The Process of the Exquisite Pain of Being the Second Choice

by Mathilde Clemence Personne about a month ago in advice

We should listen more often to that thing we carry deep inside ourselves to save us from a sad reality

The Process of the Exquisite Pain of Being the Second Choice
Photo by Soragrit Wongsa on Unsplash

It is never pleasant to realize that we arrive in a second position. Nope. That is a feeling we spend our lives running away from. It is hard to admit that we are not the favorite one amid our siblings. It is bothering us not to win a competition and arrive second when we have been training for a year. It is hard to admit that we are not the best employee in the company. Therefore, our relationship with our boss is not as good as Tom, our forever best friend. And it is painful to be in a relationship with someone we are attached to but doesn’t seem to feel the same way about us.

The hard truth amid those examples? They are all real. It is realistic to be aware that we can not always get first place during a game, within our family, within our workplace… or even in someone else’s mind.

For some reason, we are able to cope with the idea of not being the most hardworking employee, the winner in our area of expertise, or the prodigy child that our parents expected us to be. We can cope with this because we will always try to do better and to be better next time. Unfortunately, it is entirely another story to accept this realization when it is related to our romantic relationship and our partner’s feelings towards us. What it comes down to is that we usually end up feeling worthless, and our insecurities that were undeniably existent before become stronger than ever.

We hate it. We despise this conviction, but we have eventually learned throughout our life that it is better to be honest with ourselves when it comes to the time to think about that relationship.

We can not help but to think anything is our fault. That we should act, talk, and behave differently.

Except that is not what we do.

That is not what we do because what is the point not to be our own true selves with the person we care so much about.

We are aware of our flaws. We are in the know we are fallible individuals, but this doesn’t mean we are not valuable. Most of the time, those flaws bother us even before they bother our partner. That is why we work on some personal adjustments throughout our lives. We spend years making personal adjustments to evolve as individuals. Therefore, we try to evolve the right way within our relationship too.

Unfortunately, sometimes two people, even before starting to evolve altogether, turn out not to run at the same pace — or even go in the same direction. Chances are — if we are lucky enough — we get that feeling right away. Something inside us does not take long to send a warning that it does not match at the moment we start something with our partner. It is primordial not to ignore that thing which sounds like a little voice that is just trying to prevent us from pain.

Indeed, it is essential.

Except that is not what we do.

No, no, this little voice does not appear because we are afraid of putting ourselves at stake. It is anything else than our sixth sense that reveals itself to be correct nine times out of ten. But hey, we, human beings, love relationships. We love beginnings, and experiencing passion, and spending time with a new someone. Therefore, we are curious to see where this could go even if our best teammate of all time — our gut — communicates with us. We tend to ask it to shut it up like Harry Potter used to ask Dobby to stay quiet.

That is when we are mistaken.

We just don’t know that yet.

We are mistaken because our gut wants only what is best for us.

Alas, we want to believe that we are right no matter what. We want to believe we can handle the relationship no matter how it is going to happen; that our partner will meet us at some point on the way; that we can wait for them.

We start being afraid of this little voice. We don’t like what it tries to let us know, and yet, we do know it is rarely wrong.

These are the reasons as to why we decide to close it out.

On the contrary, we prefer to listen to our mind, which doesn’t share the same goodwill as our instinct is bound to.

We just don’t realize that yet.

But because now we work in collaboration with our brain — and have gently locked down the little voice — we start living something we think is meant to be. We begin to experience that new relationship with that new someone.

Days pass by, but we are forced to admit that our gut always sounds to find the key to connect with us one more time. No matter how fast we want to run away from it. No matter how strong we want to punch it straight in the face and be left alone. It seems like there is no way to put an end to the bond we have with it. It is part of us. What drives any of our decisions day in and day out is that gut of ours that is in constant conflict with our mind.

That perpetual argument between the two of them leads us to make a mistake. But we need that, you know. We need to make that mistake, so we can improve within our lives and become better versions in the future.

We make the mistake to decide to trust our old petty mind that is convinced to be right all the time. That is convinced it has seen, read, and heard everything. That is convinced it knows everything. Therefore, the influence it has on us, playing the role of a decision support system, doesn’t appear to be toxic. We don’t question it.

On the other hand, we do start being suspicious toward our little voice. Still showing up once in a blue moon, still sticking around. Why the Hell this one would let us think that we are fooling around by believing that our partner is not on the same wavelength as ours?

*Well, are you happy in this relationship? Do you feel good, for real?*

Sadly, some clues do not lie. While our mind tricks us, our gut is fighting to prevent us from any damage that is about to happen to us. Damage related to our real emotions, damage related to our heart, and, therefore, damage related to our mind. And we know we don’t want to lose our mind.

It becomes constant pain and heartache — and headache. We think endlessly about the things we crave for within this relationship.

That is the clear sign as to why we should always listen to the voice of reason.

Something is off.

We just don’t admit that yet.

We, human beings, like the challenge. We like being spontaneous. We are naturally inquisitive. Thus, we dare to be burned out by a partner who is not on the same page like ours, even when our gut is making a piercing noise deep inside.

Even when something is off.

Months later, it hits us. It is time to make a decision. Sometimes on a general agreement, sometimes against our will. Yet, we always feel heartbroken. We look deep inside the eyes of our partner for the last time, but it is time to go on two separate ways.

Our gut was right. As always.

Then, we can no longer deny the obvious.

We can no longer give excuses to our partner for their lack of attention that they have been showing us since the beginning of the relationship. For their lack of physical affection, and their lack of investment, and their lack of intimacy, and their lack of empathy regarding our own feelings.

We can no longer lie to ourselves because everything becomes clear.

We can no longer think our gut was trying to betray us all this time because it was not.

Truth is, it was just doing its best to let us know that our partner was not in the right place to get involved in a relationship with us. It was just completing its task to protect us from eating the tarmac whenever we would try opening up to our partner who was emotionally unavailable. It was just doing its work to encourage us to realize that we were a second choice during all this time.

That’s it. And that’s a sad reality.

We were just a second choice amid another one.

And our gut knew it from the beginning...

Until next time,

Mathilde Clemence –

Mathilde Clemence Personne
Mathilde Clemence Personne
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Mathilde Clemence Personne

Writer, Creator & Collector based in New York City —


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