While I was driving to the corner store and back, I decided to separate from my partner of 10 years.
It took me 10 minutes to leave every comfort I came to know and love, when I should have been heading off to bed.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but now I know that putting everyone else before ourselves is self-sabotage.
I loved my partner, her son, the home we had built, the dogs, and everything else—I still do. However, at my deep core, something was lacking and needed attention: my own self-love.
I needed to heal.
My partner didn’t inflict the wounds on me, but they were there and they were easily aggravated by her. I tried to let her in—I sat with her and tried to explain my wounds—only to be rejected with comments like, “I can’t help you” and “I can recommend some books to read.”
I didn’t need her help—I needed a confidant, a travel companion, and a person to share this with. I needed her to sit beside me, take my hand, and say, “I hear you, and thank you for letting me in,” or maybe even, “You are not alone and I will walk this road with you.”
That conversation happened 10 years ago, at the beginning of our relationship. She said that the things I needed from her were unspoken—she should not have to say them, and I should have known.
So, I stuffed everything away with the thought of “ignore it, it will go away,” and took her advice to just choose to be happy.
Well, ignoring it didn’t make it go away and choosing to be happy was all but a myth. The wounds were still there and putting a Band-Aid of happiness didn’t help. My wounds festered, became infected, and transformed to something far worse.
Fast forward about nine years, and I found myself depressed, unhappy, and easily agitated all the time.
I was angry.
After throwing a serious tantrum of “I’m sick of being rejected,” I decided I really must get things under my own control. So I found myself a therapist and went for psychotherapy—it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself.
I started cycling and it helped tremendously. Whenever I had a bad day, I took it out to the road on two wheels—it was wonderful. I felt good about myself, as I was getting exercise and some place to de-stress.
Then came accusations and arguments from my partner. I was in a place I wouldn’t recommend anybody to be in.
Then one day, I just snapped. I could not continue like that.
I could not handle one more accusation, and I could not take the insecurities that caused her not to trust me.
The best thing I could have done was leave. It hurt like hell. I walked out on everything l had built with her over the 10 years we spent together.
I left asking for space, and I left at the same time the world went on lockdown for COVID-19.
I moved into my own place alone, and eventually, we stopped all form of communication. Her constant badgering of me was static and getting in the way of a good reception.
I had to let her go and beg of her to let me go.
I am still with my therapist, and can finally hear what is wrong within me. I am able to tend to the wounds that have haunted me and held me captive for so long. I am not finding my voice—since I have always had one—but I am finding a better one now.
If you asked me two weeks ago to describe myself to you, I would have told you I was broken or damaged. Today, I say I am healing.
The process has not been easy, but it has been worth it.
Every. Hard. Step.