When he left, really left, and the door to my relationship was closed, I felt empty.
I knew it was the best thing for me, for us, but my stomach and the flu-like symptoms of feeling good one minute and ready to vomit the next, were hoping he would come back and we could fix it.
I wanted it to work so I could ease the torment I was feeling but knew I had to weather this inner storm and move past it. Something better was on the horizon, but in order to get to better, I had to go through worse first. Eating was almost nonexistent. Gym workouts were weak. And I couldn’t finish the last episode of our favorite show we were binging.
I had to rally, but first, I had to feel it.
Endings are hard. Difficult. Whether it’s leaving a job, school, or even a neighborhood you have lived in for years, transitioning can be painful. When it’s time to move on, we have to buck up and go. We have to be brave and make that small step forward to change.
When we decide it’s time to leave a relationship we thought would last our lifetime, it can be devastating. We have memories we wish we could wash away, tokens of our expired love all around us, and at times, we have to wave goodbye to the one we once planned a future with as we drive away with all of our belongings in the back of our car.
But after the fog clears and we are stable once again, after we are settled into our new lives and looking back on the mistakes we may have made within that failed relationship, it is important to see our accountability. Did we give too much without expecting something in return? Did we add value to them and their career as we watched them leave us behind? Or maybe we were angry, rude, and self-absorbed and took our partners for granted, and they had enough.
But we have to realize we are never the same person going into a relationship as we are coming out. We now have new memories, friends, and years of relationship experience. Being in a relationship with someone, we have no choice but to learn from them. Whether we like it or not our exes taught us a lot. From how to eat sushi the correct way to helping us realize we are not afraid of heights, but afraid of falling.
At times it’s hard to look back and thank our exes for helping us grow, especially when we are hurting. But once the hurt dissipates, we can look at things through fresh eyes, and leave our past mistakes behind and start over fresh and new.
As we sit with our realizations and become brutally honest with ourselves and our accountability in the failure of our relationship, we also heal. We heal so in our next relationship we don’t bring past mistakes along with us.
Looking back, I can now see my last relationship taught me that I have turned into the woman I had wanted to become. I used to be angry and controlling and a name-caller.
Now with the end of a relationship that I had wanted to last forever, I can see my growth. It was in this relationship that he helped me to realize how tough I am. That I can withstand the hard times, but I can also stand my ground when it comes to my boundaries. I can balance a relationship and continue on with my own life as well. I learned that I am now happy, truly happy with or without a partner in my life. That if he was busy and could not give me what I needed, I could give myself what I needed, and I love that about me. Not only did I learn what I wanted in a man, but I learned, through my healthy eyes, what I absolutely did not want in a man.
The most important lesson he taught me, was that it’s okay to walk away when we realize it’s not working. That we don’t have to force something because we wanted it to last. Through this healthy relationship, I learned that I am a whole person with or without a partner and that I will heal and move on with someone else who wants similar things in life.
Today, although sad, I celebrate my growth as not only a woman but also as a healthy future partner to someone better suited for me.
Eventually, I did rally. I put one foot in front of the other and pushed through the storm. I got back to eating, even took cooking lessons. The gym was my safe place again, and I did finish the last episode of the show we binged.
I’m so glad I did.