At the beginning of April, I made the decision to end the relationship that I was in for over a year. It was my first real adult relationship, and my first love. Ending it was the most difficult thing I have ever done, even harder than getting sober. But I did it because I had come to the realization that we weren’t right for each other, and there was nothing I could do to go back and un-know that fact. There wasn’t anything wrong with either of us. We just weren’t meant to be.
Being single again has been tough. Not in the ways that I’ve expected, though. I honestly didn’t really know how I would feel, but whatever this is I’m feeling, I didn’t see it coming. The hardest part was the time leading up to the decision. I wrestled with it back and forth for a while, and talked to several trusted friends in my life about what I should do. I wrote about it, talked about it, prayed about it, meditated about it. But like most things in my life, I knew the answer all along- I just didn’t want to accept it.
After we broke up, I knew that I had done the right thing. I felt sad, of course, but there was a part of me that knew that I was moving in the right direction. I knew that God would take care of me, and of him, and that everything would be okay. That sense of serenity helped me get through the day, and for the most part I felt just fine. Except when I didn’t.
Every once in a while something would happen, I would have a thought or see something that would make me miss him. I cried twenty times during the movie Isle of Dogs, even though it wasn’t a particularly sad movie. I would get into bed at night, and look over at the spot on the bed next to me where he used to lay. Going to bed alone was the hardest part, because I never felt closer to him than when we were going to sleep.
When we were together, and he would have to go out of town, I had this one dramatic little habit I loved to do that annoyed him to no end. We’d be in the car and he would tell me he’d be going up to Fresno on Sunday and he’d be back Monday morning. I’d immediately grab my phone, plug it into the radio and start listening to the song “Last Kiss” by Taylor Swift on repeat until he came back. He’d roll his eyes, and I would sing along while looking sadly out the window, pretending he was leaving me and I’d never see him again. When things did eventually come to an end, that song did not leave my head. For days on end I would ruminate on the lyrics,
“So I’ll watch your life in pictures like I used to watch you sleep, and I’ll feel you forget me like I used to feel you breathe.”
I liked it a lot better when I was just being melodramatic. It’s one thing to make fun of it and pretend to feel that way. It’s another thing entirely to actually come to terms with the idea that those feelings could be real.
The hardest part of all of this for me was the fact that I was the one who ended it. Being broken up with sucks, of course. The feelings of not being good enough, that you’ve opened yourself up to someone and shown them who you really are, only to be cruelly rejected. It’s impossible not to take personally, when it is the most personal rejection you can ever face. But when you break up with someone, there is the crushing guilt and responsibility that comes with it, no matter what you do. Every hurt feeling, every tear, every lonely night feels like it’s entirely your fault. Like no matter what you do, you’re going to hurt the person you love, possibly beyond repair. It took every bit of faith that I had to do what I did. Because I had faith that this was truly the best and kindest thing that I could do. I couldn’t be in a relationship that wasn’t working, just to try and spare the feelings of the man I loved. I had to be honest with him and with myself, because to be dishonest and spare him the truth would only have brought us both more pain.
It’s been two weeks since he moved out. I’m giving myself a bit of time to readjust to life without having him here every day. I’ve been told that keeping busy helps get through the tough parts, and it does. Being at work or at the gym makes me feel like life is normal. And coming home at night, making dinner and watching TV feels normal too. But there’s nothing I can do about that last 30 minutes, when I get into bed to go to sleep, and have to face the reality that there’s no one lying next to me. That’s when I feel the most alone. But it’s also when I try to be most conscious about how I’m feeling. I sit with the feeling. I write about it. I pray. And I know that it will pass, like everything passes. But for now, I’m content to just let it be. Because the last year of my life was incredible, and I wouldn’t change anything about it. I don’t want to forget it. And I don’t want to go back to not feeling. I’m okay with this feeling. Because if I didn’t feel it, it would mean I had never loved at all.