I found myself suddenly single in a not super sudden fashion about 5-years ago.
It took a couple of months of recalibrating my life, getting my things in order to move away. I moved back with my parents and sort of hit reset on what felt like a well-developed life and path that I was on.
Not a lot of people talk about big breakups and big divorces pre-thirty. They happen and it’s not just breaking up with a boyfriend, it’s a life reset.
It was a really scary reset. I had chosen many of my life paths based on how they would be mutually beneficial for the two of us.
In a word, I didn’t deal with it well. I spent time not coping and effectively in denial for almost three years. Out of sheer stubbornness, creating a holding pattern for myself rather than trying to move forward.
It took me more than a year to be able to call it a breakup. I would call it our split and I just couldn’t cope with the fact that we were really broken up from each other.
Something really horrible happened. You rarely get big moments of clarity in life because nice things happened.
I had created an I am strong and moving forward and keeping my stuff together sort of image and persona for myself with my close friends.
I was no longer able to be in denial about what my story might be because basically, thinking back on it now, the narrative that I was living and the narrative that he was living had diverged about 6-months before we broke up.
It was an intense end to three years of denial.
I’m so grateful I had and still have really supportive friends that were listening to me repeat my story over and over and over and were happy to be my sounding board for the thoughts that we all have.
I was seeing a counselor. It was not a strong method for me to support myself. In retrospect, I paid a lot of ex-boyfriend taxes for the relationship. Sometimes going to a therapist isn’t going to solve the problem. You can’t necessarily give them that kind of credit. It’s always worth a try. I certainly hoped I was buying a magic cure and it wasn’t.
I signed up for all sorts of obscure weird dating websites which has been fun and interesting and how I ended up with the guy I’m with now.
I used the relationship stuff to take the lazy approach to the other parts of my life like a career.
I’m definitely grateful to have that ability to self-direct that way. It’s sort of like I create an exercise for myself rather than trying to make it into some sort of lifestyle.
The most important thing and we hear it all the time but you have to internalize it in whatever way applies, the most important thing is your own mental health and we can only control ourselves no matter how incredibly frustrating and unbearably problematic that seems to achieve our own goals. Focusing on what you need.
Taking your own steps to keep yourself together is the most important thing because you’re not going to be on the market for a new partner or supporting your own life if you’re not well. You can’t keep moving without that.
I have had the most unbelievable empathy from friends and family that don’t necessarily have a sympathetic understanding of experience. They just understand that everybody goes through hard times. Everybody struggles. Things are not easy. It is such a relief to talk to people and have them go, life isn’t easy.
Give friends an opportunity to support you like that even though it feels like that’s giving them an opportunity to judge you. It makes the love cycle feel stronger.
Young people can be hurt too.