Three

Three years. Three long, crazy, happy, depressing, wild years. In those three years, I’ve waited and contemplated writing this piece, and, until today, decided not to. I thought I wouldn’t do it justice. I was afraid to look back days, weeks, months, after the piece was written and think, ‘you could have done better if you had waited longer and constructed your ideas more carefully.’ But, today, I thought, ‘fuck it.’

I started this blog many years ago. I carefully picked topics that I thought about on a regular basis, and I wrote with careful consideration and care, wondering how I could appeal to the masses and gain an insane amount of followers…

But, about three and a half years ago, I stopped writing. Up until that point, as my frequent readers will know, I was in a long term relationship with Matt. But, I fucked up. And, I want to write about it so that I can reflect on what I’ve learned over the last three years, and put all of my feelings out on paper to close this chapter and move to the next. This isn’t to say that I haven’t moved on. I certainly have. I just want to make sure that everything has been fully processed. And, from this piece, I hope my readers can understand that they’re not alone. People fuck up. We grow, we learn, we have each other.

To begin, as my frequent readers will remember, Matt and I dated for seven years. The first time we got together, we were in high school. Near the end of our relationship, we began living together. And, I started to doubt if would be compatible in the long run. As we lived together, I realized that we were more like roommates and less like partners. Matt had his friends and his activities, and I had the books that I liked to read, shows I liked to watch, and workouts that I liked to do. I was a homebody. I was socially awkward. I hated myself, and I over-analyzed every sentence before it came out of my mouth. And, then, after it did, I replayed the entire conversation and scolded myself for things that I said that I thought sounded stupid. Needless to say, at the end of the day, being around people was exhausting, so, I preferred to stay indoors.

When Matt would go out, it upset me. When he would spend time at home, but not around me, it would upset me. When he did anything without me, I became frustrated. That same year, I found my tribe. It just became clearer to me that Matt and I would be spending more and more time a part if we continued our relationship. I wanted someone who was going to be around more often and liked some of the same activities that I did. So, right before Christmas three years ago, I broke up with Matt.

In my own stupidity, I thought that he would understand in a way. I thought that he could see it too. It was obvious that we weren’t spending much time together and that all of his activities were starting to annoy me. I walked out, and things only headed further south. Weeks passed, and we went back and forth on getting back together. Or, should I say, Matt pleaded with me to come back and work things out, and I wouldn’t listen. Deep down, I knew that I loved him and that I didn’t want to leave him, I just needed a change. In my bones, I knew it was a change that I couldn’t get from being with him. If I wanted to grow and get back to the old me, I needed to throw myself to the sharks and do it alone. I knew that if he was there, I would rely on his help, and I wouldn’t progress. I knew that if I stayed with him, I would rely on him to fix everything. I would become even more codependent than I was. I just needed to leave.

This isn’t to say that I regretted my decision multiple times and begged for him to let me come back. Oh, yeah, there definitely was that. I poured my heart out to him in a letter, made a list of everything that I would do for him if he decided to spend the rest of his life with me, signed off on the list, and left it with him. I showed up at his doorstep multiple times with food and gifts to show him how much I cared. Nothing. He had every right to feel frustrated too, hate me even. One day, I was sitting on his couch, and he told me that he didn’t love me anymore. It was about nine months after I’d left him. I knew then and there that there was nothing more I could do. If he didn’t love me, I didn’t want to keep trying to win him back over. At least, when he loved me, I had a fighting chance. I walked out of his apartment that night only to return two months later and tell him that this was the last time I would see him unless he called asking me to come back into his life. He never asked me to come back.

Since that time, I threw myself at myself. Does that make sense? What I mean to say is that self-improvement became the only thing I focused on.  I went to therapy, I found my religion, I planned out-of –state trips to places I had never been to by myself, I started online dating, I started (and finished) my master’s degree, I gained many new friends through work and networking connections, I’ve thrived. I could have easily given up and told myself that my life had no more meaning, that I had hurt the one person I loved more than anything beyond repair, and, therefore, I shouldn’t be allowed to live my life to the fullest. I should repent every day and embrace all of the shit that comes my way because I deserved it.

But, that wasn’t my path. It took a while to stand up straight again. It took a lot of love and care from the therapists, friends, and family members around me to get me to where I am now, but I want to keep moving forward.

I love Matt as a person and a friend. I always will. I’m not in love with him anymore, but I do pray for his happiness and success. I pray that someday, maybe further down the road, we can be real friends again. Maybe, we can support each other in our professional growth and in our personal growth. We spent a total of eleven years as friends and more. It would be stupid of me to think that he wasn’t/isn’t a huge influence on my life. However, I have long since forgiven myself for the way I ended things. Do I wish that the way we broke up would have been different? Yes. I wish that we had had long conversations regarding our feelings and what we thought we could do to help each other instead of ending things right away. I guess, ultimately, I didn’t know how he could help me. I didn’t think that he could. I thought that I would become even more codependent if I stayed. I didn’t know, at the time, how to express what I needed and wanted, so I ran. I didn’t know, truly, want I needed. I had to throw myself in the pool before learning how to swim to survive.

If I’ve learned anything about relationships from this experience, it’s that you have to wake up every day willing to work on being together. For some people, it comes more naturally than others. But, the love and respect have to be there. You have to try to get along the best you can and want to be the best version of yourself for yourself and the other person. You have to try, try, try every single day. Maybe, I wasn’t truly willing to try. In reality, I was so self-centered to the point where I thought we had been together long enough that it should just work, and he should want to be around me more often.

Truth is, it isn’t just about you. It’s about the team you’ve created. It’s work. It will always be work. And, you have to get up every day willing to get to work.

Dearest Readers – It is my hope that if you are in a relationship with someone, you can talk to that person. No matter what your feelings are, positive or negative, it’s important to connect with that other individual on a daily basis. When I was with Matt, I was afraid that if I told him any of my negative feelings, that he would leave me. I shouldn’t have been afraid to express how I felt, because, at the end of our relationship, I blew up. I blew up because I had been holding everything in for so long. That’s no way to live. If you are in love, communication is the most important tool in your relationship tool kit. Be kind to one another, be respectful, and communicate as if you don’t know the next time you will be able to.

Much Love,
GS

2 thoughts on “Three

  1. You are brave to express your frustrations and your experiences, and in writing (for yourself) and posting (for your readers) you are helping to clear the muddy waters of unfulfilled relationships, that can be soo hard at times ! But your last two lines are the best advice of all, and I suspect the secret of any good relationship. Well done – and thank you.

  2. Excellent insight that unfortunately many people never realize. I too went through a similar journey in discovering who I was ‘without’ someone else. It was tough. And sometimes lonely. But necessary if I hoped to move forward.

    I heard once – and this has stuck with me ever since – that a strong, lasting relationship is one where you realize that you don’t always ‘feel’ in love with the other — but you CHOOSE to love them regardless. It is work and you have to work every day.

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