Like almost every other girl, I had dreamed of The One my entire life. No high expectations, just someone special to experience life with. I was always thinking of how nice it would be to also have someone when the invitation said, “Leandra + Partner”, to have someone to watch a movie with on a lazy day, to have someone to go wine tasting with when there were no other weekend plans, but above all, someone whose life I could also play a part in. Every now and then I would catch myself imagining making food for two, brightening his day when the workday was hard, packing lunch boxes with love letters and favourite snacks, craving to give a piece of myself to someone who would love and appreciate me for who I am, not how I look or what I can do or can’t do.

Starting to give

This fairy-tale picture started to gain more colour one Saturday evening. I met this good looking guy who was highly interested in this “pretty farmer girl, with the blue eyes and nice butt”, as he would describe it. From the moment I met him, I liked him, and he liked me. Seven months later we started dating, and I enjoyed every moment of the relationship. I always visited him, because his work made it difficult to get away. Weekdays I worked from his home, made us lunch and dinners. On weekends we spent time with his family and friends, and once in a while visited my family and friends. I always gave more than I took, but it didn’t bother me, because I enjoy giving and making other people happy and comfortable.

I need to take

After seven months of being in love, enjoying life and giving, but not taking much, I had the opportunity to work in the Netherlands for a year. It was perfect timing since I had just finished my studies, with no steady work, and no engagement plans yet. It was a hard decision to make. What if I stayed for The One, and it did not work out, what if the opportunity had slipped by then? This was the first time in seven months that I made a decision based on my needs, deciding to take from the relationship rather than give. I knew that this was a-once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and would regret it the rest of my life if I let it slip. I hoped that my dreams would be his as well, that he would let me go, and wait for me. And he did.

Giving over a long distance

The year was tough, but our relationship survived it. We needed to start building again. I gave more than ever, spiritually, financially, physically and also emotionally. After five months of giving everything, I started to run empty. I was tired, depressed and broke. Deep-deep down, I knew that I was the only one giving, and he the only one taking. I gave up my family time, my money and my needs, everything to ensure that our relationship worked. I wasn’t willing to give up on The One I had dreamed of my entire life, even though I wasn’t happy.

Every morning I would wake up with the hopes that it would change. It did not. I had to realise that if nothing had changed over two years, then it never would. It didn’t matter how much I like to give, a relationship is always give and take. To give and love unconditionally, but not run empty because the other person does the same.

It is give and take

Although I loved him unconditionally, I had to realise that I couldn’t be the only one giving, because I was busy losing myself. Who I am was starting to die piece by piece. I had to let go of the idea that he could be the only one for me. The decision was hard, and the break up worse, but from the moment I left, I started to see how unhappy and empty I had been. I had to let go and lose someone I loved to gain myself.

Every girl deserves a give and take relationship.

Author

Hi, I'm Leandra, a girl from the South African countryside with some well-worn vellies and a love for hiking, camping and indulging in life outdoors. In my spare time you can find me taking photos, cooking and spending time with my friends and family.

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