At the end of August, I ended a relationship that consumed my life because I let it. I've never been an extremely confident person. I often seek reassurance from others, and never was able to deal with my problems on my own. If I didn't have an outlet for my pain I internalized it and became bitter to those around me. This relationship exacerbated those things. I was with someone who was a nice guy. We had a lot of things in common and I could tell him mostly anything. And he told me he loved me. But I was always wrong. Whenever I did anything that upset him, it became an issue to talk about. If he did something that bothered me, it was my fault for being upset. This became normal. I stood with him for four years, grew more bitter, more needy, less confident. Then, our four year anniversary was drawing upon us and I panicked. We spent a week apart and I decided I needed to leave the relationship that was my primary outlet for everything in my life. Yes, I doubted myself and took back my decision, but ultimately, I realized that I needed to be alone, needed to grow, and needed to find a relationship that let me flourish instead of shrivel into someone I hate. That was the first time in a long time that I was really proud of myself.
Since then, there have been arguments where I've heard things like, "how often in our relationship did you know you to be right and me to be wrong?" and "I know for certain no one's going to love you like I do." And somehow, I've gotten past it, found enough worth in myself to know he's wrong, that I'm doing the right thing. That someone who loves you doesn't say and do those things. That I can be strong on my own.
Since then, I've been so much happier. Of course I cry over being lonely, over the hurtful things that have been said on both of our parts. I think everyone does. But I feel so much lighter. I'm learning to be confident in who I am as a single entity, as completely myself. I'm less bitter. I know how to talk myself out of sadness that used to cripple me and shut me down. I can turn myself around on my own. I definitely still struggle with this, but what used to be constant problem in my life is now scarce.
This weekend, I met the girlfriend of someone I developed a crush on. There was this moment of nausea, or wanting to leave and go home, to run into the bathroom and cry, to shut down. I didn't do any of those things. I talked to her, I talked to other people, I was happy and it was genuine. At the end of the night, I had another one of those moments of wondering who this person was, that I'd become. If you really knew me, the way my family and ex-boyfriend do, you would know that this isn't something I was capable of five months ago. The littlest setbacks shut me down, made me miserable, and I absolutely needed someone to comfort and reassure me. Now, I was able to talk to myself and say, "you met her, and that's okay. Now it'll be easier to move on from this, and that's really what you need to do. Just be happy and confident. That's the best thing you can do. Maybe she'll even be a little jealous."
These are small victories that I'm sure most people don't have to deal with, but for me, their giant walls that I never expected to be able to scale. Every day holds some new little challenge, but I'm learning that my progress is sturdy - it's not going anywhere, no matter how many setbacks I have, tantrums I throw, sobbing fits I have (because I still have them.) It's still such a strange thing to say, but I'm so proud of myself. I feel kind of haughty saying that honestly. But, I know that it's true, that I have things to be proud of and that I need to acknowledge that.
I don't know that I have any advice. I'm no expert on anything. I handled this break up in quite a messy way. But you ladies reading this, I know that you're all wonderful. That you deserve great things. It took me too long to realize it, but fears are often unfounded, and life is too short to be involved in something that makes you unhappy to any extent. Whether it just bums you out, or really breaks you down. You're worth far too much to be unhappy.