One of the most upsetting questions I have ever asked myself was, Why did I stay in a relationship that was not making me happy?
Was it because I still loved him? or was it because I had grown accustomed to him?
Oh the epic internal battles I had over this question!
I created lists of the pros and cons of staying. I was so afraid to acknowledge what I knew, deep down. Some days the mere thought of a life without him petrified me because I loved him so damn much. Then, on other days I wanted to slap some sense into myself. I had spent more years without him than with him so why on Earth was it so difficult for me to let go?
Later I realized there’s a very fine line between love and co-dependency, and sometimes this line gets blurred.
One of my arguments was that I was deadly afraid of being single and starting the whole dating process again. What if I don’t meet anyone? What if I end up alone? What if he meets another woman? What will I do if I see them together?
I tortured myself over and over again with these and many other questions. And inevitably I convinced myself that I was better off staying where I was. Even though deep down I was screaming at myself WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?
It was easier for me to shut that inner voice down than it was to face all the fears that I had. So I ended up settling by staying where I currently was. Yes, settling because that was what I was doing. Settling on a relationship that was not making me, or him for that matter, happy.
The most horrible thing we can do to ourselves is settle because we will be robbing ourself of what we truly deserve. When we settle you are selling ourselves short and we are telling ourselves we are not worthy of something better. When we settle we are not loving the most important person in our lives, us.
I dreaded the breakup. We have all gone through the “breakup stages” before; shock, denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Some days were a struggle as I went back and forth between these stages. Beautiful memories came to sabotage my healing process. These memories made me question if going back was possible. I wanted those moments back desperately and that train of thought made me miss him.
Questions bombard me still: Does he miss me? Does he want me back? Is he thinking about me?
I wish I could just hit the delete button and be done with it, but that is not how a breakup works.
So the question is; how did I end up falling in love with my breakup? My process went something like this:
1. I gave myself time to mourn and grieve:
I gave myself permission to cry and cry and then cry a bit more. By doing this I allowed myself to take all that pain out of my system. Depression and isolation are an essential part of the process. I needed to process the pain so that I could move on.
2. I learned to block the beautiful memories:
When those beautiful memories came to torture me I learned to bless them and let them go. This process didn’t come to me easily. At first I succumbed to the memories, then I learned to block the good memories with the bad ones. This helped me to come back to reality and remember why the breakup had happened. As part of the healing process this pain is necessary. The pain helps us to remember where we don’t want to end up again. When I felt ready, I learned to bless them all—the good and the bad alike.
3. I got a holistic makeover:
It’s very common to get a new haircut, dye your hair a different colour or maybe even buy new clothes to get a new look. And it is almost a given that losing weight or joining a gym will happen. This exterior makeover is awesome! But, what about the inside? Our beliefs, our feelings, our thoughts. These seldom get a makeover. I sat down to analyze, with as much objectiveness as I could muster, what had happened in the relationship. I didn’t do this to play the blame game, rather to see what I could learn from it so eventually, when the time came, I didn’t repeat what went wrong.
4. I embraced the power of loved ones:
One of the best medicines for a broken heart is loved ones; family or chosen family (a.k.a. friends). My loved ones were very consistent in helping me get up and stand on my own. At first they had to practically drag me out but I got the hang of it. For that I will be eternally grateful.
5. I understood that my ex was not the ideal man for me, but that didn’t make him a bad person:
It’s very easy to head down the rage road in a breakup, automatically making the ex the “bad one” in the situation and yourself “the victim.” I allowed myself to feel the rage for a little while, after all it is a normal phase of the breakup. But I learned to let it go. Because in reality, I was just hurting myself. He was not the ideal man for me, nor I the ideal woman for him, but that doesn’t mean that my ideal man isn’t out there. He exists and he will come into my life one day. So I leaned to bless my ex, wish him happiness and just move on.
6. I learned to loved myself:
I did some major soul searching and I found myself in the process. I forgave myself. I accepted myself for who I am and I made the conscious decision to be happy. Because I understood that being happy is a choice to be made. And healing myself was how I could reach my happiness again.
I went to a Ho’oponopono workshop and I learned a prayer that has done wonders for me in the process of healing myself:
I forgive myself
I forgive you
I love you
I am sorry
7. I fully embraced singlehood:
For the first time in my life I learned to enjoy being single. I understood that being single is not synonymous to being lonely. I learned to cherish my alone time. I rethought plans, goals, projects. Took on new ones. I embraced all the choices that I could take. Took risks. I now see singlehood in a whole different light.
Author: Gio Blanco
Assistant Editor: JoJo Rowden / Editor: Emma Ruffin