I have a problem with commitment, and it’s not what you think.

I’ve never cheated. It’s not my style and I don’t understand it. Maybe I’m too honest. If I don’t like you, you probably know it, so why would I waste my time staying in a relationship that isn’t working, just so I can sneak around behind that person’s back with someone else? You will know when I’m through with a relationship. Bye.

My problem with commitment is that I am too committed. I never used to consider myself a people pleaser because, again, I don’t understand how to not be really honest and in doing so, you normally don’t please people. However, I have an intense need to please my partner in a relationship.

Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the first love of my life died at the ripe ol’ age of sixteen (ha!). Maybe I just really, really, really want to make someone happy because I’m not sure how to attain the level of happiness I had when I was a teenager and fell in love for the first time. Maybe in some twisted way, I think that being a people pleaser will do this.

My problem with my problem is this: What happens when you end up dating someone who is selfish?

This has happened to me frequently and in many different capacities. When I was dating my first real boyfriend after high school, I was too committed and he was definitely not. I thought he was. But as I grew more and more complacent with our relationship and realized that maybe I really only loved him the first summer we were together, and not the two and a half years total, it became clear to me that I had sacrificed my own happiness for his. Little did I know, he had been pursuing his own selfish needs. From reports from mutual friends after the break up, I learned he had been doing cocaine for a while and he had a new girlfriend less than a week after the break up. But don’t worry, not sobbing here. That’s just it. I fell out of love a long time prior and my need to please people kept me there.

Cut to example number two: the college boyfriend. This one was toxic from day one. My need to please was intensified by the need to make him want me when he was (clearly) just using me and had a million girls in line behind me, ready to take my place at a moment’s notice. We ended up living together and within a couple months, the dude had cheated on me (with a girl who had a butt for a face. Let’s be honest here – I’d have been less upset if she were prettier than me. COME ON!). I somehow ended up actually staying friendly with this boyfriend after we broke up and we lived together for several months after the incident. Maybe this means I hadn’t gotten over my need to “please him” in some way. He was the unattainable dude that I attained. Keeping him was always the problem, no matter how hard I tried.

So next up is the man I ended up marrying. This, my friends, is not something I recommend. If you are CRYING the day you get married because you aren’t sure you want to be, maybe you should cut and run. I’ve always tried to be a honest person, but I suppose I should’ve focused more on being honest with myself rather than others. Because this was definitely a time I wasn’t honest with myself. (Side note: I also don’t recommend making ANY major decisions whilst cooking a human being in your uterus. Bad move, dude. Bad.)

I endured the time we were together. I say endured because it was truly trying, never easy. I endured alcoholism. I endured mental and sometimes even physical abuse. I endured it all in the sake of “love” and my child. I wanted to please him but we could never get on the same page.

Then one day, I stopped. I stopped trying to please him. I got my shit together and started writing- ALL.THE.TIME. Soon the verbal abuse ensued and I was told to start looking for a job (because, you know, it’s not like I applied to about 50 a day or anything with no good leads because I was STUCK in Greensboro- bleh.) and to “stop playing writer.” Whoa. That was a line I will never forget. Yes, let’s shove your wife’s passion in her face and make her feel small so you can continue to be selfish and get drunk every night and never come home and never help you with child.

Okay, I’m getting off track here. My point is that I am always overly committed. If a relationship totally sucks, I don’t know when to say when. I’m honest about everything but somehow can’t be honest about this. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I totally suck alone. Don’t get me wrong, I know how to be alone, I just don’t like it. It’s not what I’m good at. I am good at being a girlfriend. It’s familiar territory. I mean, who else would I bitch to about my life and they still pretend to care?

I was joking about that last one.

So here I am. I’m dating this amazing, wonderful, perfect dude. And he’s selfish. Seriously, ya’ll! That’s his only flaw. He’s not a cheater, an alcoholic or a coke head. I’m doing alright….right? I can handle this one thing.

The thing that I love the most about him? I feel like I can be 100% honest with him. I don’t have to hide behind my people pleaser act. I can tell him when I’m mad or sad or happy. I can tell him if there is a problem in our relationship and we can work around it. I can tell him everything and anything. This is why I fell in love with him. He gets me. I get him. Which is why I’m okay with him being selfish. He has days he spends doing (what I like to call) man things. He has hobbies. I love this. I have hobbies too. I’m not afraid of time apart (I mean, we live over an hour from each other so we kind of are apart a lot anyway). I’m not sitting at home worried he’s cheating on me. I’m 100% secure in our relationship.

It’s a weird feeling. This is about the point, if not sooner, in most of my relationships that my eyes were on the door but someone had their foot on mine, making me stay. I don’t feel this way with him. I’m content. I’m happy. Hell, I’m not even thinking about what our future looks like. I’m living in the present. I’m living our relationship how it happens. I’m not in this to get something. I think I learned in my marriage that being married isn’t always permanent. (thank god for that!)

I’m here. I’m happy. I’m committed. I don’t need to please him 100% of the time. It’s not realistic. I wish I’d learned this sooner.