Relationships are hard…even if you are not struggling with your own troubling past, complicated present and uncertain future. Relationships are also about joy and togetherness and belonging. But the reality is, relationships do end. Sometimes they end quickly and without remorse. Other times they linger on for months and even years.
I am unfortunately prone to the later…of letting things linger either hoping that things will get better…or worse just being afraid to let things go. Part of the challenges that I face on a daily basis is an almost crippling fear that I will be alone but at the same time, I run away from what could be or worse push away things.
My time in therapy taught me that I was in an unhealthy and very one sided relationship. I continued on with that relationship beyond its expiry date for many reasons…but looking back it was because I was afraid of letting go.
Some months ago, I walked away not being able to continue to be what I was. My soul hurt. I was completely lost in who I had become, a shell of what I was. I was for a very long time focused not on making myself better, but on not letting someone else fall down. We had many good times, I will cherish them always…but then there was the bad. The knowledge that she was not who she was anymore because of loss and sadness. I couldn’t let it go because I feared what the alternative would be.
Even after I moved on (or so I thought), I think that I desperately wanted to believe that there would always be a way to go back to what was, even if doing so would never be the way that I perceived it as being. I had fun with new people, explored new dreams, experienced a new kind of happiness and in ways that I thought had been lost…but I literally just walked away and didn’t really look to close that chapter before starting to write a new one.
Patterns of behaviour for me started to come forward. I was repeating the same mistakes and in doing so, I started to think of the reasons why. Then last week a set of circumstances presented itself that caused me great panic and fear. I reached out, I reconnected and in doing so I found out that not only had they closed the door. They had erased the chapter. They had completely discarded what was and mainly because I had disappeared in search of my own future…but I had not closed the past.
This stark realization caused me even more distress. I began to spiral. I felt anger, betrayal and even hatred. But all of it was misguided. I had walked away. I had disappeared. I had caused hurt…and there was simply no reason for me to have done this. I was not honest with myself or with them. I had buried the fact that I had to walk away…but I wanted to be able to return when I wanted to…without any agreement to this. While the pain I felt was justified…it was misplaced and in reality had caused new challenges and hurdles that I would now have to overcome.
You see, I had been lying to myself. I told myself I was over what was and was ready to move on…but I wasn’t. I didn’t want to get back together…that was done…but I wanted to be able to have a fall back…a safety net.
Five days later…I am at peace with what was. Truly at peace. Each moment I think less of how much I was hurt by the moment of finding out that it was truly over…and thinking more about what it would mean to be truly ready to move forward.
Holding on to this strange fantasy of being able to have what I had walked away from…all the while trying to have all the new things that I was experiencing had damaged some opportunities, destroyed others…but actually strengthened a few. Some of the damage I have done by subconsciously holding on to the fantasy of my fall back option is beginning to repair itself. I am opening up about this challenge that I had faced. I am having a real discussion about why I did what I did and how I can move on.
Will there always be the opportunity for closure…I know that that is not realistic. But I realize now more than ever…that the concept of radical honesty is not just a notion that you put forward to get through therapy. It actually has to happen. First with yourself, but then with anyone else that you want to be present with.
I am now ready for today.