Love - We're All Doing It Wrong

How I Let Him Go Even Though I Still Loved Him

How did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

woman sitting in front of tree

And there is it was – staring me right in the face. I knew it immediately but despite my knowing I still questioned it. My gut was on red alert and my heart was on the verge of sobbing. My ears were ringing. My eyes felt frozen. It was the red flag that couldn’t be denied and I denied it anyway – at least for a few more years. Ugh. (facepalm)

We seemed to have so much in common. We could talk for hours. Our pasts seemed parallel giving us an exclusive understanding of one another. We had genuine interests in each other’s hobbies. We could see through to one another. Being together we both emerged with a side from within that was buried so deep. The connection was unique. It felt rare. It redefined passion.

So, why is it I am not with him today? How could I not eternally embrace something that sounds as though it was delivered from “a land far far away”?

Well, I finally saw what everyone had been telling me – that he was not right for me.

What we had was a very passionate relationship in every romantic sense of the word that you can imagine. And yet with the positive passion came the negative passion. Both were intense at their own distinctive level. Both were scary. Both were invigorating. But also dangerous to my mental health.

I won’t go into the details of the relationship but what I will tell you is that we had little to no support from our friends and family. This is a definite sign that the relationship is not what you think it is. Sometimes, the best measurement of the health of a relationship is the level of support from those around you.

I refused to listen to those people because there was always that one person who stood out and said, “Yes! Yes, you are the one for him!” My desire to hold on to that positive passion was fed by the repetition of that one statement for two years – in my head.

woman in black full zip jacket

So, how did I do it? How was I able to walk away from the man I loved so deeply and profoundly? How was I able to move on from a love I felt and embraced so much?

I had to recognize that what I felt was not equal to what he felt or the negative passion would not have been as strong.

Don’t be mistaken. He liked to keep me around for his pleasure and fun or his needs but when it came to what I needed? Ha. It was not only my fault he was unhappy with our situation but it was my fault if I was experiencing turmoil or trials. It was my stupidity or my bitchiness that created my situation and that wasn’t his problem.

But, he loved me. Yeah, I didn’t get it either. But, wildly enough, I believed that he loved me and I needed to stay. It took me about 25 months to finally pull the trigger and walk out of his life and back into my own.

I don’t know if was time wasted or the most influential learning experience I have ever been through. What I do know is that the experience is mine to share with you.

So, back to how to let go if you still love him. How did I put my love aside to escape my prison?

1. I kept all the text messages for reference. He used to get mad that I would retain our text conversations and refer back to them. He rarely came off looking like a nice guy (and my responses weren’t always pretty, either) and therefore he would demand I delete them or sweet-talk me into deleting them.

Once they were gone I had nothing visual to remind me who he really was. Once those texts were gone he would turn on the loving charm and then cycle back into the emotional deviant I was hooked to. I do have some of the texts to remind me of why I left when I start to miss the good times.

2. I had to push my emotional brain aside for my logical. I had to really think about his actions and how they aligned, or misaligned, with his words. I had to look at his expectations and my expectations and determine how they balanced. I had to stop deceiving me and come to terms with the reality that I was not getting anywhere with him and my life was depleting the more time I devoted to him. Once I realized that it was easier to not respond his last text message.

photography of woman using laptop

3. I needed something to maintain my focus. My attention had to be placed somewhere else so I could go through the process of grieving a relationship I had with a man who was mentally dangerous. I found that focus and protected it with every fiber of my being. That focus remains today as a reminder that being me is a great thing and not a result of someone else’s demands.

4. I prepared myself emotionally for the final walk. I literally stood in front of a mirror and told myself, “You will want to text him so the crying will stop. You will want to run back to him to feel normal again.” I knew the real problem for me was fighting the addiction created throughout the relationship. Maybe the uncomfortable tears of grief would stop by contacting him but they would be replaced with the comfortable tears of name-calling and emotional abuse I had been so accustomed to.

Maybe I would feel normal again by running to him but would hurt myself more by embracing that sense of “normal” versus developing myself by venturing out of my comfort zone. The funny thing about a comfort zone is that it might be comfortable but it doesn’t necessarily feel good nor is it healthy. It is just comfortable.

