As I allude to in my first post back to this blog, after more than four years in a long-term relationship, I suddenly found myself single earlier this year. Yes, right before the cold months and the holidays, when no one wants to be single. Now, granted, it was my choice. But it didn't make it any less painful.
The truth is, there seemed to be so much more distance than warmth. And, as opposed to dealing with it, we'd sweep it under the rug and treat it as it were normal. This would lead to tension that would linger into the next fight. Then suddenly, we were staring at more tense moments than relaxed ones. And that was a feeling that sat on my mind and shoulders. I dealt with it by throwing myself into work and even picked up a very active workout life to both get out of the house and cope. But when I came home, the issues were still there. Eventually, not only could I not deal with it anymore but I just didn't want to.
It took months for me to sort out my feelings. Simply put, over time, I found that I was doing three things that couldn't have been healthy: (a) avoiding arguments by any means necessary by suppressing conversations about our issues (b) doubting how much fight I had left in me and (c) facing the fact that I wasn't the same version as myself when I got into this relationship. And, just like that, it clicked. This was more than a rut. The very foundation of what we had was being tested and I had to make a choice.
Although I grappled with my feelings for months, I held on for a very long time before I made the choice within myself. But when I did, my mind was made up in an instant. And suddenly the questions and thoughts I had were way different than ever before: I need to try something different for me. I need to figure out what it's gonna take to avoid hurting like this. I want to stop being angry.
And, for the first time in quite a while, I put my needs, wants and emotions into the mix. I went from worrying about us every second, to worrying about whether he would be OK, what he needed to be happy. And finally, I started worrying about me and whether I would be OK.
Truth is, I was scared senseless. Is this where the buck stops? Did I try hard enough? Will I have a chance at my own version of "Happily Ever After"? But, what ended up guiding my choice was one simple thought: I don't have all the answers, but I know it isn't working anymore.
Like that, the choice was clear. Months later, I still find myself thinking about the choice but not with doubt. Instead, every day I feel a little bit stronger, happier and a bit more at peace.
Do I know what tomorrow brings? Nope. And you better believe I'm working through it. Even a little scared of what comes next. But, slowly, I find myself reconnecting and making sense of the past, and even taking a lot of lessons from it. For that, I'm much smarter.
And in that case, no matter how painful, it had to end so I could ultimately choose myself... In which case, I'll take it.