The Breakup That Changed Me
The Breakup That changed Me
“You think you’ve loved, until you love”
This is the blog that I dreaded writing. After I wrote it, I dreaded posting it. I re-read it over 20 times and that is not an exaggeration. This is the blog that to me, would signify the end of something that I deeply cared about. I guess I was holding on to hope. That is until I realized that if I have to hold on so tight to the point where it hurts then it’s time to let go. That if I have to wonder if it’s over, it very much is. I’ve actually known this, it’s just been hard to accept. I’m sure you’ve noticed that every time something huge happens in my life, I disappear. I don’t do well with change but I know it’s inevitable so I deal with it as best I can. This time the change came in the form of a break-up. I have been dealing with this for the past few weeks. Not only was I dealing, I was fighting it. I just said I don’t deal well with change, well I am even worst when that change involves losing someone I care about.
Here’s the back story: I have been dating since I was 14 years old. I have dated a lot. The only reason that I can think for this is that I have been forcefully looking for the perfect partner to prevent my life from ending like my parents. A bit sad, I know. I dated my first boyfriend for 3 years, he cheated on me, we tried to fix it, it didn’t work. It was my first real heart break. At that age, most people look at you and say “you are 14 you can’t be that heart broken.” The difference was that at that same time I was dealing with other very difficult situations such as self-harm, my mother’s cancer and my father’s dementia along with other things I one day may be ready to open up about. You can argue that maybe my heart wasn’t broken, but I know for a fact it was exhausted. I was going through so many confusing feelings and instead of dealing with them I would spend all of my energy pretending that I was okay.
The next few years in college went a little bit like this: I would date people that I can say I loved and/or deeply cared about but the second the relationship ended I was so good at pretending to not care that I’d just move on. This was a time in which I developed a lot of insecurities when it came to dating. At the same time, dating apps and social media were becoming popular and it felt as if cheating was just one click away. It was a terrible coincidence that any time a relationship around me ended, including my own, it was due to some form of cheating through technology that would somehow come to light. I became a bit paranoid about such things. I also became a bit insecure about myself; was I capable of truly loving someone? Was I good enough to be loved?
After college, I dated a few more people, this time more seriously. I became more conscious about my choices in partners and I also had strict expectations of what I wanted from a relationship. One of my biggest requirements was always to date someone that had a huge, loving family because when it came down to turning things more seriously I always pictured being surrounded by an amazing support system. A lot of my other expectations weren’t the kind that were impossible to meet, I wanted someone who was able to provide me with the same basic things that a relationship needs. I wanted someone who understood my scars, physically and emotionally. Someone that would let me fight through my own battles and wasn’t afraid to offer support if and when needed. At the time I thought I was asking for those things because I was ready to offer them back.
One of the guys I dated, came from a Muslim family who did not accept him dating anyone outside of their culture. We tried to make it work, and even though he was willing to give up his family for me, I wasn’t ready for him to. I also wasn’t ready to give up my dream of becoming a part of a loving family. I left. I came back. And I left again. I hurt him a lot and I’ll forever be sorry for that, but at that time I didn’t believe in the power of love. All I believed in was in my dream. After that, I dated another guy who had really bad habits and even worse friends. He came from an amazing family and I cared deeply for him but he didn’t care enough for himself. At this point, I thought I believed in the power of love, but even if I did I don’t know if that would’ve been enough. The bad habits took over our relationship. The repetitive behaviors got so old for me and even though he swore he’d change, the wounds were so deep I only had one choice and that was to run away. Boy, did I run. I ran all the way to another continent. But right as I was running, someone new walked into my life.
This happened the way every other love story happens. I had no intentions of meeting anyone. I was finally ready to leave and start over somewhere new. To be alone and build myself up. To figure out why I was having such trouble at finding the love I knew I deserved. But I had just met someone whose eyes made me feel like the stars had finally aligned and like I was finally ready to put a stop to all the bullshit and let myself fall.
