December 8, 2016

Knowing when to Leave: how to have a Graduation instead of a Divorce.

courtesy of author, Melissa Drake

I’ve been stuck for a few months.

I didn’t realize until recently that I’m grieving.

A significant relationship ended, and while I tried to move on quickly to avoid acknowledging that fact, that tactic backfired quickly, and in a bad way. This only compounded my confusion and ability to move forward. In fact, it set me back.

I’ve learned that as much as I want to avoid feeling the grief, honestly acknowledging the mistakes we both made, owning up to everything and moving past it in a healthy way is the only way through to the other side. Continuing to ignore the facts staring me in the face only shows up in unhealthy eating patterns, inability to sleep, procrastination on my work priorities, clutter in my home and my mind, financial mismanagement and a generally poor disposition.

To sum it up, I have not been living the way I want to live and I’m not moving forward in a healthy way.

I listened to an excellent podcast by Rob Bell about seasons. He said several things that moved me, but this line stood out:

“When you stay too long, what could’ve been a graduation becomes a divorce.”

That’s a big one. In this situation, it’s true for me.

The relationship I’m grieving is the same one I tried to leave this time last year, and several times after that. Our love was hot and cold, but always passionate, intense and chemically rewarding.

Earlier this year, I took a month-long Epic Solo Road Trip from the Midwest to California. The weekend before I left, we had a fabulous weekend together, dining, drinking, dancing and making love. We were free, basking in love.

By Saturday night, things were different. We didn’t even discuss what was happening. When I left Sunday morning, he simply told me to come back to make sweet love, and he’d give me the best send off.

When I left for California as a single woman, I wrote a note to my editor saying I needed to write an article about all relationships ending with cards, gifts and blow jobs. What a graduation we had. It was a heartfelt and beautiful blessing to end our relationship.

If only we would’ve truly ended our relationship, there—on the high note.

We remained friends on Facebook after I left, so he saw my every move on the road trip. He liked and commented on my posts, texted, messaged and called me. Sometimes the conversations were positive—sometimes not so much. Either way, it kept us from graduating and moving to the next level of our individual lives.

By the time my road trip was winding down, we had convinced ourselves to give our relationship another go. Never mind the fact that we had already done that, and failed, five or six times. We were eager to give it one last try.

I drove like a bat out of hell from my last stop in New Mexico to Des Moines—so fast that I got a speeding ticket a few hours from home. I didn’t care. I was anxious to see “My Man.” I arrived at his house while he was asleep. So happy to see me, he welcomed me under the covers and whispered, “welcome home.”

In my head I responded, “I wish this was my home,” but my brain knew not to scare him. Within 30 seconds, I was back to loving with limits—totally not my style.

The first few weeks after my trip went well, as we fell back into a comfortable routine. We even navigated a large party with his extended family that went off without a hitch. My body was sending me signals though. I couldn’t sleep, and I had more neck and shoulder pain than usual.

The day after the party, everything changed. Within a few days, I walked. This time, I ended it “Divorce Style,” complete with un-friending him on Facebook. That was a final, “official” step I hadn’t been willing to complete before. He retaliated by un-liking my business page and blocking me on Facebook. That’s hardball in my book. I hadn’t planned to go there, but whatever works.

I believe everything happens for a reason. There are lessons to be learned in every season of our life. The lesson I learned more intimately by reigniting our passion is one I’ve learned many times before. This time, I learned it on a deeper level still.

I must trust my intuition and listen when my body speaks to me. Each time I don’t, I get hurt in a profound way.

Shortly before “the divorce,” I was in a freak car accident. It was just me and a curb, yet I managed to total my car and severely hurt my back and neck. Unclear how it happened, I’m fortunate it wasn’t worse. The mentor I was working with said to me at the time,

“Let this be the last time Spirit has to remind you, with pain, that you’re going in the wrong direction.”

That was the message I needed to wake up, move on and unfriend him on Facebook. Shortly after that, the song, “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)” by Adele came on autoplay on YouTube.


Let’s Dance!


Author: Melissa Drake

Image: Courtesy of Author

Editor: Toby Israel


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