How Disney princesses ruined my love life
But at least I got to learn something from it.
There are for sure some mistakes that happen to change the course of our lives. My 10-year relationship, for sure, was one of those. I cringe just to think about all the things I’ve been through because of it. I’m sure my mom cringes even more, and my friends...don’t even go there, they completely loathed who I became when I was chasing the “man-of-my-life” while he was running from me.
Long story short, it all started when I was 14, and by a divine light or lightning bolt that possibly hit me in my sleep, or a hot self-love shower, it ended when I was 24.
First, at 14, I felt very ugly and insecure, and I had never really loved anyone before, so love was a new and surprising sensation, something that would finally prove to me that I wasn't that ugly. You know what I’m talking about, right?
It should supposedly be magical and a little painful, at least that was what Disney had told me. According to the princess movies I watched as a kid (Disney, I need my psychologist's refund), I thought I knew what true love was.
Just follow the simple recipe:
- A delicate and fragile woman
- An external problem caused by someone else or inflicted by the woman upon herself (Why would you let your sisters treat you like that, Cinderella?)
- The absence of this woman and her lack of self-confidence and problem resolution
- The arrival of a prince charming to save her (as if we needed to be saved from something)
- The happily-ever-after ending to the story
Too bad these movies never show what it's like after the first kiss, right? But we know... it's certainly not just happiness forever, but a lot of dialogue and boundary setting, as these two people barely know each other.
I mean, would the Beast want Bella's father to live with them at the castle? It is not easy to live with your in-laws. And prince Eric, how would he visit Ariel’s family at the bottom of the ocean? Where would they want to have kids, how would they raise them? Mermaid style or human style? A lot of unanswered questions and confused kids.
And in addition to the dreamy Disney world, as my parents were divorced since I was 4, I thought I needed to avenge their story by staying with the first person I loved. For these and other reasons, I’ve gone through a lot in this 10-year-relationship.
First, there was all the cheating. I was cheated when he traveled to Disney (Pun unintended!!!), in the parking lot, in a hotel (when he came to visit me in the city where I lived but preferred not to sleep at my house), in the classroom next to mine, at recess, and the list goes on. And these are just the moments I know I was being cheated on.
You must be wondering "Did you date him because he was a top model?" No, he wasn’t. "Was it because he was cool?" Yes, he was nice to others, not me. "Why did you date him then?" One might ask. Well, I asked myself these same questions a thousand times, but I think the main answer is that I didn't love myself enough.
Thinking about it today, that should be reason enough for me to have left that relationship, put on a nice outfit, look in the mirror and say, "Go ahead, this is your day!" but I didn't believe it, so I stayed with him because I thought he was all I deserved.
As if begging for affection isn't cringe-worthy enough, I decided I was going to become crazy. Like, really bogus. I was blinded by jealousy and hurt by the lack of self-love, so I channeled all my strength into becoming a first-rate detective. I mean, we all know the famous phrase “What the eyes don’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over,” right? Yes, in theory.
But I didn't care about it. I think I almost wanted to be sure that it was indeed happening. Deep down, I wanted to tell myself, “Do you see? You don't really deserve to be loved; Look at him over there, cheating on you again.” And he was, but I always came back.
I write that now from a place of peace and laughter, so bear with me as I share my top 10 relationship cringe-worthy moments with you!
My Top 10 relationship cringe-worthy moments
- While we were dating, I tried to talk to him when he talked to another girl, just to be ignored like a buzzing fly in his ear. I didn’t stand being ignored, so I decided to grab a bottle of his friend's best Whiskey and smash it in the nearest refrigerator, causing a fuss and lots of shards of broken glass.
2. I wanted to become friends with the girl I knew he was “secretly” in love with. You know, keep your friends close but your enemies closer. So I was dancing with her, and he grabbed me by the arm and said that I should stop dancing because I was being vulgar, but she wasn’t.
3. I spent the whole party crying, sitting on the paved road, reclined on the wheels of a car in the parking lot because he was ignoring me. I didn’t let anyone talk to me until would come, and I spent 4 hours sitting there, but he never came. He was too busy talking to all the other girls at the party. When the party finished, my girlfriends told me to leave with them, but I refused and begged to leave with him. We left together, but he broke up with me in the car.
4. I left all my family and friends in Rio de Janeiro (one of the most beautiful cities in Brazil that has amazing beaches) and bought a ticket to fly to our hometown (that doesn't have any beaches) to surprise him on New Year’s Eve. “Surprise!!” I greeted him, but he looked blankly at me and said that I entered the house through the wrong door, and he hadn’t been so surprised.
5. I spied on his computer's search history to see what websites he was visiting and what kind of things he was searching for, and found out his Facebook password.
