When I felt like there was doubt in the relationship, I cut the strings right away.
One of the biggest challenges of living with bipolar disorder is keeping a stable relationship. Battling low self-esteem is the biggest reason why I’ve struggled.
According to the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, research has shown that self-esteem influences your relationship satisfaction as well as your partner’s. Self-defeating thoughts and insecurities can affect the way you act in your relationship, and low self-esteem can distort your perception of your significant other.
I am 27 right now, not married, in a relationship, and hoping this is the one. But let me take you way back to the beginning of my love life.
I grew up severely bullied and mistreated which led me to have very low self-esteem. I had crushes on boys here and there when I was a child, but I never expected anyone to like me back until 8th grade, where this boy showed interest in me.
I was a hopeless romantic when I was younger. I listened to a lot of hopeless romantic music such as a band that no longer exists, “To Be Juliet’s Secret.” Their music influenced my expectation of a relationship which ended up hurting me in the long run.
My first kiss was at a Valentine’s Day dance with my first ever boyfriend. I remember how nervous I was and how all my friends were staring. He and I dated for two weeks, which felt like two years in junior high. I thought I was in love with him and that I would end up marrying him. I was clearly very dramatic and didn’t know what to expect.
After two weeks of dating me, he broke up with me because he was bored with me and had an interest in two other girls, popular kids in class. Later on, I found out he was talking bad about me saying I was a horrible kisser. I know this sounds silly, but I ended up having a mental breakdown in my basement and slammed objects to my head because I hated myself. My self-esteem was already low so this was a trigger. I was completely heartbroken.
Moving on to my second boyfriend — I was actually the bad one in this relationship. I didn’t see him once during our relationship because we were young and didn’t have cars to drive to see each other. From my memory, I think I dated him for a month or two weeks. I ended up cheating on him with a boy in my town. I was completely ashamed and at the time didn’t know why I did what I did. I believe that I acted this way because I felt I needed emotional attention and he didn’t give me that so I went to another boy.
My third relationship is a fun one, so get ready. I dated this boy for 3 months. It felt like a real relationship for once. This was also the boy I opened up to more sexually. I ended up being the one to break up with him. I don’t remember why I broke up with him to be honest because it was over 10 years ago, but I remember that I came begging for him back the next day. I think part of me is still devasted by the first relationship. When I felt like there was doubt in the relationship, I cut the strings right away. I completely regretted it and cried my eyes out. He ended up dating someone new 2 weeks later which made it even worse.
He and I never dated again but we ended up being friends with benefits for a couple of years on and off. I took his offer on being friends with benefits hoping it was my way to win him back— boy was I wrong. He ended up using me sexually then kicked me out when his grandma came home. One day he kicked me out when it was storming outside so I had to walk to the other side of town in a storm. I felt ashamed of myself. His actions truly took a toll on my already low self-esteem.
My next relationship was a year-long. I truly believe that this was my first love. I was 15 years old when I started to date him. He was the first guy who wasn’t a jerk and had some class. He was also very intelligent and went to one of those “smart” schools. This was also the first relationship where I met the family. I started to feel so much better about myself and felt so lucky to have an amazing wholesome guy in my life.
Our relationship felt like one of those romantic movies. This was my very first “stable” relationship until I screwed it up again. Because of my very low self-esteem creeping up on me, I broke up with him because we didn’t see each other enough and I needed the attention. I begged for him back too, but he didn’t take me back. I kept making big decisions off my emotions and trauma from my past.
A couple of months later he got a new girlfriend. I was friends with the girl at the time. She was a mutual friend with my ex and me during our relationship. We weren’t close, but we were friendly. She was the one to tell me that they were dating.
I had the biggest mental breakdown. I started to hurt myself again and wanted to die. I was already dealing with my mental health issues so this was the tip of the iceberg. I managed to hide my cutting from my mom for years until she found blood in the bathroom trash. This was the event that led me to my diagnosis of bipolar.
How sad this may sound, it took me 5 years to get over that guy. I still today do not understand why this particular guy felt impossible to get over.
My pain and insecurities dictated my high school relationships. Because of all the hate I received as a child, I just wanted to be loved, and when I had a relationship that failed, I would automatically hate myself.
Being bullied growing up created this idea in my head that I am always the problem. Instead of me saying “screw the first guy who dumped me”, my thoughts were that “I was never good enough and it is my fault that he left me for the two other girls”.
I feel like the first heartbreak is always going to be the biggest lesson and one of the breakups that hurt the most. This is because it is all new and we don’t know what to expect. My pain from my first break up turned from sadness is subconscious anger that led me into cheating in my next relationship. I believe that it was a void that I was filling. The second guy that I was dating couldn’t provide me the affection I needed to fill the void so I got it from another guy. It was completely wrong and I felt very ashamed for it, I but have learned my lesson from it.
Since I was in pain the majority of middle school and high school, I created a bad habit of leaving a relationship when it was going south with the fear of a guy screwing me over as the first guy did. I ended up just hurting myself. It is much more painful regretting the breakup with the guy than fighting through a rough bump in a relationship.
I have come a long way with healing my low self-esteem throughout the years, but some days I start thinking like my younger self in my current relationship. I believe subconsciously I will always be fighting the battle with my insecurities in my relationship, now, I am more educated and aware of how low self-esteem destroyed my love life.
Have you been feeling down recently? Yearning for a new mindset? Get ready to transform your mind by learning the power of affirmations. To learn more, check out our article The Power of Affirmations: Embrace Positivity and Transform Your Mind to reach your full potential today.
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