May 29, 2020

Leave the Way You Want To—How I Survived my First Breakup.

A breakup is bloody hard.

As written about in my previous article, this was my first real relationship. And, like relationships tend to do, ours started to change.

The last months were filled with doubt, uncertainty and a growing distance between us. I tried to keep things going, by putting more of my attention, love, and energy into our relationship. And as he grew more distant, the more I pushed down my insecurities and reached toward him.

I kept holding on to past memories—of the good times when we looked deeply into each other’s eyes, crinkled in the corners as we shared an intimate joke, our lips wide with laughter and joy. Memories of heading on new adventures together, our hands finding each other as we walked unknown roads.

However, during the quarantine—with the physical distance adding further to the emotional one—I woke up one day and realised that I was exhausted. Exhausted from being the one trying to hold us together, when clearly we had grown apart.

When the memories tried to melt my resolve again, I tried something different. I turned in and asked myself simply: Are you happy now? Are you being valued? Is the love and effort being put in reciprocated? And truthfully, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t feel valued. And it felt pretty one-sided to me. And so, with my newly found self-worth, I was able to see I didn’t deserve this. So, the conversation was had and the relationship ended.

This relationship was full of lessons, adventures, and love. I am grateful for it, but you know what? I am also grateful also for the breakup. Wait, what? I know, right? Let me explain.

Through my partner’s love, I learned to feel good about myself and be brave. Through the challenges, I learned to speak my mind and value myself. All these things were not only the deciding factors that led to the decision of ending our relationship, but the characteristics that helped me through it.

I am, to my and everyone else’s surprise, actually feeling alright after the breakup. I mean, yes, there are moments when a cheesy song, a romantic scene in a movie, or the accidental glimpse of holiday photos together all make me seek out tissues and ice cream tubs. But my self-love lets me experience these, as it is all a natural way of grieving a loss—the loss of a relationship, a partner, and the good times.

I am also grateful for how we were able to have an open conversation and leave things on mutual, loving grounds. This helped immensely, knowing it was the right decision, and lifted the guilt and what-ifs from my worried mind.

I realised, too, that there was another reason I was dealing with things far better than I imagined I should. The lessons in self-worth and self-love I had gained helped empower me when we were breaking things off—I had clearly spoken my mind about how his actions had hurt me. I left the way I wanted to, and without regrets.

When it was all over, even though the relationship meant I was now single, the love I showed myself helped me to not feel lonely, because I knew I would always be there for me. Even though the question badgered me: Why am I not worthy enough for him to fight for? The way I chose to value myself helped me see that my worth is not defined by others.

Although I recognised the fear that maybe I would never find love again, my bravery kicked in and helped me see all the ways I would still live my life, have adventures, and meet new people.

I’ve also learned that after a breakup, we don’t always solely cry for the loss we have experienced. We can also cry in fear of a future where we will be alone, unloved, and unhappy. The self-love I have developed reminds me that I do not need to give in to these negative, false beliefs. When I come close to getting drawn in, I see them for what they are—beliefs that come from fear, a part of me that is vulnerable and in need of love. So, I give myself love.

With that comes inner peace and the knowing that I am worthy to love, and be loved, again.

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T Gaz

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