Ending a relationship, no matter which role you are filling, is hard to do. Through a break up, you find yourself asking a myriad of questions — was it my fault? Am I not worthy of love? Do I have a pattern? What the hell went wrong?
It was 1:34am on a Wednesday when the man I had been dating for over a year, the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, the absolute-sure, no-doubt love of my life shattered my soul. The walls closed in and a very real, very physical pain shot through my body, battling through me until finally finding a comfortable spot in the gaping hole that previously housed my heart.
I had never been in love before, and to make matters worse, I had never been dumped. The emotional co-dependency that had developed was the cherry on top of my relationship-mistake sundae. I, like so many before me, truly believed that against all odds and statistics that little ol’ me, would be the one person to conquer and be loved the way that I wanted to be loved.
A slew of friends, family, and trained therapists called, came over, talked to me, supportively holding my hand and hugging me close. None of it helped. The advice you hear is rather disheartening: throw yourself out there and start dating immediately, curl up in a ball and don’t come out for a month, fight back and get even, wait it out and he’ll come back, and so on.
At the two week marker, I wanted to go bury myself alive. I cried and drank myself to sleep every night. I stopped eating. I stopped living and just started existing. I sincerely believed that I was never going to feel better, that the pain would dull with time, but it would never be better.
But then a friend of a friend, someone who I had never met before, a complete stranger to me, spoke the two words that finally gave me my breakthrough: Life happens. So simple and yet so unbelievably profound.
He followed up with: Stop judging yourself. You are human and you have to forgive yourself. If you two are meant to be, if you really love him as much as you say you do, then you’ll be together. If not, then you won’t. Life is only as complicated as you allow it.
My breakthrough was the realization that I had to stop worrying. This world, especially the people who populate it, are not in my control.
I had to accept my humanity, my ability to make mistakes and love myself again. Not for him, but for me. I had broken my cardinal rule of becoming dependent on him for validation, for the feeling of love, he was my “other half.”
But when you really think about it, if you are your own self-aware individual with no crisis in identity and no need for validation – two wholes are better than one.
Share with us your breakup stories–and what you did to move on.