Well, it has been one month since the break-up. Officially. And the cool part is: one month is a very small amount of time. It is only 30 days. It is 1/36th of the amount of time that my ex and I spent together. It is only two paychecks worth of time, one menstrual cycle, one full moon. What I’m getting at is- not very much time has passed, but I feel worlds better than I did in the beginning. I even feel worlds better than I did two weeks in. Sure, I still think about him/the relationship at least once a day, but it isn’t the pining and painful kind of thought that I was having before. It is usually something benign that occurs out of the blue- like when I hear a song that he would like, or see something at the store that I would have bought for him.
I don’t feel like I have done a lot of healing, and I am okay with that. I haven’t yet had the feeling that I burst out of prison or something and am enjoying my sweet freedom for the first time. It isn’t that clear to me yet. The shitty relationship that I had 10 years ago (I dated him from age 18-20) left me with an indescribably free feeling when I ended it. I literally felt a weight lifted off of me. I think I had carried around stress and anxiety from the relationship that I didn’t even know about, and so the minute I ended it my body thanked me by releasing all of that stress and tension, and I instantly felt better. In this recent case I had kind of expected that to happen again, but I think that I spent so much of the relationship trying to get rid of the anxious and stressed feeling, that I now have that as a major cause of stress: Am I always going to feel this stressed and anxious? Because it is constantly in the back of my mind how much I have changed, I don’t feel that feeling of sweet freedom. Yet.
I haven’t healed yet because I have spent the last month allowing myself to just cope with the change in lifestyle, and with no longer having him in my life. I think it would have been too much to try and start getting to the root of whatever damage I need to repair, while also trying to be okay with not seeing/talking to him. Trying to heal myself would be a constant reminder of our relationship, and I didn’t feel ready for that. I feel ready now though- not just because it has been a month, but because I just feel ready. I drove through his neighborhood yesterday (we live very close and I had to be there, I wasn’t stalking him or anything,) and I really considered how I would feel if I saw him with another girl. I know it is probably impossible to know how you would react to a situation like that until it happens, but when I thought of it- I didn’t even get that initial split-second of pain/anger/anxiety/whatever that feeling is. I used to get that regularly when I would think he was seeing/talking to someone else. This time, when I thought about it, I just thought ‘Hmm. Interesting.’ That’s it. I don’t think I would really feel bad for her like I felt with the last shitty relationship 10 years ago. I mean, J is fun and funny and charming. He is not a bad guy to be around at first. Right now he is not in school, and so is able to give his attention to a relationship. In a regular relationship anything that will be a problem with him will not be a problem until later on. So I wouldn’t really feel badly for her. They are probably having fun (this is all hypothetical, I did not see him with a girl,) and enjoying each other’s company.
I think a lot of the healing that I need to do is going to take kind of a long time. I think that it will take prolonged exposure to normal people, who accept my feelings in a normal way. I also think that I need to get to know myself again, and replace the image that he constantly planted in me with the good, healthy, positive image I had before I met him. I am beginning to do that already, because in opening myself up to other people I am realizing what I have always known which is: I am likable and easy to get along with. I have people in my life who genuinely care about me and my well-being. I bring value to other people’s lives.
All of those are things that J challenged when I was with him, and I allowed him to challenge them to the point that my perception of myself has changed. I was genuinely curious if once I left the relationship if it would be very difficult for me to meet men because I am so awkward and ‘off-beat.’ Also because I am ‘too sensitive,’ and at the same time, somehow, ‘too insensitive.’ Turns out, I have no problem meeting men. J may have told me once in three years that I was pretty. I don’t need to be told that all the time, or even often for that matter, but what I do need is for my boyfriend to at least be telling me a little more than other people tell me, that he finds me attractive. I found that I was getting compliments from other people at 15-20 times the rate that he was complimenting me. I just didn’t feel like he found me to be attractive really, and I internalized this and I swear to you- I became less attractive! In a way. I think this is where ideas of ‘perception is reality’ or the ‘power of thought’ comes into play. The one person who I wanted to be attracted to me, did not seem to be attracted to me. He would talk about his model ex-girlfriend, but definitely did not compliment me for at least a year. Thus, I began to wonder if I just was not physically attractive to him. This made me feel insecure in a lot of different ways. My insecurity caused me to question my worth- both emotionally and physically. I exuded this insecurity, thus making me less attractive as an individual. I was constantly stressed, lacking in sleep, I started smoking for a while, I wasn’t eating either well, or at all. (All of this was not because of him not finding me attractive, but also because our fights were so bad that these are the ways that my body would react.) So with these factors combined, I really did find a lot less people asking me out, or being attracted to me. This further instilled in me the fact that: You can’t compete with a model ex-girlfriend!
Turns out: people are still attracted to me. But I do think that if you feel insecure or down on yourself, you will come across that way to other people. Since J and I have broken up, I feel confident and on-the-mend. I have had multiple guys ask for my number, and the ones I have talked to have seemed genuinely interested. All of these things have been important for me to realize because I lost myself a little bit, as one tends to do when they’re in a relationship. You tend to become ‘Me in a relationship,’ as opposed to ‘Me. In a relationship.’ And in doing that, you can often lose sight of who you really are, and how you function as an individual.
I function just fine. I’ve made a little bit shittier decisions in terms of going out drinking more than I should, and sleeping with the rebound guy from work, but overall: I feel happier when I wake up. I know that I am in 100% control of my own emotions. I can spend my days and nights however I please. When I feel a fleeting pang of stress or anxiety wondering how he feels about the situation- I can instantly shut it off because it is no longer my problem at all. People like me and want to spend time with me. I can do anything that I want to- I can travel, I can take impromptu trips, I can go to shows, I can spend my day sleeping, I can cook a feast for myself, I can get a roommate if I want, I can apply for a school across the U.S. It is important to realize these things, and to realize that I can find someone that fits with these things- it doesn’t have to be one or the other.
I guess the upshot is this: Have you ever gone for a strenuous hike, and then you get to the top and you enjoy the view, and then you start heading down and as you’re heading down you think ‘damn, this is steep, I can’t believe I made it up this.’ And then by the time you’re halfway down you start to wonder- would I do that again if I knew how difficult it was going to be? This break-up is sort of like the opposite of that. It is more: would I have done it sooner if I had known how easy it was going to be? I anticipated something terrible and difficult, and it has been at times, and now I’m starting to enjoy the view and realize- that was easier than I thought! I can’t believe I put it off for so long. But I don’t know, like I said before- I think that when you’re ready you’re ready, but I also think that when it comes to break-ups, they might seem worse than they actually are.