6. Have his Facebook (and not mine) logged in to my computer so I could read all the conversations he exchanged with his new hookup without him knowing it. I saw everything they talked about and wanted to die when I saw a picture she sent him at 4 am wearing the coat I gave him followed by the message “I arrived home fine, I loved tonight!”
(I had the screenshot of that moment sent to all of my friends, and no image can represent what that felt like)
7. Call all his friends crying to find out where he was when he visited me in the city I was living in, only to find out he was at a hotel with another girl, and continue calling him non-stop until he blocked me.
8. Find out who his favorite celebrities were and dress like them (yes, he thought Katy Perry was hot, and yes, I tried to dress like her).
9. Think that everything he did was ideal, perfect, and fun and that if I didn't do things with him, my life would be a complete failure.
10. Believe that I couldn’t date anyone else, and this was the man of my life.
And just when I was finishing this list, my friend recalled me of the “Uber situation," and I need a couple of paragraphs for that. For I not only had his Uber registered on my cell phone, but also my credit card registered on his Uber, and he didn't know. So, the last time that we broke up, his life became my addiction.
Is there anything more shameful than spying on someone else's life? Yes, there is, chasing them.
I would see where his Uber was taking him and would follow, arriving an hour later. I invited friends to go with me on this ex-boyfriend hunt, and if they didn’t want to, I did it alone. I would get to the location, see him probably doing something random and/or kissing someone, and thinking that my life would only be perfect if I had him by my side. It is impressive the blindness that one can have when thinking you’re in love.
After I let him spend an average of $ 500 with Uber on my card just so I could know where he was going, I thought I had enough. That night I chose to delete his Uber account from my phone and went to a party with a friend. I met another boy there and went to his house (not without first exchanging some drunk love messages with my ex, just to get a “stop texting me” answer).
When I got there, I decided that I didn't want to have sex with him and wanted to go home. I could call an Uber, but I remembered my Disney’s lessons:
1) I had an external problem.
2) I couldn’t save myself.
3) I needed to be rescued by “Prince Charming.”
So, without giving it a second thought, I called my ex from this guy’s bathroom, waking him up at 6 am and telling him I was at a stranger’s house (external problem) and needed him to save me. The guy I was with didn’t like what I did, not a bit, so he told me that if I really wanted to leave, he wouldn't be opening his building’s gate - if I wanted to go, I would need to jump! (Such a terrible guy!!)
Well, what could I do? There was an electric fence on top of the gate, which I had to climb in my heels and party outfit (Street security camera guys are probably laughing until this day). I touched the fence to see if the electricity was working, and thankfully it wasn’t (or I wouldn’t be writing this story today), and I fell on the other side, right in front of my ex’s car. Talk about cringe.
The whole ride home was him repeating about the absurdity that had just happened (he was right) and me crying, saying I loved him. He dropped me off at my house and said never to call him again. I thought I was going to die. I had no air. I couldn’t breathe. The things we go through, right? I just wanted to go back in time and shake myself and say, “Woman, put it together, you don’t know what real love is, but you will know it soon enough, relax!!”
After all this, I felt I should finally stop. I pulled myself together, discovered the things I liked to do alone, without him. I met new friends who had left other relationships. We created a group called “Disk Festas," which means "Disk Parties” in Portuguese, and from then on, we would call each other to go out together, without needing any boyfriends or men.
We went out into the world, discovered ourselves, and we met new people. We saw in each other a strength that wasn’t external, but that was ours alone. And everyone has this power! Sometimes it’s trapped inside, hidden; But I can assure it’s within you. Maybe it is in your yoga, in your run, in your friend's laugh, in a book you read, in a pizza with wine. But it exists, I guarantee you!
Yes, it is bad not to love yourself enough. It is even worse to think that we depend on someone to be happy. First of all, we have to be happy with ourselves, and it may seem like a cliché, but it is the purest truth. All this time, I was blind not to understand that I could be much more, that I was worthy, and could find happiness elsewhere.
For people who are in this same situation I was, we can overcome EVERYTHING! I say this sitting next to my husband, who I met sometime later. He and I had already been in the same place, at the same time, in a few situations, without ever knowing each other. Probably I was too concerned with my ex-boyfriend to even notice him there (and he is cute!!). He was born in my hometown, but we only got to know each other in another city. We met at the right time, right after I had been through so much drama and a shitty-me-version.
He met the "me" I became after all I’d been through. And I’m glad he met my better version.
The first message that remains is, we can make bad decisions. We all do. But they are the decisions that will teach us to make the good ones. If it weren't for the bad, we would never have anything to compare with the good. What would be the good without the bad, right?
Second, let's remember to show our kids or future kids more diverse movies, books, and stories. Let them see that the world out there has much more than only Prince x Princesses' relationships. We can be whoever we want to be and love whoever we want to love if we make sure to love ourselves first, no matter how or who we are.
The path to redemption can be bittersweet, but the reward is worth it, I promise!
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