I’ve arrived to this same waiting room, time and time again. Too many times in the more than three decades I’ve existed in this physical lifetime.
I am in that waiting room you find yourself in, whether thrown in or by choice, when you used to be a part of a relationship team, but now, a party of one.
This is that familiar place where I ask myself: Where do I go from here? Why is this happening again? Am I doomed to be alone forever? How many more times can I convince my wounded heart to open up and trust again?
If I look back to my dating history, there are many patterns I can point out in the types of men I choose, but, for the first time post-breakup, that’s not what I am focusing on. While it’s always empowering and comfortable to place blame on the people I’ve dated, it’s far less easy and comfortable to look into the mirror.
Each time I find myself in this post-breakup space, I double up on my inner work. I continue working with my therapist to heal from my C-PTSD (complex post-traumatic stress disorder), which I always do while in relationships too. I spend a lot of time in nature (my temple where I pray). I cultivate self-love and self-compassion. I feed and move my body in nourishing ways. I engage in inner child healing and shadow work. I feel all my feelings. I journal a lot. I pursue the hobbies, social connections, and activities that light me up.
One of the hard truths that my mirror is pointing out to me is how I constantly jump from one relationship to the next, hoping and praying that it’ll be different each time (Venus in Taurus folks, I see you!).
As I get older and move along my healing journey, each relationship does feel different for a while because of the growth I gain from the previous relationship. I continually choose better matches that share more values in common than before. But, like an 18-months curse, the relationship always spirals into something that feels incredibly familiar and painful.
At the beginning of the end, I desperately try to consciously make different decisions. I fight hard for the relationship and get us to do couple’s therapy or to take some space—whatever it is that can save the burning house.
Then I find myself single and jumping straight back into my own version of a post-breakup recovery program, one that I have created a curricula for many times before. Breakup-related books, podcasts, social media accounts, journal prompts, and so on.
I convince myself somewhere between three or five months after my breakup that I am ready to do this again. I download the dating apps and I tell myself that this time will be different because I will be bringing a whole new level of self-awareness into my next relationship.
And the cycle rinses and repeats for years.
But, here’s what I haven’t done in the past.
I don’t stay single for very long.
This time around, I am not immediately throwing myself into my own version of a post-breakup recovery program (I have lots of planets in Capricorn, baby!).
This waiting room feels different than the others. It feels like it wants to be transformed into something else entirely.
When I truly look back on my past waiting rooms, I realize that I am never truly sitting down in a chair in the waiting room. I nervously stand up while dancing on my feet as if I am holding in the need to pee. I am waiting to see if the door to the next room will open so I get out of that damn waiting room as fast as possible.
Because I am f*cking terrified to be alone.
Being alone is really scary when you haven’t truly learned how to sit with yourself through the discomfort, pain, and uncertainty that life inevitably puts in front of you.
Being alone is really scary when you have to learn how to befriend, love, and re-parent yourself since your traumatic childhood conditioned you in how to do the opposite.
Being alone is terrifying when you constantly place your authority outside of yourself and on your partner and others in your life.
If you relate to my experience, then I want you to know that you are not alone. There is nothing wrong with you and you are not broken.
You are human.
We are conditioned to be connected to others, both physically and emotionally. It makes sense that being alone is f*cking scary for us. Humans didn’t historically live in isolation, and if they did, it brought a big challenge to their survival.
So, I am not saying that we need to be alone in order to have a healthy relationship. I think it’s a myth that we have to be fully healed or 100 percent be on top of our self-love game to be able to love another in a healthy way.
It’s not that I want to replace a potential partner in my life and only rely on myself to the point of ultra-independence.
It’s that this waiting room wants to be transformed into a safe, nurturing, and cozy home within myself.
It was never meant to be a waiting room. It was meant to be my inner sanctuary. My inner home.
I want to build such a strong foundation for this inner home so that it will always remain in place even if the top structures collapse and need to be re-built.
Instead of jumping quickly into my next relationship so I can start to build a home in another person like I have done in the past, I want to consciously share the living room of my existing home with the living room of another’s home.
I want us to be able to sit in our newly created living room, in cozy chairs by a fireplace while drinking tea and laughing over inside jokes. And when we both need to come back to ourselves, we have the rest of our inner homes to retreat into and get cozy in.
For many years, I have been searching for a single life partner (as a monogamous person). I enter into each new relationship praying that they will last longer than 18 months and for a long time, or at best, a lifetime.
But, it turns out, I have already met the most important life partner and greatest love of my life.
We don’t need a ceremony, dress, or ring to know that we will be together forever.
We will be together for many 18-months cycles. No relationship I ever enter into in the future will outlast this one.
I don’t need to physically see her to stay connected or to know that she is still around.
But if I do need to see her, all I have to do is look in the mirror.