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Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve endured much heartbreak.
I’ve felt the hurt, anger, disappointment, and pain. I’ve felt like there was no way to survive the anguish. I’ve felt like my heart had been ripped out—irrational thoughts and actions consuming my entire being.
It was if I was engulfed with pain, a raging inferno of heartache that threatened to burn me alive.
Healing was slow, often so slow that the rise out of bed in the morning was a struggle, the crawl through each day dragging on and on.
The questions were plentiful. Whether it be the loss of love, the end of friendship, or the death of a loved one. Why, how could, what if, and more.
With age comes wisdom, should we be the introspective sort who sifts through the ashes and is determined to find a cause. Should we fight our fears and dive into the depths of our psyche, removing the masks that flash a smile and wipe away the tears, uttering the words, “I’m fine.” Should we face head-on our truths and push aside our illusions.
Yes, I’ve known heartache and heartbreak. I’d drowned in it one too many times but always found a way to swim furiously back to shore, arriving at a safe place to harbor my pain.
But today’s feeling is different—as if something has shifted deep within the recesses of my soul. There is an empowerment, a freedom, and a sense of peace that fills my tired and broken heart.
And though there is an undeniable sadness that hasn’t quite yet been contained, it is complemented by relief and wonder.
When a relationship is troubled, we can choose a myriad of ways to solve the problems. We can deny them. We can duke them out. We can face them head-on. Or we can walk away.
When we love a person and feel a sense of connection that tells us we cannot imagine our lives without them in it, we may fight harder and longer than we should, tossing aside the countless red flags that were raised since day one and unconsciously getting caught up in a toxic cycle.
This can be especially true if you’re like me and struggle to trust yourself in being completely certain if something is healthy or unhealthy. When you’ve encountered more deceptive individuals than decent ones, more manipulative humans than sincere and loving people, it’s a bumpy road to ride.
As a single woman, I’m confident, vibrant, and joyful. My life is full, and my state of mind is tranquil. There are few, if any, doubts. There is gratitude, acceptance, and a general state of happiness. No one to rain on my parade.
Like anyone else, I get down in the dumps and catch myself wallowing in some past events, relationships, and experiences, but those occurrences are happening less and less as the years accumulate. I may revisit and reassess, but I don’t find myself descending into the rabbit hole of self-pity and despair.
But relationships have sadly been volatile and unstable—a source of frustration and discomfort. They’ve been a bit tricky, like navigating quicksand, a fight for survival with glimpses of hope along the way.
In my head, Whitesnake sings to me, reminding me that here I go again on my own, and in some ways, it’s true that it is the only path I’ve ever known. Maybe I was born to be alone.
Or maybe it is the fact that I make poor choices when it comes to partners. It is not that they are inherently bad people, and I don’t blame them for my sad endings. Any two people can be toxic together when specific personality traits combust.
In most of my serious relationships, we were just two people who weren’t right for each other. Misaligned values, beliefs, and morals. Opposing relationship needs and visions. Vastly different senses of humor and perspectives on life. So it didn’t work. Again and again.
When you’ve given your all, been fair, and tirelessly committed to a relationship that’s come to an end, you will most likely feel that sense of relief and wonder that I feel today.
You may regret not leaving sooner, but you will stand stronger because you’ve removed all doubt. You’ve confirmed that despite the effort and tumultuous starts and stops, there was never a future—only a dead end.
And you’ll be at peace, with a tired and broken heart, thankful for the lessons learned, and letting go of what wasn’t meant for you.
You will no longer be missing a relationship that never really was, but looking toward a future filled with what could be.