5. I had to be fair to myself and allow myself the time to heal and try life without him. I had to be permitted to be me again without his permission or approval. I had to give myself enough time to feel the emotions I prepped myself for. I had to give me a chance to heal even if it hurt like hell. Even if I cried myself to sleep. Even if it meant I would never be loved again. In the end, it meant I would love me and not have someone attempt to make me feel guilty for it. There is no guilt in loving me but there is guilt in knowingly hurting me via an unhealthy relationship.

woman holding a smiley balloon

So, the time has passed and here I am. I didn’t die without him like I thought I would. I didn’t spiral down into depression like he had predicted. I continued to breathe and live my life. I am free to be me and am happy being me. I have grown and continue to do so every day. Why? Because I didn’t give up on me.

Love - We're All Doing It Wrong

3 Rules To Remind You Relationships Are Tougher Than They Appear On TV

Relationships are a part of our identity.  It could be the relationship with our friends or family, our children, our significant other or any other relationship you can point out in your life. Relationships are important in developing who we are and how we interact with others on various levels.

We learn about relationships immediately in our lives starting with those that provide our care and fulfill our needs starting with infancy.  The first lesson in life is that we have needs that must be met in order to survive.  As our needs change, based on growth and development, the relationships multiply and may become complex.  Ideally, the needs between those within a relationship develop into a two-way street.  One side of the street gives while the other takes and theoretically each party takes turns on either side of the road.  This is how relationships become mutual agreements.

Think of relationships as an investment…and a return.

Healthy relationships require two people to balance the giving and taking. There is really no other way about it and it does not matter the relationship. Platonic. Romantic. Familial. Friendship. You name it they all require traffic to flow in two directions. The type of relationship will determine the role each person will fulfill – or in other words the needs that need to be met.

I would not venture to say that any single relationship is necessarily easier than another or that one is of lesser value. That is for you to decide as it makes sense in your life.  The relationship centered on romantic love is likely the one that makes the most impact on your life and therefore can easily be seen as the most challenging of all relationships.  But, it is fair to keep in mind sometimes we make things more difficult than they are due to where we position our focus.  (Let the sink in…)

The problem with romantic love is the vision we all have of what it is supposed to be. Growing up we get this fantastical vision of what love is going to be based on what we see on the television or in the movies:  “True love”.  “Love of a lifetime”.  “Soulmate”. “Happily ever after”.  “Extreme acts of love”.  There is this repetitive idea that love is riddled with exciting emotional climaxes completed with “happy ever after endings” and anything less is not considered “love.”

In the no-nonsense words of Sherman T. Potter from the sitcom M*A*S*H…

”HORSE HOCKEY!!!”

horse laughing laughing horse

While no one really likes rules here are 3 pieces of insight to remind you why relationships are tougher than they appear on the boob-tube or the silver screen:

First rule of relationships: Don’t compare your life to what you see on television (or anyone else, really).

By using comparisons you will remain forever single or accumulate wasteful relationships due to unrealistic expectations of others.  Besides, that one relationship in your life that you get to choose and is meant to last a lifetime is not going to be comparable to what you see on tv. It should be better because it will be real.  It will be yours. It will be incredibly joyous. It will be incredibly painful.  It will be based on the choices you and your partner make rather than a room of writers trying to score a paycheck or franchise opportunity.

Second rule of relationships: If you don’t know who you are don’t be surprised if you find someone that tells you who you are.

This is the making of an unhealthy relationship, one of abusive co-dependency. Knowing who you are, being able to identify yourself will help in keeping the bad ones away and attract the good ones. If you don’t know who you are you won’t know what you can offer another.  Rest assured that there are PLENTY out there who are thrilled to tell you who you are; its called control and can create a cycle of abuse that is difficult to break free from.

Third rule of relationships: Don’t confuse being alone with loneliness.

One is a status and the other is a feeling. Being alone doesn’t mean anything other than you are single. You aren’t a loser nor are you aren’t incomplete. You are just flying solo and that is a good thing until you find the person that aligns with you, not defines you.  Loneliness, on the other hand, is a side effect of a breakup.  At some point, that lonely feeling hits you and it is uncomfortable.  It is that uncomfy feeling that can be a driving force influencing decisions that are not in your best interests. This is the reason so many tell you to WAIT between relationships allowing you to avoid doing yourself a romantic disservice.

blonde haired woman in orange knitted long sleeved top

Relationships, specifically the romantic ones, are tough. They are tougher if you are not ready to embrace you for you and therefore have it embraced by others.   Because of what we have seen over and over again, there is this misconception that our love life should be based on being “saved” by that fictional “white knight in shining armor”.  Relationships are not about being saved by another.  They are not about completing each other. They are about alignment between two people and how that works to compliment one another.   It is not a matter of forcing it or learning how to do it. It is a matter of when you are ready to do it.

You can do it.