Despite having 5 siblings, I essentially grew up an only child. My youngest sister, Ebony, moved out of my mother’s house when I was 7-years-old – the others were long gone by then. Being that I was the baby of the family, I constantly got special perks – spontaneous trips to amusement parks, cool toys, and tons of sweets. The best part about being the only child in my mother’s house was that I never had to beg for attention or affection. My mother adored me and I never felt like I had to share her love. I never really grew out of that attitude. I was employed since I was 14-years-old so I pretty much bought everything I ever wanted. I had few responsibilities and not a care in the world. Anything that I desired was either handed to me or I just got for myself without a second thought. Honestly I feel like I was living, on my own terms, a pretty fulfilling lifestyle, but things got complicated when I started dating.
I would say that I had about 5 serious relationships since I started dating at 14 (but then again how serious could my high school relationships have been?). Most of the guys were decent dudes, yet unfortunately they all seemed to go down the drain in the same fashion. After about ten months, give or take, of mushy-mushy love I would want more. Despite spending the majority of my time with these guys I wanted to see them more. I wanted them when I wanted them, and when I didn’t get them I would develop a full blown attitude. I would pout, start an argument about absolutely nothing, or even find a way make them feel guilty about not coming seeing me. I didn’t know how to not get what I desired, and my reactions were tasteless.
Eventually the boys got tired of my shit. We maintained perpetual arguments and developed resentment towards each other. Ultimately, the stress would be to much for the both of us. My entitlement made me believe that I deserved endless backrubs and daily visits. The unhappiness would be mutual and the strenuous relationship would finally end.
A little over a year ago, I met a pretty swell guy, and I immediately fell in love with his fairness. When I say fairness, I am not just talking about how he handles issues in our relationship, but in life as a whole. Although he is a cisgender heterosexual male, he is a supporter of feminism and queer rights – traits that I find to be highly admirable. Despite falling in love quite easily, I felt that I needed to be a better person when it came to interpersonal relations. I knew that I would not be able to pick fights just because I didn’t get my way. I was conditioned into being a spoiled brat and I knew that I had to change or risk getting kicked to the curb yet again.
Saying that you are not going to be a spoiled brat is much easier in theory than it is in practice. Me and my boyfriend live together without actually living together. What this means is that he has his apartment and I have mine. For the past year we have, for the most part, been living at my house: he takes out the trash, contributes to purchasing groceries, and helps me maintain a somewhat clean bedroom. It is safe to assume that we spend every night together, but you better believe that if I am feeling like we are not spending enough quality, one-on-one, time together I will aptly cop an attitude. I mean who is he to not give me exactly what I want?
“Who is he not to give me exactly what I want?” A resounding question that I just recently started asking myself. My answer: he is a human being. My boyfriend, and any other boyfriend of mine, past, present, or future, are human beings with their own personality, likes, dislikes, and most importantly minds. I can not and should not persuade him into doing something for me just because I have childlike entitlement issues. Reminding myself that this lovely guy isn’t here for me is just what I needed in order to put my bratty ways in check. When I say that “he is not here for me” I am not saying that he won’t be around comfort me when I am sad, or protect me when I feel threatened, but he is not obligated to shower me with attention. Although I adore all the extra love and adoration, its not healthy and I rather do without.
I realized that it was of the utmost importance for me to see other people as individuals and not as tools or servants that were there for my pleasure. I had to learn that people are not always going to do exactly what I want them to do and I have no right to get mad at them or shame them for not submitting to me and my desires.
Learning not to be a spoiled brat goes beyond maintain a romantic relationship, but it teaches me to fully respect the people that I love the most. The best part of all this is that I am allowing myself to grow out my immature ways. At the age of 24, I have no business throwing lowkey hissy fits due to the fact that I don’t know how to get my way. From here on out I am going to cultivate relationships that respect the individuality of all parties involved. Hopefully this guy will stick around a while.