…and letting go.
This seems to be the last and hardest part of the relationship process. Obviously with a breakup, but also with any relationship ending too. Or any situation that has posed strife or hardships. While they are independent, moving on and letting go, most times one precludes the other. Not always, but sometimes. This has, by far, been the hardest thing for me to do. I can’t control it and when I do, I only makes it harder on myself.
My intuition is too good, sometimes I try to ignore it. The evening I heard Juan speaking Spanish to someone on the phone late at night, I knew. My gut told me exactly what it was. Not even a week (or two, the date is blurry at this point) into our breakup and still living together (the earlier ‘me’ told myself) he was already looking to ‘replace’ me. The ‘current’ me knows he was trying to find whatever he felt would bring him immediate happiness. We all dread the moment we find out when our ex chooses their next partner, whether its long-term or a one night stand, it f***ing hurts! The first one (that you know about) will hurt, I don’t care how strong you are. It’s also natural (but in no way healthy) to feel the need to compare yourself to the new person, look at their social media, or make assumptions about them, their lives, and their new role with your ex. I did all of this, knowing it would stunt and prolong my healing process. No matter what my therapist and friends said, the curiosity was too strong and my willpower was nonexistent. I went through all the emotions. Anger. Sadness. Bitterness. But overall, the emotion I wasn’t seeing or truly feeling was hurt.
I knew he would find someone first. He knew he would look for someone first. His family knew it too. And so did his friends. We ALL knew it. It still didn’t make it any easier. It has taken me time to accept that no matter which woman comes next, it would and will hurt. No matter what she looked like, what she does for a living or her social media, it will always hurt to see someone you once loved move on without you. It’s normal. It’s okay to feel whatever the hell you feel. It is a weird, and at times, infuriating place to be — the high of feeling freer than I’ve felt in years, then the stumble and fall into a vortex of spending mental energy on people who have no relevance to my life.
Eventually, you have to move on and let go…eventually…
In whatever order and time frame you need too. Way effffing easier said than done, right? My ah-ha moments of understanding this have been clear and uplifting to my growth. The other day I heard a song on Pandora, for some reason I stopped to truly listen to the words. It was essentially the singer saying that her ex-man’s new woman would never be as good as her. Instead of singing along and aligning with it, I did not agree with the lyrics at all. She will never be me and I don’t want her to be, nor do I want to compare us. There is literally no need for that, just like I wouldn’t want to compare my next relationship to my past relationship(s). I long ago realized the love that two people share will never be replaced or replicated. Nothing he or she does is a reflection of me, even if I try to personalize something. No woman, myself included, should try to replicate the love that was shared between two people. Each relationship should develop its own memories and experiences. This was one of my mistakes in our relationship — my insecurities of Juan’s past relationship haunted our relationship. Without the foundation of trust, setting appropriate boundaries, and him truly moving on from his previous relationship, our relationship never stood a chance to last a lifetime. We tried to pave the cracks, but without a strong foundation, nothing can continue in the long term.
As I was editing my post, I noticed a pattern that my therapist has pointed out before — I like to say what sounds good, even if I don’t truly believe it. I’ve already said all this fluffy stuff in previous posts because I feel like I have to qualify my feelings and thoughts in this space. I removed so many things that I wrote that I realized I wrote to make you feel better, the reader, not because they felt true to me. So, I deleted them. And it felt great to recognize this pattern and to take action
I admire those that can move on with ease. Does this happen in real life? Probably not. And when I say move on, I mean truly move on and process the situation quickly with no setbacks. Not move on to hide whatever they are truly feeling, so they don’t have to feel it. That, I feel sorry for. Those who can easily let a relationship go and appreciate it for what it was, that is whom I admire. As much as I want to be like that, it has not been the case, but I am trying.
The empathy I have for whoever dates him next is abundant, but it is also not my job to concern myself with what I think is best for her. Even though most of my being wants too. Hindsight is always so helpful, right? That is her journey to figure out and determine, my experiences and lessons have nothing to do with her. This has been hard to accept and understand.
The ugly rabbit hole of social media stalking has done me no good. A good friend reminded me “social media is fake.” Not in the true sense of the word fake, but she was saying that the majority of people share only stuff that reflects them in a ‘good light.’ Most don’t share the good AND the bad. And why would anyone? It makes sense. Looking for any type of validation or information will always be skewed in favor of the illusion of happiness and not reality. That is why she said what she said. She is more worried about my healing process and reminding me to truly work toward moving on.
I also had another friend tell me to ‘you should move on’ through social media. Well shit, as if I haven’t been trying to do that! Being open and very honest about what I am going through has been therapeutic. The connections this process has created has been so helpful. If you or anyone reads into what I share, it really isn’t on me. Telling me to move on is your choice, but leave your judgment out our conversation. I know the ‘things’ I’m supposed to be doing to heal, but sometimes it’s really efffing hard. Sometimes I falter and sometimes being strong seems overrated. I also know when people openly share their judgment of you, with you, it is more of a reflection of what is going on with them. But I also apply this to myself. So, I don’t take it to heart anymore, but I have also set a boundary around being receptive to this type of judgment. I kindly address the topic with them and share my gratitude for their honesty and directness with me, even if I have to kindly let them know I don’t really care or agree with what they’ve shared! This revelation really started when I had to address unwanted judgment about the break-up party. Its been a great exercise in boundaries, so thanks to those of you who have challenged me.
I have to put in the work and actively work through the process to be free of whatever I am holding onto. I am fully aware when I make decisions that go against this. Which is why I can sit here and openly admit I am still working through the process of moving on. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to be one hundred percent let go. I don’t think love works that way. When you love and share your life with someone for almost four and a half years, there are memories, good times, and lessons that will always resonate in your mind and heart. I don’t think moving on requires me forgetting or hiding those memories.
Just because you are having a hard time letting go, doesn’t mean you are necessarily holding on to it — a recent revelation for me. I’m not holding on to our relationship or even him, which is why letting go is so important, yet so hard. Trying to understand what my barriers are, where my hurt is (which I think I have pinpointed), and focusing my energy on myself and not what he is doing, are really HARD work most days. I loved our family dynamic, but see how completely flawed it was. I miss a physical and emotional connection with someone, but I will never settle for anything less than a partnership with someone else. Trying to unlearn our life together and falling into a centeredness I haven’t felt in years has proven to be a heavy emotional task. I don’t have a choice, but to move forward. This is a choice I remind myself each day, no matter what decisions I am challenged with each day.
Growing silently doesn’t quite feel right for me. My therapist would probably cringe at me sharing all of this. But as #NationalWorldHealthDay just passed, it felt right to share my thoughts. I’ve struggled with my perception of ‘strength’ and what it truly means to me. Thank God for therapy. It has heavily evolved over the last six months and I keep learning more. Yes, my thoughts wander to Juan and his new relationship from time to time. It is my goal to move forward and let those thoughts flow, but no longer give them any additional mental space. As everything has become easier with time, so will this. I love social media, but sometimes it is my own detriment. I forget that since I’m very authentic with my social presence, I assume everyone else is too. Which is obviously not the case. Gentle reminders from friends are helpful to see this, but really, it’s on me. It always has been on me. It will continue to be on me too.
New beginnings are often disguised as painful endings… – Lao Tzu