Proven: Hurt People Hurt People

Once upon a time, an ex-boyfriend of mine told me that he loved me with all of his heart. Then he told me that no matter how much I loved him back, it would never be enough to constitute a truly healthy relationship. Because I’m just not me without my chronic discontent towards love – whether in or out of it.

I know, right?

To be fair, this happened during a fight. And I believe his actual words were, “Love is wasted on you because you’ll never let yourself be happy,” but I like mine more.

I had all but forgotten about this statement since we broke up almost three years ago – but over the past few weeks it has returned to the surface of my consciousness. And my actions keep giving it credence. And it’s pissing me off because it took me this long to realize that maybe he was right.

It would explain:

  1. why Keychanges is at its best when I’m complaining about how much it sucks being a single gay man searching for true love, but only encountering noncommittal jerks who’d prefer our relationship exist only in the bedroom; and
  2. why I broke up with a near-perfect guy last week after three months of him being the single gay man searching for true love, and me being the noncommittal jerk who’d prefer our relationship exist only in the bedroom.

I can already hear my best friends saying, “You just always want what you can’t have,” and I can already hear a therapist saying, “You have to love yourself first before you can truly love someone else,” – but dammit, it is so frustrating to know that all of my complex emotional issues can be boiled down into cliché phrases directed at issues that millions of people have already struggled with.

Why do I have to consciously love myself? Can’t I just take an alternate route to happiness? Such as finding that one man that’s going to make all of my problems go away?

That would be ideal.

But no, I have to be one of those people that can’t just let life happen without overanalyzing every errant thought and emotion of mine until I’ve effectively killed whatever magic had once existed between myself and any man I’ve ever been with. Or until they end up thinking I’m crazy and/or a waste of love.

Or, as with Awesome Guy, until I end up hurting them.

It’s never a winning scenario.

Prior to breaking up with Awesome Guy, I spent a Saturday with the above-referenced ex-boyfriend of mine – purely because I couldn’t get his three-year-old words out of my head and I wanted to confront them head on.

Sadly though, I couldn’t find the right time to bring it up. Because really, when you’re catching up with an ex, there is no right time to casually interject with, “So, remember that night back in January of 2010 when we were fighting in your Ford Explorer and you said that love is wasted on me because I’ll never let myself be happy?”

I’m sure he doesn’t remember anyways – those words were just casually flung my way in the midst of a single fight in the vast array of epic battles that defined our yearlong relationship.

Although we didn’t address the statement in question, seeing my ex again did make me remember all kinds of details from our time together that I had mostly forgotten about — such as how I picked fights all the time, made the entire relationship revolve around me rather than us, and overall, just didn’t know how to be a truly great boyfriend.

As I was leaving his house, he told me, “I want you to know that no matter what’s happened between us, a part of me will still always love you.”

And all I could think to myself was: What a waste.

And that’s when I knew I had to break things off with Mr. Awesome.

P.S. This post was a little too heavy and lugubrious (and/or I-will-probably-think-it-was-insanely-melodramatic-and-unnecessary-in-about-twelve-hours) for my liking. I apologize. But I feel like I really hurt an awesome guy’s feelings last week, and I wanted to explain myself (to the world, apparently). Because I really cared about him and I still feel bad.

P.P.S. I am slowly working on my issues. And it’s going pretty well. Except for those times when I want to jump in the faces of happily married couples and scream, “Did you both examine all of your emotional baggage and deep-rooted insecurities before getting married? NO? Then why the hell do I have to?! IT’S NOT FAIR AND PLEASE LET ME TRADE LIVES WITH YOU!”

I’m hoping those occasions become rarer with time. And therapy.



  1. Hi,
    good post. I like it. I’m nearly qualified as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist (yes, I know – another therapist…).
    My only comment, which you’re welcome to ignore if you wish, is that if you rely on someone else to make all your problems go away, then that someone else is controlling your life and your happiness. In itself this creates a problem because if they can make your problems go away, they can surely bring them back again.

    You don’t have to love yourself first (although obviously that would help!). However you do it, find a way for you to make your own problems go away puts you in driving seat of your life.

    At which point, you can just find that one man … whoever he is…

    All the best
    Keep blogging

  2. magicpoetry says:

    I feel you, Nic 😦 Oh, do I feel you. I have the same damn issues and I keep questioning myself: “WTH is all this about ‘loving yourself’ anyway? What does it mean? Does it mean that you have to be an arrogant, self centered jerk who can do whatever one pleases?” I still don’t know. I have never really felt or thought I love myself. I reckon it’s all corny and weird.

    But it’s true. You can’t be a good partner unless you feel good about yourself and don’t question everything or doubt everything or overthink everything. Oh believe me, I am right there with you.

    Really sad to hear it didn’t work out with Awesome Guy. I know how you feel 😦 Here’s a big bear hug from me *hugs*

  3. I think when people say “You have to love yourself first”, they really mean “you have to like yourself enough to feel like you deserve being loved by another”. And when they say things like “embrace your flaws”, they truly meant to say “We’re all imperfect – so what? You’re still a worthwhile human being”.

