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To the girl on the bus…

Dear ‘girl on the bus’- It’s NOT you. I may have never met you, but I can categorically tell you that IT.IS.NOT.YOU. I wanted to tell you that on the bus, but I couldn’t. Not only would it be super weird, given I don’t know you, to dole out unsolicited advice like that-but also you were on the phone to friends the whole time. Pouring over your heartbreak at being stood up by the guy you’re seeing with zero explanation, and occasionally sobbing.

I certainly don’t profess to be an expert on  ANYTHING. I don’t know all the ‘answers’-in fact, I know barely any!😂 One thing I can say with certainty though is this: Other people’s shitty behaviour is never your fault. It’s their responsibility, end of. The only thing you can control even slightly is your reaction to it, and subsequently your own behaviour.

I listened as you reasoned out with your friends how this seemingly good guy could change and do such a callous and cowardly thing. You’d made babysitting arrangements, you’d waited over an hour and a half, unanswered texts and calls had gotten you more and more confused. But WHY? You couldn’t get your head around it, the notion this guy you’d been dating was going to bail on you without even assigning you the importance of an authentic explanation?? You’d run through every possible excuse for him, and then I heard you say it. The words that made me want to grab you and shout “NO, NO, NO, Queen!!”:

“Maybe it’s just me. I must be doing something wrong. Am I expecting too much? Should I just settle and accept this is the way things go if I want a relationship these days…”

Let me break this down-

1. Expecting respectful behaviour and basic communication as standard is not demanding. Not at all. It’s a fairly reasonable expectation from a person who is aware of their inherent human value.

2. Don’t settle for just anything just for the sake of being ‘ in a relationship’. It’s not compulsory, and you do not need a romantic relationship for happiness or validation. Fill your life with things you love doing because they make you feel good and fulfilled. Live a life you enjoy and be open to connecting with someone who will enhance that, not define it.

The truth is there could be innumerable reasons why this man stood you up. It could be deliberate- a manipulation tactic meant to de-value you, a test of a boundary, a display of power. It could be he simply met someone else who was better for him (not better THAN you, read that and take it in) and he took the cowardly option. He could have forgotten, which would obviously make you feel incredibly worthless and unimportant, but again remember please it’s shitty behaviour and on him alone. He could have a genuine reason and then not been able to get in touch-broken phone, been robbed, hospitalization, panic attack… You went through pretty much every one of these options. But the reason is completely irrelevant if it’s not being offered. One thing is definite- It is not your job to babysit another person’s brain. You expended so much energy and emotion running through this and trying to puzzle it all out. But to what end?

Ask yourself this simple question ” how is this making me feel right now?” I think the fact that you were intermittently sobbing is enough to make it a rhetorical question really. You can’t figure out another person’s reasoning without their input, and in the absence of that it is 100 per cent not your responsibility to do. All you can control is how you respond to the situation. So ask yourself the question, and ask yourself- is this feeling/situation worth all this energy? Do I want to feel this way because of someone else’s behaviour?

We can’t control our emotions by flipping a switch, nor should we, but we can bring back the awareness to our own feeling and seek to do the things we know will serve to refocus us elsewhere. Try not to get angry or disheartened by filling in the blanks for yourself. The reasons, as I said before, are irrelevant. How you go forward is entirely in your power. Maybe he was a d#$khead? Maybe he will come back with some really extenuating circumstances? Who knows, but it wasn’t you. Don’t take that burden on, please. Don’t settle for anything less than what you know you want/need, you’ll hate yourself and no doubt punish them for it too.

Try not to put the burden of responsibility for your happiness on your potential partner either, it doesn’t feel healthy. Romantic relationships should be an added bonus on top of your already full and happy life! This gives you the space to accept or reject potential relationships on the basis of if they are healthy and how you feel in them, without becoming overly invested emotionally or in the mere idea of being ‘in a relationship’.

I hope you did whatever you needed to do to feel better tonight, and always remember your worth!❤

*Disclaimer* I am in no way suggesting that people and relationships should be perfect, and if they’re not, then you just sack it off and float away😂 That would be preposterous. Relationships can be challenging, people are not perfect, and sometimes people make quite catosrophic mistakes. People can be all sorts of things that make a romantic relationship with them positively difficult- but then that doesn’t mean it is not worth even trying. What I think is important is that the decision we make to ‘try’ on the time and effort we want to expend comes from really knowing, understanding, and choosing to accept the situation from a healthy place-with a partner equally willing to match your effort. Unfortunately, I don’t think my ‘girl on the bus’ was coming from a healthy place spending 45mins to an hour desperately looking for ways in which she could excuse this guy and take the shame on herself😢

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