I came back.
I had never been more excited about anything. We had made so many plans while I was away. I had already met his family on our first date. We video chatted and messaged every single day while I was away. Back then, I didn’t realize that I was depending a lot of my happiness on a person; one that I barely knew. The first few months were great, but like anything else that is rushed we started to fall apart and we had nowhere to run because we lived together. I wouldn’t have run even if we didn’t. What I soon realized is that I had made a choice. I had chosen this man throughout all of our fights, our highs and our lows. I had chosen him throughout everything. I had finally found faith in love and I thought that we would overcome anything because of it.
Here’s the thing about having faith in love: it doesn’t matter how much of it you have, it doesn’t work unless the other person involved has it too.
The break-up happened suddenly. We both had made so many mistakes. Time for him had run out and change wasn’t an option. We were both exhausted. I immediately moved out. I was in so much pain that it felt as if I would never recover.
I began by focusing on myself. I looked at my own mistakes. At the time, they didn’t feel so wrong but eventually I started to feel guilty. After I made peace with myself and the things that I did wrong, I decided to take a look at his. I made the decision that those mistakes were ones that I was willing to work through because after all, relationships are not always easy. I believe that all you have to do is find the person that you are willing to fight through the bad moments with. I knew that change wasn’t going to happen immediately but I knew that it was possible because I believed in the love that I had for him and the love he had for me. After all, isn’t that what having faith in love is?
It was a Sunday afternoon when I heard from him next. That day, for some reason I knew that I would be hearing from him even though I had no idea what I would be hearing about, I just knew it was going to happen.
“Hey, you received something in the mail” read the text message.
After deciding it was an important piece of mail I asked him to mail it to me. I wanted to remain strong in being away from him. He responded by asking me to pick it up and I agreed. He opened the downstairs door and handed me my stuff. I said thank you and as I was about to walk away he asked:
“Were you planning on coming up?”
“If you want to talk, sure.”
He moved over to let me in and we went upstairs. We talked about life, work and all the basics. Then we talked about the relationship. I made myself vulnerable again and told him exactly what I had been thinking about. He replied with some short answer about how he hadn’t had time to think about anything because he had been so busy. I flashed back to the endless hours I had spent thinking about us and how we could make it work and here he was telling me “he hadn’t had time.” My heart broke for a second time.
He continued talking about his surface feelings, never digging deep enough to actually have one last meaningful conversation. He nonchalantly mentioned the vacation we were supposed to take together and drive 12 hours to just a week from that moment and how he could listen to music all the way there or MAYBE he would take the time to think about the things we were going through. My heart broke for a third time and last time.
I decided it was time to leave. We hugged good bye and I thought I could’ve held him until the end of time. I left. I cried. I texted him. On the way home I felt angry for the last time. I knew I was ready to walk away, but I also felt like a hypocrite. I was just telling this man how I was willing to fight for us; how I was never going to give up but the problem now was that I had just realized it was time to walk away.
That’s when it hit me: I’m no hypocrite, I meant everything that I said to him, all I needed was for him to give me a hint of possibility that he too was willing to do what was necessary. Instead, he let his pride take over. I no longer felt guilty. I had blamed myself for not doing enough but the truth is that I didn’t give up, I had a door slammed shut and locked in my face so I simply turned around and walked away.
I’ll never know the exact thing that drove us to that point of the relationship. I’ll never know why, if it was love, it wasn’t enough to make him stay. To accept the relationship and its flaws the way I was willing to and attempt to change the things that we could and compromise on the ones we couldn’t. What I do know today is that there are certain things that can’t and shouldn’t be asked of another person. These are things that need to happen organically and will when I meet a person that is ready. I finally understand that a person’s imperfections shouldn’t matter and won’t drive the right person away. I know that when the time is right someone that is worthy will walk in and reciprocate everything that I have to offer. It’ll be someone who has also finally learned how to have faith in love.
Until the Next Late Night,