I never thought that I would be writing about dealing with a relationship break up. Let alone pressing publish on a piece of writing about my own relationship ending. Having such an awful, private matter becoming public frightened me. But then I remembered that this is such a common occurrence – couples split up and go their separate ways all the time. I felt like I needed to split myself open and just write whatever came up…
I wanted to go through this whole ordeal quietly, keeping my integrity intact. And I have.
I started writing this letter on Wednesday, 9th of April 2018. At that point I was a newly single woman adjusting to her newly single life after nearly six years with someone. I wanted to write down how I felt, daily feelings, frustrations, moments of grief, conversations that I had with myself in my head. Don’t get me wrong, I know exactly how strange that sounds – but for the last six months of my life I’ve constantly had this angel and devil scenario sitting on my shoulders.
My mind was telling me one thing and my heart another. “Do this, but think about that””What will the repercussions be?” “Okay, do the other thing… but that could happen?” I had a tense war going on in my mind and constantly struggled with feelings of being undesirable, unwanted and unimportant. I felt like no matter how much I opened up about my feelings, I was never worth the time or effort. There is only so much pain and disappointment a person can take before it becomes too hurtful to be with the person causing that pain.
Friends of mine would say we looked perfect on the outside, but for me… it was easy to hide the real issues from the outside world. Especially with things like social media portraying these perfectly made-up lives. My life isn’t perfect. It’s pretty badass, but it’s far from perfect. What even is perfect? How is ‘perfect’ measured?
I felt so numb and had this crazy sense of disbelief. My life literally felt like that song ‘Say Something‘ by A Great Big World, and I couldn’t go a day without sobbing for what felt like a completely broken life. Broken to pieces. Every day felt like this endless abyss and I was desperate for answers I was probably never going to receive.
I lost not only a relationship – but a best friend, my home, my pets and so many mutual dreams. I was grieving for not only the package of a relationship, and everything that includes. But also for my broken heart and the fact that he didn’t try. Going from having someone who meant the world to me, who I could confide in, tell my secrets to, share all the most intimate parts of my life… to being strangers with that person is probably one of the most painful experiences a person can go through. So much investment, to have it deteriorate so slowly and painfully. Falling to pieces, ruined. I shared my body and my mind with him, and it’s all over.
What was I supposed to do with these emotions, all this time, all this space within myself I had set aside for him?
I was, and still am, so angry.
Being on my own is something I haven’t really experienced since I was seventeen. That’s over ten years of being with different partners, one after the other. I haven’t really spent an extended amount of time on my own in my adult life. Now that I am on my own it’s taking a while to adjust. It’s something I need to do for myself.
I was a lot of things in my relationship, but towards the end, happy wasn’t one of them. Disappointed? Yes. Full of heartache and anger? Fuck yes (and still am). I tried so hard to hold on, but it was over and I didn’t want to feel this tiresome aching anymore. I was well and truly over bargaining with myself for nothing. It was a waste of my time.
The relationship couldn’t be fixed, and I needed him to understand why I was leaving and not hate me for it. I couldn’t be happy like that, and he couldn’t be happy with a miserable partner. I was falling to pieces while I was with him. It was the mature thing to do – leave before I started resenting the relationship. I went deeper into negotiating, compromising to keep the love alive. Until one day I realised at the end, “Well shit it’s over, this is it”. I was left with this confused feeling that you feel after you’re supposedly done with someone you deeply care for, even though it might be best for me.
When I left, I had the biggest ugly cry. Like, you know when you cry and you make noise? Yeah, that happened. Conversations about potential marriage, buying a house and our future travel ideas. Gone. We shared so many dreams, but they weren’t the dreams that were going to get us through the hardest times of our relationship. Everything was completely shattered, along with all the work I had done to save what we had. I began losing pieces of him long before March 2018 came along. I was desperate to keep the relationship afloat.
How strange is it though, that you can know everything there is about someone – and then suddenly know nothing about them? I don’t think our brains are wired to deal with that kind of abrupt relationship severing. It’s like, one minute someone is there and a part of your life, and then they disappear.
It’s been so helpful writing these emotions down. I’ve never really kept diaries or a journal, but it felt right to document the thoughts and feelings I’ve had up until now. I’ve talked with others, and more than anything it’s helpful to know that I’m not alone with my feelings. I’m going to be seeing a therapist soon, I just haven’t prioritised it until now. I feel ready to open up to someone about dealing with everything.
It was such a struggle, that first month of being alone. When you’ve been with someone for several years, it feels like they are still everywhere even after they are gone. Their memory is in the things you may have bought together: pets, clothes, art, music and photos. I still see him around in things I own. Words can’t express the pain when that thud hits my heart. It hurts because we may be physically separated – but it still feels like he’s deeply connected to certain things. I can’t listen to Bruce Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire‘ anymore – that was our song. What do you do when suddenly ‘your person’ isn’t ‘your person’ anymore?
No one talks about the empty feeling of getting home and being alone. Or walking around the supermarket, looking at things they like to eat. Hearing bands you saw live together, watching the TV shows you both watched or reading certain words and hearing it in their voice. I mean, it’s relaxing and peaceful at times but it takes getting used to. No longer having someone to snuggle into at night. It’s tough at times.
Rebuilding & Hope
I’m slowly finding my way back to my true self again. Day by day. Re-falling in love with the things I have missed doing the most. Filling my life with friendships that matter, and dessert (of course). My smile is coming back. I feel like it vanished for a while. It’s like my face forgot how to move its smile muscles.
I don’t want to get over him, but I will. The pain will always be there, but the heartache will get smaller and the intensity will fade. It’s hard moving on, knowing that this particular person was the absolute love of my life and now they aren’t around anymore. I knew I needed to change things though; I love myself enough to know that I deserved more. I didn’t feel stable towards the end of my relationship, and no one should ever feel this way. I needed to learn that it’s okay to let go. Maybe neither of us could grow anymore while remaining together.
For a while there my life was so full, it felt right and it felt so whole. My life still feels full but in different ways. Now, I’m concentrating on myself and my wellbeing. It’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation. I’m practising self-love and giving myself the time to heal from something that broke me.
I think I had forgotten that nothing is really forever. That it’s okay, and that sometimes it just doesn’t work out no matter how unfair it might seem.
There is something quite liberating about learning to find the beauty in the unknown. Not knowing what my life is going to look like in the next twelve months, or five years. I’m starting to feel more secure, confident, and independent. There’s a fire in my belly, and I’m excited to see where I’ll go next.
Change is a powerful thing. It’s beautiful, and at times unstable. But I’m okay with being right where I am. I’m on my own again and I feel fragile, but my spirit already feels lighter and ready for whatever comes next.
I loved him wildly, I loved him freely, and I loved him with every ounce of my being. I was truly delighted to be in his life.
But that’s all over now, and it’s okay to start over.