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.

"Mirror, Mirror, on the wall..."

When Facing The Unknown You’ll Need Attitude And Optimism

Changes are a test of attitude and optimism. Attitude is how you look at or view change and optimism, despite common belief, is realizing there are negatives and positives to every situation; it’s your ability to adapt or adjust to change that makes the difference.

My attitude and optimism were tested some time ago.  I am an optimistic person. I don’t just find a way to make the best of a situation, I realize there is a time frame with every positive or negative event.  I know that I have the ability to choose how I view a situation and the ability to choose how I emotionally respond to it. I may have control of the situation or I may not, but the important thing is that I can control myself even during my most difficult feelings.  So when I was laid off from my favorite job, I took it better than others expected.

grayscale photo of person in parka coat

 

It is tough being forced out of your comfort zone!

 

 

Honestly, the moment I realized I was being laid off, it was an upsetting one.  I won’t lie. My security had been ripped away from me and my ability to provide for my kids had been scrapped. My comfort zones were threatened if not erased; a part of me wanted to break down and cry huge crocodile tears and scream out in fear while running away in shame.  However, the mindful part of me took over and eased the fear within. The confident side of me took the lead reminding myself of the very thing I offer others facing challenging changes, “You can do it!”

Losing a job is one of those situations that single parents don’t think about because it scares the hell out of us! Not knowing where your next paycheck will come from can be enough to send anyone over the edge.  Being jobless is a terrifying thought to wake up and yet, that didn’t bother me despite having three children, a mortgage, a car payment and a (strong) desire to shop.

Given all this, you could understand the panic I felt.  I was well within reason to panic, should have I opted to!  So if I made a scene by yelling at my boss, accusing him of being a heartless bastard for letting go of a single mother, you would likely understand and not fault me.  A reaction like that might seem natural.  What may surprise you was my response to the sour news.  I told my boss that I did not envy his position, as he had a difficult decision to execute.  I told him I was grateful for the opportunity and enjoyed my time on the team.  I understood it was business and it was time for me to move on. I left that office with the respect of my boss and supervisor and my dignity intact.

I could not have been more proud of how I handled such an extremely stressful situation!  

blonde hair blur daylight environment

After leaving my office building, I took with me the unknown future and the biggest smile on my face. Typically, that kind of smile would be accompanied by having an idea of where I would be going or how to get there but not this time. I knew where I was going; I was headed to start my new path and a new chapter in my life. My job might have divorced me, which was a much easier process than my previous divorces, but I was not worried.  My job might have made a choice for me and I might not have had a say, but that didn’t matter.  What mattered was my ability to pick myself up, dust off and keep moving onward and upward.  What mattered was my ability to adapt to the situation!

Life goes on…and so should you! 🙂 

It would be fair to say that my being laid off was the proverbially lemon to my life.  I could have taken that lemon and made matters worse by squeezing it into my eye to gain further sympathy.   That doesn’t seem to solve any problems, though.  It is definitely more constructive to retaliate the citrus attack with sugar or even vodka as a means of enjoying life’s sense of humor.  I mean, maybe that part of my world at work came to a sudden stop it didn’t mean any other part of my world was also going to stop.  So, I squeezed that lemon and made something I could work with…I didn’t necessarily like what I got but then I didn’t stop squeezing that lemon or any lemon thereafter.

portrait of beautiful young woman over white backgroundYou may be curious as to how I can do that?  How could I possibly have such a “get-er-done” attitude?  How could I have such optimism for a situation that is out of my control?   For one…I don’t take “no” as an answer, only an obstacle. Two: I don’t give myself a break when there is work to do meaning it doesn’t make sense to use my sitting bones when there is a need to move.  And three: I tried the pity party and self-wallowing only to learn that they result in (spoiler alert)…NOTHING.

The key thing is to understand that what you ARE doing may not be nearly as important as what you ARE NOT doing.

You ARE NOT going to feel sorry for yourself when the lemons strike.

You ARE NOT going to beat yourself up with the lemons.

You ARE going to dust yourself off and move!

Fear of the unknown is what makes things scary!

The loss of a job, or the like, are not easy situations to pilot through, even with a positive mindset. The fear of the unknown tempts us every day. The panic wants to creep in and overwhelm you and I. The voice of self-defeat likes to whisper daily to whoever is listening.  I could easily look myself in the mirror and say, “I give up.” If I did that I would not be the person I encourage others to be; I would not a good steward of my beliefs of personal empowerment. If I cannot be an example of what I preach I cannot be credible.

woman wearing strapless dressYour attitude determines how you look at any given situation or change. Your ability to adapt and adjust projects in your level of optimism. Without change, it is hard to grow and develop as a unique person.  Changes are not meant to tear us down but give us the motivation to evolve into better versions of the person in the mirror.  They are designed to move us forward, not stall us.  If you think about it, you have been through some pretty bad situations.  In terms of those, where are you?

We won’t always be prepared for life when it happens, but changes help us to realize we are more ready than we know. As we receive new chapters in our book of life it’s important to remember the pages are unwritten and the pen is in hand. (Points if you know the song loosely referenced here!) 😉

What are you going to write?