I was wanting to do some sort of holiday specific blog this season, but nothing really stands out enough (at least not at this time) for me to go there. This may change, as I blog where my heart takes me. There’s a level of authenticity I have to feel in order to blog.
With that said, a lot of my work is wrapped around relationships, whether in traditional coupledom (I made that word up) or otherwise. No relationship is the same, and as I state somewhere else on this website, I don’t treat them as such. I have found, however, that there is one particular theme that ebbs and flows in my work and that is the ending of relationships.
So this is my letter to those individuals who are in the process of healing from the ending of their relationship, however it may look.
Dear Special and Wonderful Human Being,
I have yet to have run into an individual that says they started a committed relationship with the explicit intent of ending it. I am included. When I decided to marry my husband, it was after some hard core considerations – things like identifying how to navigate shifting from single mom mode (which I had been doing for almost a decade) to married mom mode, accepting my husband’s influence as a father to my son, and identifying if our values were compatible in an effort to ensure the most healthiest outcome for not only my biological son, but also to the four cool ass kids I became a mother to. You get my point. There were many other considerations wrapped around independence, dependence, race, culture, etc, but none of the things I considered included when I would divorce my husband, or when I would end our relationship prior to our marriage.
I assume the same for you: that you entered your relationship with the intent of maintaining it, likely for a lifetime.
Sometimes, things change. Sometimes, life throws a curve ball. Sometimes, you find that the relationship you were planning to be participating in for years to come is not the same goal of the partner that started with you. Sometimes, the relationship ends, and you not only didn’t want it to end, but you weren’t ready for it to end. Sometimes, you’re left in a pretty shitty place unexpectedly, and you resolved that you’re a failure.
My wonderfully created human being, that is not the case. Could you have noticed red flags? Maybe. Were you blinded by the glaring bright shiny love light to the point that you didn’t notice your partner tapping out of the relationship? Possibly. Does that mean you’re a failure? Nope.
If your intentions were pure going in, if the parameters of the relationship were easily understood to all parties involved, if you pushed for kindness over malice, if you fought for fairness and respect for you AND your partner, then I assure you, you aren’t a failure.
None of us are mind readers. Oh, but if I were though (queue the sneaky MUHAHAHA here). But seriously, how exactly are you supposed to predict the ending of your relationship upon beginning it? Let that marinate for just a moment.
Exactly, that’s impossible.
But Eutoka, I hear you say, this shit really [insert even more colorful language here] hurts. Yes, my friend, it does.
I encourage you to do the following:
Grieve. Allow yourself time to grieve the passing of something you once lived and known.
Do not should on yourself here. You know the “Hell, it’s been a couple of months, I should be over this already” stuff. The “I see she’s already moved on to so-and-so over here, so I should have the courage to move on too” stuff. I purposely use should to sound like shit to make my point.
Be kind to yourself. If your buddy was enduring something like this, how would you treat her? Wouldn’t there be love, kindness, and compassion? Or would you yell at her with “Aw come on, this again?” Exactly. Then why do that to yourself? Be mindful of your internal dialogue. Deploy self-compassion over self-impatience.
Use your support system. Don’t be ashamed to reach out to your friends and/or family to help you through this. Ask for what you need to bring stability back into your life’s picture.
Seek professional help. Grief is similar to depression symptomatically, but grief comes in waves, while depression has a consistency that can be unruly. I love to play with words and add humor to topics, but this is serious: if you feel like you are worthless, hopeless, or helpless, please do not ignore those feelings. Please seek professional help. And remember, asking for help doesn’t make you a crappy human being. There is courage and strength in seeking assistance.
You’re not a failure. I say to my clients and I had to learn this for myself that sometimes the ending of a relationship is actually a new beginning.
Here in lies an awesome opportunity for you to reinvent things you’ve overlooked, to pour on all that love you were sharing to yourself through this tough time. To give yourself credit for the good you did do, and the good you still have yet to accomplish.
I know this doesn’t solve the pain, frustration, and sorrow you may be experiencing. What I do know is that there’s so much ahead of you. There will be times that you are reminded of the love lost and want to throw things, scream, cry, or all the above. But I also have a feeling there will be times where you smile.