Just got back not too long ago from ringing in the new year with some beloved friends – it’s amazing that one more year has already gone by! While 2012 may have gone by fast, it was a great year for me and one of many self-discoveries.
I started 2012 with the bitter break up of a 4 and 1/2 year relationship. My ex-boyfriend and I met in college and we dated all throughout my four years and afterwards. He was my first real serious relationship and I was hopelessly and completely in love with him. As our relationship went on, he started mentioning things that hinted at break up and that he wasn’t as invested in the relationship anymore. For example, he would questions about how did we [he and I] know that we were made for each other? Is there such a thing as soul mates? Wouldn’t both he and I still be just as happy with any other person out there if we hadn’t met each other? I didn’t pay too much attention to these hints because I thought it was normal for him to question these things. I mentioned that I was hopelessly and completely in love with him… I was… so much so that I idolized him and revered him as a god. I was convinced we would get married, settle down, and have kids.
So, of course, it was a shock to me when he called me and said he thinks we should break up. It took me a while to come to terms with the situation. Despite many “talks” and me trying to understand, grasping to understand, I still couldn’t. It didn’t make sense to me why two people who loved each other couldn’t be together. Weren’t we in love? Weren’t we going to be together forever? Where was all of this coming from? Why was he dissatisfied?
Moving on and getting over the break up was hard. I was struggling to find answers, struggling to remain emotionally stable. My break up with him was my first real encounter with grief and loss. I was still too deeply in love with him to realize the full impact of what had just happened, to fully understand that he no longer loved me and had in fact lost interest long back.
Today, after the persistence and patience of a good friend, I realize that I was in an emotionally abusive relationship and that while initially my ex-boyfriend loved me, my company, my beauty, my presence, he eventually grew bored with it all. He stayed in the relationship because he was indifferent. Despite his cruelty and heartlessness, I think in the end, his conscience finally kicked in. He felt bad about lying to me and taking advantage of my love for him.
I admit accepting the break up and that he and I were no longer together was hard; trying to find closure was even harder but I managed to move one and look towards the future. It was awkward at first, to refer to him, to mention him, to see him. Then that awkwardness turned into hate and disgust, for the way he treated me in the relationship, for all of the cruelties I endured. My hatred and disgust for him has slowly turned into indifference. Whether he is happy, sad, doing well, or worse off without me, it all is no longer important to me because I realize I am more important and that’s all that matters.
While it sounds like everything was bad, I have many things to be thankful for and many things to thank him for. He taught me how to fully and truly love someone despite all odds and how to recover from grief and loss. After being with him for so long, I had allowed myself to become a part of him and had lost myself in the process. Part of my recovery was re-finding myself and re-claiming for myself who I was before him and who I wanted to be after him. I say after him and not without him because to me after him is more powerful and also because my life didn’t end when I no longer had him with me… it went on and discovered greater and better things.
I spent the latter of 2012 re-establishing myself. I pushed myself to step out of my comfort zone and do things I wouldn’t have necessarily done before. I completed a 5k, attended a conference on racial and ethnic economic inequality, took on more leadership roles. I told myself, “What did I have to lose? You only live once.” I put everything I had into whatever I did. I spent time on myself and put myself first. My direction in life became a little less hazy and the road to accomplishing what I want to devote my life to became a little more paved.
Tonight a friend asked me if I was thinking about dating again. I told her yes and no. I miss things about being in a relationship – having a companion who you can share your deepest secrets and desires with, someone who will always make time for you, the feeling of just having that other person there – but that I didn’t want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. She hinted at setting up a blind date but I told her that I’ll let time play its course. I want to focus on me first and if the right person comes along, I’ll make time for them. I allowed myself to be too blind and consumed in my previous relationship. My intuition and gut told me things I should have paid attention to but instead brushed aside. I want to really treasure this time I have to myself.
I’m glad I didn’t let a bad start to my 2012 affect the year for me. I’m even more glad and proud of myself for being able to stand back up on my feet. My relationship and break up with my ex-boyfriend taught me a lot about relationships, love, and life. I’m glad to have had the experience; whether good or bad you can only learn from it. I hope all of the good vibes from the end of my 2012 continue into the new year and that 2013 only brings more good things and challenges that will help me become a better person.
- Have more confidence in myself!
- Find a stable, well-paying job
- Keep in better contact with friends
- Be more outspoken
- Be more articulate
- Work out more
“It’s what you do in the present that will redeem the past and thereby change the future.” – Paulo Coelho