No matter how or who you date, we've all had that one relationship that is really set apart from the rest. It's the one you went all in for, the one that you can look back at now in the realization that it was a decisive moment for you, it's the one where you fell in love. Ending that sort of relationship is never an easy breakup, even if it's "mutual" (which is something I still wonder is even possible). Nevertheless, life goes on and you move on; but after months and even years of hurting and healing, where does that leave you? How do you really get out of the past when you're unsure of the future?
For me, this kind of relationship was my first boyfriend. Fresh-faced and bright-eyed, I showed up to college ready to take on the world. Instead, I met someone. Long story short, let's just say I ended up in a pretty toxic, dysfunctional relationship for almost 2 years. Unhappy without understanding and self-destructive in my oblivion I trudged through this bond with the mantra "I can make this work, I love him." Don't get me wrong, I love love and I believe in it, but I learned the hard way that love doesn't beat all; there are some ghosts from the past and skeletons in the closet that love simply can't defeat. Upon this acceptance, I found myself on a sidewalk curb at noon breaking up with the boy I had been committed to marrying one day. I remember crying that day thinking the whole conversation felt like a mistake, but emotions can be flighty and I knew that. I knew when I broke up with him and I knew afterward that no matter how shattered and ripped apart I felt, it was still the right thing to do.
Now, everyone has their own way of coping through a break-up, but mine was pretty much every cliche in the book.Phase 1: Hookup with your ex a couple weeks after the breakup. Check.
Phase 2: Embrace your newfound independence through an unhealthy, long series of random hookups. Check.
Phase 3: Convince yourself you're ready for a new relationship when you're really not and watch your love life crash and burn.
And now here I am, at Phase 4: Actually accepting the single life and being happy with it. It takes a while to get here; it took me a couple years (my Phase 2 went on a little longer than I would have hoped). It's funny how one day you begin to put the pieces together and you realize that you truly are relieved to be single. At first, you envelop yourself in the refuge of self-sufficiency and welcome the ability to relearn who you are. Personally, I love this. I love discovering those qualities and skills that I lost in my toxic relationship. I love finding my voice again and expressing myself. There is so much confidence and beauty lost in a twisted relationship and that's why I think it takes so long to get over the bad ones; you lose yourself in the other and once they're gone, you don't know how to get yourself out. After a long relationship it's refreshing to be on your own again, free in your self-reliance and responsible for only yourself. Nevertheless, after the shimmer and shine of autonomy wears off, you find yourself missing having someone. No matter how wonderful and supportive your friends and family may be, there is a unique bond in a romantic relationship that just can't be recreated.
So where does that leave you? What's the next step? I feel that I'm stuck in an emotional limbo right now. It's not always easy living in the simultaneity of opposites. I'm motivated and filled with ambition to tackle on the world again; I look to the future with hope, excitement, and a little bit of fear. Yet all the while, I miss having someone I can share the moments, the worries, and the laughs with. Dear reader, you may be thinking about those last two sentences wondering why it's a paradox in my mind; and in a sense, you're right. Those two things don't need to contradict and a lot of times they don't. But sometimes, you reach a point in your life where you need the freedom of singularity in order to find yourself again. I know to say that sounds so cliche, but it's true. Self-discovery and introspection are so integral to harmony in your life and sometimes having a significant other ends up only an added distraction.
So I've adopted a new philosophy and a new perspective. As much as I may miss having my person I still try to the best of my efforts to not let that get me down. Instead, I look to the bright side and wholeheartedly embrace the perks of the single life. Now that's a lot easier said than done and I'm not saying it's always a walk in the park, but I can say with confidence that I have peace about this stage in my life. There are times I get confused and a little lost but overall I know I'm supposed to be here. Even though these sentiments are true, I still plan on one day being with someone and I am excited for that day to come. But what good does it do to become sad or depressed that you're not in that sort of relationship yet? Why complicate your own life like that? The impatient anticipation and restlessness to jump into a relationship can be so drowning to a person; that itch ends up overtaking your life. I think the best thing to do is to simply accept the present moment and wait. Accepting it opens up thousands of doors within you, for once those feelings are reconciled, your own being can be cultivated and a multitude of self-aspects can be discovered. Once you reach that moment of compliance there is a sense of relief that enters your life like a warm, balmy breeze; and for a while life is good in its whirls of excitement and calm. Here is where the age-old saying, "time heals all wounds," manifests in your life and more than ever have I realized the truth of that adage. Before you even fully saw it coming, you've moved on. And the old breaks and hurts you once thought were irreparable are merely faded scars. Although I think I'm closer to being ready for a relationship than I ever have been and though I want one, deep down I know it's not time.
So I'm waiting. Waiting for the right person to come along. Waiting for someone to show me the love and respect I never had before. And it's not always easy, I sometimes get restless and bored without having romance, but ultimately, I believe that I will cross paths with this person when I'm meant to. While this outlook brings a liberating feeling of serenity, it also tends to push me to confront my own fears and doubts. It truly is frightening to stare in the face of the future, completely unaware of what it holds, and to remain steadfast and strong in your decisions and actions. On good days, I tell myself that I'm wandering through life right now, waiting for my next adventure to arrive. But on bad days, I chide myself for not making a plan and shudder at the mysterious unknown we call the future.
Life is never a straight shot path, it holds its curves and bends; likewise, us travelers are never fully consistent with our emotions and behavior. But we still try. No matter how terrible and empty you may feel, remember it's all a passing moment. And maybe the waiting game is not always fun, but I for one am happy I'm playing in it. And I will continue to try my best to embrace this moment in life because I won't always be here and I need to at least seize the good in these fleeting times.