My boyfriend and I (both 16 years old) went to a concert together. When I asked him to drive me home, he refused because he wanted to stay. I reminded him of my curfew. I couldn’t call my parents for a ride because I lied about where I was going. My boyfriend and I argued. He walked back into the concert. I didn’t have money, so I walked home. It took two hours! The next day, a friend messaged me about an Instagram pic of a girl from our school kissing my boyfriend at a party after the concert. I messaged the girl, told her he was my boyfriend and that we argued but didn’t break up. When I texted him, he wanted to hang out like nothing happened. I broke up with him. Did I overreact?
You responded to a difficult situation by taking care of yourself to the best of your ability at the time. You trusted your boyfriend to give you a ride home after your date. He betrayed that trust. You trusted him to be faithful. He betrayed that trust, too. It doesn’t mean he is a terrible person. It means you saw a side of him you didn’t know existed or chose not to see and were surprised. This may be hard to accept, but your boyfriend has likely had the same kind of experience with you, or someone else has. Let’s reset the timeline of your story. Hours before your boyfriend’s betrayals, you made a decision to betray your parents’ trust. That vibe threaded through everything that happened next. I’m not saying that their rules are logical or illogical. I’m pointing out a moment where everything began to unravel. When things go wrong most people refuse to take responsibility for their contribution to creating the problem. Instead, they blame or shame others. By behaving as a victim, they make themselves small, stunting their spiritual growth. Don’t be that girl.
Did you want to go to the concert, or were you trying to please your boyfriend? If you habitually place the needs of others above your own, self-care will feel unnatural. It doesn’t help to place your needs above others, either. True self-care is about equality. An individual who accepts herself as equal to every person, situation, institution, creature and symbol is capable of decision-making that includes the good of all. Equality is an ongoing process.
Self-care is also expressed in actions that nurture mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. A weekly hike in nature, laughter, emotionally intimate conversations with friends, a good night’s sleep, healthy meals, extended periods of sitting in silence—all nourish us. So do backup plans. In the future, bring money on dates. Clue a friend in to your schedule, especially if you insist on keeping secrets from your parents. Call a friend to pick you up, rather than walking home alone in the dark. And, if you want to practice adulting, come clean with your parents. It may be messy, but you will feel better after healing that unhealthy pattern of betrayal.