Rachel, thank you so much! And I actually thought about this movie as well while I was typing it. It’s so hard sometimes- like I said, almost harder- to end a relationship when there’s not a good reason. But that feeling can gnaw away at you, too. With one guy, it got to the point that I just tried to avoid him because I knew it was so wrong, and it bothered me that I couldn’t figure out why.

      The bottom line is, I’ve learned to trust my gut. It’s a good gut. It’s a smart gut. And we should listen to it!

      Thanks so much for your support and feedback!

  • George…except COMMON sense is actually rare, isn’t it? I really hope women are getting more particular…it’s about time that we held our standard much higher than we have in the past. It is time we had much more respect for ourselves and demanded to be treated as special individual creations of God. This is heartening.

    • I agree! I have turned down a few guys who are perfectly adequate and very nice, amazing men. But in the same way, I always tell people that “he wasn’t my man.” Why would I want someone who was supposed to be with someone else?

      God knows what he’s doing. That’s what we need to remember. I’m glad to be in good company with you!

  • You are sooo funny! And this is an excellent post. I’m forwarding it to my 60 yr old widow friend. She wil find SOMETHING in here to apply. I am (mostly) happily married, but I turned down 4 proposals because WHO I married was more important than BEING married, and I guess in all those cases I loved me more ( in the way you mean it). Keep preaching it, girl! And by the way, I was single until I was 39, so I know about being single. NO ONE wants to wait that long, but it’s your LIFE and waking up every day to the right person, not just someone you “settled” for.

    • Betty, thanks so much for your feedback! I’m 32 right now, and the weird looks have started pouring in when I tell people that I am happily single. It’s really a great place to be- to be content in life. There is so much to do and see, and I know that my man will come at the exact perfect time!

      Thanks again for your support and for reading the blog! I really appreciate it!

  • Jory, I am thrilled by your blog. Many people think that Jesus said that there were only 2 great commandments. I happen to think that He actually stated three. First, we should love God. Second, we should love our neighbors. But hold it, there is a third commandment implied here. You can’t love your neighbor until love yourself. If you don’t love yourself, then you can’t love your neighbor. As a codependent whose whole life was built on “I’m a piece of junk;” I always felt I had to please others at any cost so that they will like me. In fact, I felt I had to please others because their at-a-boys made me feel good about myself. I was addicted to pleasing others. I wasn’t loving them, I was getting my fix. And, instead of loving God, I was performing for God to win His approval. It wasn’t until I accepted the fact that God Loved me unconditionally and found people who knew how to love unconditionally and then began to love myself as God loved me, unconditionally, that I finally reached a place where I could love my neighbor as myself because I loved myself as God loved me. It was then that I began to understand what you are saying in this blog. Today, I am learning to love, value, plan, dream and implement a life for me first. Out of that accomplishment and in the process of that task, I am finally able to serve others. To do otherwise is to reject God’s love for me. In reality, rejecting God’s love for themselves is the root of many born again Christian person’s phony serving of others. Many women as mothers, lose sight of self care and self love while raising their children, only to wake up to a traumatic shift that they are not ready for when the “empty nest” drops out of heaven into their laps. So I say: Thank you for putting flesh and blood on the Third Great Commandment: Love yourself as God loves you!!!!!!

    • Don, thank you so much for your support and kind words! It’s really a life-changing moment when we can see the correlation between loving others and loving ourselves. We will only give out the kind of love that we think we deserve. I love how God brings us all through so much and, though the journey is hard, we see so much clearer on the other side.

      Thanks again for your feedback and support!

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