Why shouldn’t one celebrate a break-up?
We (kinda) celebrated (more like I did, he could have cared less) our date-aversary and our anniversary. So, hell yeah, I’m happy to have survived three full months of having my life changed with one conversation. One decision. When your break-up lands on Friday the 13th you know it’s something special 😉 Lucky me, huh?
It’s okay to not be okay. It’s one thing to say it, but it’s one thing to truly believe it and FEEL it.
So, here we are. A full three months since we had that fateful conversation in the early morning hours on Friday the 13th in April. That woman that sat there, staring in disbelief at Juan, is NOT the woman who writes this post today. The transformation that has occurred is something I can barely put into words. It was something I knew that needed to happen, but I wasn’t ready to work at being this woman or the woman I knew I could AND should become. For reasons that are still unknown, I allowed my light to be dimmed and remained stagnant in a life where unhappiness hung like a dark cloud over everything.
I’m sure you don’t see it. I’m sure many don’t see it. But I have changed. In such small, minute ways, I can feel it. The change happened slowly and it’s still happening. But without sounding absurd, I know my thoughts and emotional patterns are changing within me. It’s not a physical change that anyone can see. It’s an internal change, a shift in how I perceive, think, and process what is happening within me and outside of me. I don’t expect anyone to understand or notice it, but I am proud of this transformation. I actually put it into practice while speaking to (technically texting) Juan for the first time in like six weeks. I found it rather odd to be able to process his words differently than the “old” I would have. Being able to let go of certain things, words and ideas, was hard, but I did it. I sat there knowing he has no idea how much I have changed and I almost felt bad for him. He doesn’t get to experience this different, better, version of myself. I realized that’s okay too. Overall, it’s been enlightening, yet completely scary. I am learning to challenge myself in ways I think most people do not or will not allow themselves too. And that’s okay. I just know it’s helping me be the best version of myself for everyone I love and spend my time with.
By no means am I “happy” per se or feel like I’m “totally over it (the relationship),” but I’m well on my way to figuring things out and settling into the unknown of the future, okay not feeling okay, and being as present as possible. All of this was not something I could do, let alone handle three months ago. I am so thankful to those who have gone out of their way to let me know they’ve seen changes in me. It truly feels nice to hear that others are noticing a shift in me, whether it is perceived through social media or from interactions with me. I appreciate that others feel comfortable enough to share this with me. I don’t think, as a society, we do this enough. So, when someone does, I truly take it to heart and know that the path I’m walking is the right one. All the things Juan couldn’t or wouldn’t say, I’ve been hearing from those that truly do love and support me and it feels amazing. At first, it felt like their words wrapped me in strength when they saw that I needed it most, now their words feel like they are reflecting the light I’m putting into this world. It makes my heart happy and I smile as I write this. I don’t take this lightly or for granted. So, if you are one of the kind souls who have told me in person, text me, or reached out in some way — THANK YOU for really seeing me and recognizing the changes I’m slowly making for myself.
Every time someone asks me, “How are you doing?” I’m never quite sure how to respond. I’m in this odd place between almost happy and not-quite-happy. It’s not a bad place at all. It’s not like the first six to eight weeks post-breakup, where everything felt so raw and painful. But I’m also not at the enlightened self of happiness either. Each day is different and each answer is also a new awkward way for me to express this. But know that I’m healing in the right direction. Accepting the harder moments and celebrating the small victories as they come.
Through therapy, books, research, conversations, and deep reflection, I want to share five things to celebrate three months of this chapter in my life.
5 Things I Learned From Our Relationship
Discernment – This is one of the first things that came about through therapy. Discernment is the ability to judge well. When you initially start to date someone, you need to practice discernment. Meeting and connecting with someone is an amazing feeling, but it might allow you to forget to discern the person and/or situation. You may want to pretend you don’t see the red flags since you are giddy with infatuation and falling in love. But this is where you really need to remind yourself to discern. Is this person truly compatible with you? Do your values match or compliment one another’s? Are you trying to ignore red flags? Are you so enthralled with the connection you are not seeing things as they truly are? We all do it or we have done it. Starting a relationship is (usually) an amazing feeling. All the newness and special moments to share, but being self-aware and discerning the situation is just as important as allowing yourself to be open to love.
Boundaries – If you don’t set them, resentment will build up. It literally seems as if I had none in our relationship, I learned. Well, I did have some, but they weren’t respected and I didn’t hold true to them. It is okay to ask for certain things, but if they aren’t met then it needs to be addressed, not ignored. The resentment will build and resentment leads to all the bad stuff in a relationship. I had no clue about the idea of boundaries in a relationship. I understand and know the word, but I had no idea they were important for a healthy relationship to thrive. Setting boundaries seem to be a key factor in a healthy relationship. I have yet to read it, but I bought a book a friend recommended that truly focuses on this topic: Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships. The fact that I am truly cognizant of this idea means I now have the ability to set them in any relationship in my life – love, friend, or family.
