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

Love Signs You Don’t Typically Look For

Whitney Houston once sang, “How Will I Know If He Really Loves Me?” And its a pretty legit question.  How DO you know if he really loves you?

Some might tell you that you feel butterflies or a sense of excitement when he walks into the room. Others tell you he isn’t afraid to brag about you, while others may believe that subtle gestures such as kissing you on the forehead or a caressing touch are signs of love.

All could be true of love but not necessarily that of a healthy romantic love.

Any woman who has lived with a narcissist or a manipulative man will tell you that these things are not necessarily the things that make up a loving relationship.  Love is more than just a kiss here or a loving caress there.  Love is a genuine appreciation for an individual.

So, how do you know you’re in a healthy relationship?

woman wearing blue jacket
Photo by João Jesus on Pexels.com

Glad you asked!  It took me a long time to figure this one out.  I had to have several intentionally sought after relationships that wound up unhealthy before I fell into the healthy one and figured out the major differences.  It is easy to fall into a sequence of foul relationships because they become what you know.  It is the unknown of the healthy relationship that can catch you off guard!  The healthy relationship is uncomfy at first but it does grow on you once you realize that you being you is vital to the relationship, not you being who Mr. Unhealthy wants you to be!   So, what should you keep your eyes peeled for?

He encourages you to be you.

Anyone who has actual love and admiration for you will not try to change you to meet their narrative.  When you are with the right person, the person who aligns with you, they are not worried about changing you, rather they are interested in the person you will continually evolve into. They want to be a part of that and they know they are not the only influence when it comes to you being you. There are friends, family, and other people that have a hand in your development and the right guy values that.

 He listens to you when you speak. 

Any guy that is consistent about interrupting you, talking over you or cutting you off versus listening to you is not interested in you. Those types of guys are more likely threatened by you and look to exert their false sense of superiority over you. Even if you are a “chatty-Kathy” there is no need to shut you down because he is bored. If he can handle your rambling then he is worth your investment; just try to ramble to a point.

 He cares about your interests. 

The guy who loves you will show support for your interest and passion. He will offer you praise when you get involved and make a difference in the lives of others because he understands your interests are factors in who you are. He also gets that your interests will change and he is fine with that. If it gives you a reason to be happy he will support it. Don’t be fooled, though!  Just because your loving man supports you doesn’t mean he follows you, watches you or is even your biggest fan. The man with a genuine love for you will be perfectly okay not leading the parade in your honor though will be your biggest supporter and he will find a way to show you that support.

 He gives you space.

We all need space whether in a relationship or not.  If space is not something you are familiar with or you don’t recognize it as being part of a healthy loving relationship you might reconsider your readiness for commitment. Spending every moment of every day with the same person day in and day out is asking for a “blah” kind of relationship and is a key component to stalling your sense of self. Personal space is necessary to be alone with our thoughts and reflect on how our lives are proceeding. We need to be able to have those moments to get in touch with our inner selves.  The same is true for time with friends, family and anyone else that brings out the genuine pure side of our individuality.   If he consistently impedes upon that space he likely has motives that don’t include you being you.

 He provides for you.

He is a gentleman and understands what it means to take care of a lady without insinuating you are incapable. He won’t ask to order your dinner without your permission. He will extend an arm to open the door or pull out a chair. He will offer to drop you off and walk you to your door. He will offer to get you a cup of coffee, pour you a glass of wine or even make you dinner and he does so with the right attitude. It is not about controlling you and making decisions for you. It is about asking you what you would like and delivering to you because this is how he pampers you, particularly if you are the independent or self-sufficient type.  He also understands that when you reject those chivalry-esque gestures you are exerting your independence and he won’t take it personally.

 He doesn’t rush things.

The man who loves you and understands healthy love, will not rush you into any decision, pressure you into his desires or steam roll you to get his way. He will show patience for you and your timeline even if it is an inconvenience to him. In his mind, you are worth it and he honestly believes you would do it for him, though its unlikely he would ask you.

LOVE is more than just an emotion. It is a healthy attachment to someone who is eager to provide you with an opportunity to be you. They embrace you both physically and emotionally. Love is about boundaries.  Love is about respect for those boundaries. Love is about tolerance when things get annoying or ugly.  Love is about patience when tolerance is necessary.  Love is more than simply telling someone you love them or hearing it from another. It is a connection that is natural and peaceful.

It is easy to believe those butterflies are indicative that you’ve hit the love jackpot but what happens to those butterflies when the “honeymoon phase” ends? Are you at peace or do you feel lost and need to know what happened?  Does the person you met initially stand before you or are they someone else entirely?

photo of woman looking at the mirrorThe biggest key to a healthy relationship is to know you deserve to be loved for you and that love should start with you first.  If you don’t love you for you finding a healthy relationship will be that much more difficult.  It is also important to understand that you deserve the kind of person that will give you the healthy love and attention that encourages you to be you.

What are your experiences with healthy and unhealthy love?