Letting Go

Monday, March 22, 2010

There comes a time in everyone's life when they find themselves in places that they never thought they'd be and feeling things that they never thought they'd feel. What once felt like utopia, can turn into disillusionment. How could you go so wrong when it was supposed to be forever? Anyone who has gone through a relationship breakup will know how this feels. Do you save the relationship? Why should you if the other person doesn't even know you're alive? Should you forgive them? Should you move on? There are no easy answers and no quick solutions. You're in for years of trust-rebuilding, and second guessing yourself, and worse - explaining to family and friends how wrong you were. How do they trust you again? What if you find someone else? Do you start to feel like the boy that cried wolf? "Oh - but this one's real...I promise." 

I have gone through this now twice in my 30 years. The first time, I think you can be forgiven - especially if you were young when you made those decisions. The second time is harder - especially if there's a wedding somewhere in the middle of that relationship. How do you say to all of those family and friends years later that you were wrong? Or that you tried as hard as you could? That you made a mistake? Well...that's a personal thing, I suppose. All you can do is try to surround yourself with loving friends and family who will help you weather the storm.

When do you let go though? Is there a prescribed timeframe? A socially acceptable norm? I have asked myself these same questions. Essentially - the only rule of thumb is that you let go whenever you are ready to - and not a moment before. You will have people tell you that the sooner you do it, the better - but you run the risk of bottling all of that hurt and resentment, rather than letting go. You have to truly ask yourself what you will do without access to your former partner's life (Facebook addicts, I'm looking at you...). Can you cope without knowing how they are and whether they're surviving without you? I can tell you now - you will drive yourself insane if you do - BUT - if you're not ready to cut the thread that ties you to that need, then by all means - don't. You're in for more pain - but it depends on what your threshold is as to when you choose to not hurt anymore.

The hardest part is when your former partner finds someone else. Suddenly it's all over the internet with a thousand people showering them with congratulations at a rate of knots. Or that's how it seems.  You feel every emotion possible - sometimes all at once. You ask yourself what their new partner has that you don't. You find flaws in both them and yourself. You erupt into sudden tears at work, on the bus, out running, watching TV. You swing between being better off and not coping. Jealousy really knows how to ramp up the pain. And I can tell you - it's probably about now that most people drop out of the resentment race. Competing with a new flame is a whole different ballgame and drives people to do stupid, irrational things. 

I'm on the verge of letting go of something that has been a part of my life for nine years now. That's almost a third. I've been to hell and back about a million times over the past two years. I have suffered depression, anxiety and a few too many blows to my self esteem. Sometimes I look at photos and still wonder where it all went wrong. What I did wrong. And what life would have been like if I hadn't have given up. But then I remember why I did. It takes two people to make a successful relationship. Some will suffer through a loveless marriage for fear of what lies beyond if they leave. Those fears are valid, believe me. But they only compound when you're out and you keep looking back.

This weekend I'm going to let go of something and I'm not going to look back. It is quite possibly the scariest and most liberating thing I have ever done in my life. And all I can do now is be grateful for the (albeit few) friends that I have left, and the experiences that I have gained. I am now with someone who allows me the freedom of loving wholeheartedly. Who I don't have to apologise to for simply being myself. Who is everything I have needed but for some reason in the past I have settled for less. 

I look back and wonder if I should have waited for my ex-husband to change (Note to self - people. do. not. change. ever.) instead of putting myself through the pain. The answer is always no. My skin is marked and scarred and not as soft as it used to be. I have lived through several wars and although I did not emerge unscathed, I emerged a better person. I am more secure and fulfilled and my heart is once again bursting with life after being starved of affection for so long.

It is truly his loss.
But there is nothing I can do about that anymore.

Nor do I care to.


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