Here and now – I learned this from the Power of Now. It is a mantra I use when my mind starts spiraling into dark places of regret, anger, or even thinking about Juan. If you are truly present, those thoughts will have no impact on you. If you allow yourself to be present, you understand that nothing in the past or even in the next five minutes will affect how you feel at THIS moment. It was such an awakened thought for me, I’ve held on to it. It’s my mantra and I say it to myself when needed. The present moment is all I have. This idea would have helped so much with my anxiety during the whole family court process. I was so worried about things that were out of my control. No matter how much Juan reminded me of this, I couldn’t fathom the idea that I couldn’t do anything or help by making choices or thoughts to help the future. But after fully falling into this notion, I realize he was right and I probably should have taken a cue from him. But I didn’t, but I’m here understanding it now. It’s just another lesson I’ve learned through our break up.
You can love the same person differently – Through a lot of hurt, I finally realized that I was lucky to share the love between Juan and I. I put myself fully into our relationship and I know he did at times too, the best he could anyway. But, our love was not enough for us. Again, that is okay. No one will have the love we shared. It will always be special between the two of us. There will be others after him (for me) and others after me (for him), but our love shared will always be irreplaceable, even though new love will come for both of us. And that’s okay. I can also love him from afar, it is just a different love. A space in my heart, but still love that appreciates the times and lessons I learned from loving him (and L too). It’s not the love we shared together, it’s a fond love from the time of life we shared at that point in our lives. My love has just transformed into something different. It is neither right nor wrong, it is just what happened. There is no need to be angry about it. This transformed love doesn’t protect me from feeling hurt, but it does remind me that being open to love and fully loving someone is an amazing feeling to experience.
Not everyone is meant to stay in your life – There are still split seconds when I want what Juan and I had. This notion has always been hard for me to accept, especially with friendships. But as each year passes, I realize I only want those who want to stay. To be here and now with me, effort and all. People leave your life. Their absence leaves a space for someone else to fill, someone who wants to be there and share experiences, moments, and everything else with you. Romantic or not. Just because they leave doesn’t mean I wish them ill will. I still hope that Juan has opportunities to grow and surrounds himself with people make him happy and allow him to be his authentic self. It is not about me not being the person who could do this for him, it’s accepting that he was not meant to stay in my life forever. At times I still have to remind myself this. It was not a mistake to put myself fully into someone who couldn’t give his full self in return.
Indifference is a relationship warning sign – When you become indifferent in your relationship, that should be your cue to leave or change something. Love and anger are linear, although opposite. They are on the opposite ends of the same line and this is important to remember. However, when you get off the line and become indifferent, this is something your relationship might not come back from. I had become indifferent. I told Juan this, but it was never addressed. I didn’t realize how damaging the feeling of indifference can be for a relationship. I felt this way for a variety of reasons, but mostly because I continued to compromise more of myself than I felt I should ever have to for our relationship. The guilt and complacency knowing I was indifferent manifested into resentment. Indifference can allow you to close yourself off from the relationship, shut off caring, and shut off growing together. I’m sure if addressed early, your relationship can come back from this. But when it is expressed and ignored, it just festers and you are no longer on the linear line of love.
I have allowed myself to become everything Juan couldn’t be. I realized that what I thought he could and should do for me, was actually already within me. It just took him showing me he couldn’t see it, for me to finally see it. He is still on my mind more than I’d like to admit. But I am wholeheartedly okay admitting it too. I know there is no timetable for healing and my thoughts of him may never fully go away. But I know my small victories create the path to moving on. So when I don’t check his social media, I celebrate that small victory. When I deleted our old text messages, I celebrated the small victory. When I come across a picture of us and I can smile, I celebrate the small victory. This is what you do when you are healing. It is important to celebrate your small victories, whatever they are.
We have a lot of great memories AND we have some not so great memories. All of which made up our relationship and the love that we shared. The irreplaceable, not forever love we shared. Our love is just different now. It’s a love of once known familiarity. As time moves along and we are learning to unlearn one another, life opens itself up to us in our own way. It’s not that I care less, it’s just that I care differently. And that is okay. It is okay to move forward taking care of myself, becoming the woman I want to be.
If you find yourself in a similar situation to myself, here is some advice I recently read and I hope it sticks with you:
“The right partner doesn’t change you-you change yourself when you feel free enough to be loved for who you really are.”
Juan and I both deserve happiness and unfortunately, it just wasn’t together. I truly believe we were both put in each other’s lives for a specific reason, but more importantly, we both were removed from each other’s lives for another reason. Whatever the lesson(s) is, we are learning them now, individually. We both deserve to find someone who allows us to grow, have fun, explore, change, and become more. The right person will fuel these desires and allow our dreams to be more feasible together. I know the right person won’t always make me feel comfortable and the relationship won’t be easy, but I will know it is right when I feel completely loved for the woman I truly am!
Slowly find the GOOD in goodbye…