He Loves My Bacon, She Loves It Not: Guilt Should Never Be the Reason You Stay

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Freshman year of college, I met this guy, through a friend who was a friend of my friend’s roommate. (Or something like that.) Anyhoo, he was funny, he thought I was funny, we had a lot of good laughs, and we got along great.

You can see where this is going.

Yes, we started dating. He was the first guy I ever dated, so it was all real new and exciting for me. It was also terrifying, because only a week in, he professed his love for me, made inappropriate jokes and comments I wasn’t comfortable with, and confessed some very dark addictions he had. It was a lot for a dating newbie like me to take in. 

But instead of recognizing that I didn’t have to stay in something so overwhelming and uncomfortable, I gave control to my guilt. How could I leave someone who cried as he revealed his dark secrets? Who claimed I was the only one who could “save” him? Who said he had “visions” that he and I live happily ever after? Who followed me around everywhere like a little puppy dog?

Four years. I dated him for four years, living in his parents’ basement, completely isolated from the world. I couldn’t have any friends because he had to go with me everywhere and his constant attachment to me was very unsettling and off-putting to people. I cried myself to sleep every single night, convinced that there was something wrong with me; that I just wasn’t fun enough or outgoing enough to have friends. 

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My bacon rarely saw the light of day during that time. I didn’t know the difference between my bacon and my guilty feelings quite yet. I honestly believed my overwhelming guilt WAS my bacon, so I listened to it. 

Not long after I finally ended that relationship, I dived into another one. Sadly, it was a similar situation. He had an addiction, but instead of attaching to me, he was very distant, making me feel unloved and not worth a whole lot. I again felt guilty, like it was my fault that I was so unlovable. It made me bitter, desperate, and very depressed. 

When it finally got to be too much, I ended things… three years later. This time was much more difficult for me because I had been friends with him for years even before we started dating. He also took advantage of my guilt, claiming I was “abandoning” him. (Talk about guilt triggers.) He said he was angry that I wouldn’t stick with him through it. I did a lot of flip-flopping, and I almost caved. But I’m happy to say that I somehow managed to hold my ground, because as much as I loved him, I knew nothing would change for either one of us, and that I would just be enabling him by staying.

It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. And I felt guilty for a long time. But eureka, I somehow made it through and my bacon is finally getting the sizzle time it deserves!

A Relationship Held Together By Guilt is Toxic for Your Bacon

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Guilt is a powerful little booger, especially when it sticks its pesky nose into our relationships. It sneezes all over them until they’re gross and crusty. (Sorry for the disgusting metaphor.) Unfortunately, one person usually gets stuck trying to clean it all up while the other just sits there and watches. 

If you’re the person who’s always bringing the tissues and Lysol, it’s time for the rubber gloves to come off, Karen.

It’s easy to misinterpret guilt as your bacon. You think you are obliged to fight the good fight; that it’s who you are, and that it’s the “right” thing to do.

Here are some common messages your snotty guilt may be trying to mask as your bacon in your relationship:

It will get better.

He/she will change if I do/say_______.

I can’t abandon him/her.

I am a bad person if I leave.

It will be better this time, I just have to give him/her another chance.

I am a forgiving person, so I need to overlook this issue.

Nobody’s perfect, so I shouldn’t be picky.

It’s selfish of me to want to leave.

I just have to be patient. 

This is who I’m supposed to be, and I can only be this way with this person.

I’ve invested so much into this relationship; I can’t let it go to waste.

I’m just overreacting.

I need to stay and help this person through their issues. 

If I leave, I might miss out on what I hoped this could become.

I can’t hurt his/her feelings. I can’t be the reason he/she cries.

If he/she seems happy with the way things are, then I should be happy.

What will people say if we break up? They will be disappointed.

I don’t want to rock the boat and disturb the peace. I’ll just let it go.

What if I regret breaking up with him/her later?

I’m supposed to get married. Maybe he/she will change after that.

I have to make this work. I have to make him/her care about me. It’s my fault if he/she doesn’t.

Guilt makes us latch onto things that are super not-good for us. In relationships, it may even make you feel a little like you’re drowning. It feels difficult to breathe at times, and you keep using your guilt to try and stay afloat, even though it’s full of holes and deflating. You’re in denial that the giant yacht with a hefty life preserver right behind you (i.e. your bacon) is the only way you’re ever going to get out and move forward. 

Why? Because you’ve convinced yourself that you would be leaving your partner to drown. But I have news for you: your partner isn’t even in the water with you. He/she is off sitting on the beach getting a suntan and sipping piña coladas, watching as you struggle in the distance.

Don’t punish yourself with your guilt. It’s hard to overcome, but if you have some internal conflict going on regarding your relationship, there’s a reason. Your bacon is trying to tell you it wants out, and that staying in your current situation is smothering it. 

So grab a tissue, cleanse yourself of that snotty guilt, and put that bacon in a frying pan where it belongs!

9 thoughts on “He Loves My Bacon, She Loves It Not: Guilt Should Never Be the Reason You Stay

    1. Make sure the hole is atleast six foot deep and the ‘recycling bag’ you are carrying has no red stains in it after you return from ‘the dump’
      PS; yes you don’t know me and yes what I’ve said could cause offence, but I am male and we do it all the time!


  1. Been single for what is bordering double digit years
    Bad; Its depressing and I can’t go ropeless bungie jumping because there is no one to look after the Cactus
    Good; Less bills, less having to dress up and no one to complain if my fridge is empty but my own tummy

    Enjoy single life as long you need, buy batteries if that is your preference (read into that as you wish!) and enjoy not having to brow beat a man into ironing a shirt before going out and worrying if his brain mouth filter will offend friends and family
    If you want a demanding hairy lump that requires attention; a dog if you like fussing over it or a cat if you want a commitment free deal (but know the cat will cheat on you with other families, but will never lie about it as it demands you feed it food and tummy rubs!)

    PS; if you want a Cactus, with my ‘life sentence reminder day’ coming up, most know it as a birthday!
    I have a greatly behaving Cactus you can adopt if you want an anti-social bar steward back in your life?!


    Liked by 1 person

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