At some point in our lives we all have experienced the crippling and heart wrenching pain of a break up. Some are more severe than others, but nonetheless they hurt. No break up is easy. There is no guidebook, no right way to do it.
My latest break up was the worst one to date. I dedicated 2 years of my life building my existence around another person, putting their needs before mine all the time. Out of respect for that person I wont go into detail over what that relationship cost me. However, I will say that the depths I went for that person came at great cost. Me.
That loss became evermore real and painful when I was broken up via text message, and a work colleague of mine had replaced me a month later. Through endless posts on social media stating how happy she was now with her new girlfriend, the agonizing pain I felt at the time was something from a nightmare. That smile she once reserved for me was now given so easily to another person. I lost what seemed the love of my life and was so readily replaced by someone I thought was becoming my friend. All that I had given that relationship became redundant and pointless because now she was happy with someone else and I was left a broken mess.
As we all do in our post break up state, we analyse where it went wrong. When my friend told me my ex was already in a new relationship, I wasn’t surprised. For me it was inevitably going to happen. I had my suspicions. We had grown apart and she had located a new source of attention months before she ended it with me. It got me thinking, as we all do when our ex’s move on, ‘ what do they have that I don’t’? Apart from small superficial differences, the only thing I really found was that her new girlfriend is bubbly, funny and quirky. When I finally overcame my self-analysis and comparison, I released that there was no real difference. She’s just a version of me two years ago.
It was in that realization that for the first time since the break up, I had clarity. After everything that happened during our relationship, I lost myself. I used to be someone who was so confident, funny, and outgoing. I was no longer that girl that used to light up a room. I became anxious, hostile, and withdrawn. I had given so much to that relationship, that I lost sight of myself and who I was. I’m not saying that I became that version of myself solely because of my relationship. That is not true and unfair to say. I would be lying however if I said that it wasn’t a major part of it.
Now I’m not saying my ex and I didn’t have good times…. We certainly did. I loved her. A part of me will always love her and cherish what we had. Without her support I would of found coming out to my family even more difficult than it was. For that I will always be grateful. As a couple we were great together. However as time went by things started to crumble, when the pressures of moving from a young relationship to an adult one took hold of us. We drifted apart but loved each other too much to really admit it was over. We both held on to the thought it would get better and things would change. Unfortunately time wasn’t on our side and we became two very different people.
I can’t deny that the breakup was the best option for both of us. On reflection it was over for both of us long before she ended it. Trust me when I say it’s taken me a lot of reflection and upset reaching that conclusion. . I would of given anything to make it work but sometimes you have to come to the conclusion its just not worth it anymore. When a relationship becomes more about what’s not working rather than what is, you have to decide if its worth the time and anguish. Its never easy admitting when you love someone that you’re better off without that person. Countless times my friends and family would say I wasn’t myself and that I looked miserable. Its only when you’re on the outside looking in you realize that although you loved them, they weren’t right for you.
Since the breakup I released what I sacrificed, or was prepared to sacrifice. As a masters graduate I would never have considered moving away to do a PhD. The financial burden of my then relationship would of never allowed me to continue my driving lessons or keep a car. My mental health never would have been a priority because I was too busy worrying if my depression was putting her off me. The list goes on. Ultimately what I was willing to sacrifice was my present and future based on the premise that things would change and we would be happy again.
What that breakup taught me is that it’s so important to take care of you. It’s about finding a balance between you and the other person. It’s so easy to be consumed by them and the happiness they offer. However, its also important not to neglect your friends, family, and stuff that makes you. …Well you! I made the mistake of falling into the trap of thinking that my happiness rested on them being happy. Although we should recognize their happiness is important, neglecting yourself will eventually cost you more than the relationship is worth and that relationship.
As cliché as this may seem, I always remember the quote ‘ sometimes, we have to choose between what is right and what is easy’. For me the breakup was the right thing to happen. Now I’m happily single and focusing on me, and what makes me happy. Although on occasion my thoughts turn towards her and wonder how she is, I no longer think of her in a bad way. That breakup has given me a new lease of life, the energy and the focus to make positive changes and build myself up again. If I meet someone now I know that I wont allow myself to get lost again and to focus on what makes me happy. I know now that a relationship shouldn’t be so hard and that it should be natural and fun.
When it starts to take hold of you and change you for the worse its time to let go….
By Kim Jewell