    You probably need a man (or a friend) who gets under your skin and analyzes you as much as you’ll analyze him – someone who picks your brain and still adores you after you tell all. Don’t wait around for Prince Charming-and-Perceptive though, since there isn’t an abundance of INFJ-types out there. You deserve some self-worth well before then. I say be your own Prince Charming-and-Perceptive, for yourself and maybe someone else. :o)

  4. Sorry to hear about things ending with Awesome Guy but, and I’m sure it’s hard to believe now, you did the incredibly emotionally mature thing to do. If you realize you have a lotta work you need to do on yourself, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t wanna drag somebody else through that and it might even be a distraction to your own personal progress.

    You seem like a great guy but like most of us (definitely myself) we’re all kind of emotional works in progress. Take some time to yourself because not only do you need it, but you’re absolutely worth it too.

    Sorry to get overly familiar, but I get what you’re talking about a little too well and rather than focus on my own stuff, I figured I’d tell you what I know I’m always so unwilling to hear haha

    Best of luck!

    • I believe at one point during my decision-making process, I actually asked myself, “What would an emotionally mature person do?” — so this comment is the ultimate validation! Ha.

      Thanks for weighing in — not overly familiar at all, since I pretty much already think we’re the same person haha.

  5. Nic, please tell me that this title was a nod to Christina. If not, it is a lovely coincidence that this line shows up in her Lotus lyrics!

    • It is both!!! I have always loved that line, and have therefore become obsessed with that first verse of “Empty Words,” haha.

  6. Brandon Haskey says:

    If you figure out a magic formula for being great at relationships, be sure to let us all know. Otherwise, I think you’ve made some wise points here, and working on being better is all we can ask of ourselves. 🙂

    • Thank you! And yeah, I’m pretty much crazy for even attempting to figure out how to master the art of healthy relationships, yet I keep trying!! Eventually, I will learn to accept just the right amount of imperfection.

  7. Sometimes I want to break up with myself but, hey, I’m stuck with me so I make the best of it. And, no, I’m not being a smart-ass. Hang in there, brother.

  8. Oh Nic, I’m sorry you are feeling lugubrious. Even if you are not feeling lugubrious, it’s a fun word to use. Lugubrious. I forget how old you are but all the emotional maturity crap takes forever, that’s why people get divorced. I think I hit “love myself and my life” around 46. I tried over and over to get someone to solve my problems and then just resented the hell out of them.

    You’ll get there sweetie but it is hard work and I like resting more.

    • I’m so glad you love lugubrious – it is so one of my favorite words! Frankly, the most redeeming thing about this post, IMO, was the usage of lugubrious.

      Thank you for the support, love – so much hard work and I TOO like resting more.

  9. You don’t have to apologize for your feelings. This was a very honest post and I appreciate it 🙂 makes ya think about, you know?

  10. Crap. I’m supposed to love myself? I knew I forgot something. I hope Cap’n Firepants doesn’t notice that vital part of my emotional well-being is missing…

  11. Allow me to talk about myself, because this sounds a little familiar.

    My first love told me, at some point over our excruciatingly drawn-out months-long breakup, “You always find reasons to make yourself unhappy.”

    For many years I sabotaged/over-analyzed every relationship. I always had the same fears and anxieties and insecurities and I figured it would always be that way in every relationship I was in and eventually I would just have to choose someone and just try really hard to ignore all of my negative, relationship-sabotaging thoughts. I thought it would always be an uphill battle to be with anyone.

    But then I met Doug, and it wasn’t. (Actually it kind of was at first- our relationship got off to a surprisingly horrific start, so in a weird way we got all the bad stuff out of the way first and things have been really nice ever since). All those negative thoughts I always had with everyone that I thought would always be there all just fell away with him.

    So I guess what I’m trying to say is that yes, of course it is important like everyone says to examine your emotional baggage (and of course i personally have no idea what your particular baggage is or where it comes from so i don’t know how much examination it requries), and it is absolutely admirable and worthwhile to examine your own tendencies in relationships, but also don’t underestimate the importance of finding someone who is the right fit. I think things will always feel a bit off with anyone you date until you find the person you are meant to be with.

    When I read your post about the awesome guy who accepted your Tide-ings (omg, i am really proud of myself for that pun), I didn’t think he sounded like the right fit for you, so I’m not surprised it ended.

    I’m also not surprised that it might take you a bit longer than others to find the right fit, since you are so quirky and hilarious and intelligent and will need to find someone who is a match on all those levels rather than someone who sells insurance and watches the American average of 35 hours of TV per week and talks to their spouse for the American average of 9 minutes per day. But you will. And it will be deeply satisfying BECAUSE you are so aware and analytical of all of life’s subtleties and nuances and because you have such strong and resilient spirit – and combine that with someone who is the same way and it will be a very joyful and fun union that is occasionally difficult but was – totally – worth the wait.

    Oh, and all those married couples? Half of them break up.

    • This comment. I can’t even handle how perfect and beautiful it is. THANK YOU so much. And I’m e-mailing you right now!

  12. Without such unhappiness and baggage, there would be no Taylor Swift songs. I’M JUST SAYING.


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