At 27, I found myself standing on a Manhattan sidewalk, staring into the scruffy face of yet another huge dating disaster. Lied to, mistreated and cheated on, I'd been publicly humiliated. My ego was crushed. Having loved and lost again, I felt frustrated, beaten down and so very tired of this thing called love. And I was full of the why-me's.
Why didn't he love me? Why did this happen to me? Why does this always happen to me?
Several weeks after my breakup, the pity party was still in full swing. Lying on my living room sofa, in a mess of soggy tissues and gooey Fudgsicle sticks, I was spending the umpteenth consecutive night communing with Netflix and my misery. It was ugly. But then, right in the middle of all that feeling sorry for myself, something pretty amazing happened: I heard a song. Actually, it was just one line from a song:
"It's not going to stop 'til you wise up."
It was a line from Aimee Mann's "Wise Up," and after hearing the song just once, I made it my anthem. I downloaded it to my iPod, hit repeat and then commuted to it, cried to it, showered to it… until the day I was ready to do some actual wising up. I had learned from my experience, but it took my listening to those lyrics, articulated in just the right way, before I understood it.
Bad relationships didn't just happen to me. I allowed them to happen.
And it was time to put a stop to it. I would set boundaries — a set of relationship resolutions — for myself and for those I spent time with, and I would stick to them.