He really loves me; he just needs time. He has been hurt before, and he’s just scared. He does not know what to do with the love of a good woman.
I will never find anyone else. He is my soulmate. It is my fault we had problems. I can never love again. I am too invested in him to let him go.
These are just a few of the lies I told myself about why I did not need to let go of the guy who is just not a good match for me. I am not saying he isn’t good; he just is not good for me.
There are as many reasons for holding onto a dead-end relationship as there are people who stay in them. The bottom line is, if we are holding onto a broken relationship, it distracts us from the good relationship we seek and deserve.
I have had my fair share of relationships and they all had a couple of things in common. They were all not good for me and as a result, they all ended. They all started out happy and they all ended with pain. With every new relationship, I told myself “This one is different. He is the one!” I was wrong every time!
If doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is insanity, then I am clearly insane. There is something to be said for getting right back on the horse when it throws you off, but after a while, it might be wise to take some riding lessons. A couple of failed marriages and a string of relationships that ranged from short lived to almost married finally convinced me, it was not them, it really was me. I had to be willing to look at what I was doing wrong. The discovery was both shocking and liberating.
First let me tell you what I was doing right. I was faithful, loyal, attentive, genuine, and invested. I gave them space. I was not needy, clinging, or jealous. I made time for them, but I also let them have freedom to live their own lives and I lived mine.
I was, in my estimation, a good mate.
So, what went wrong? Simple. It was wrong from the beginning.
Just because your elevator is stopped on the same floor at the same time does not mean you are going the same direction or to the same destination.
I was traveling east and they were headed west. When our paths crossed, I thought it had to be destiny. I was selling myself short.
Once I became willing to step back from the wreckage of my past, I could clearly see the damage I had done. I saw the pain I had caused myself and those around me all because I was determined to “get it right” in the next relationship.
If I continue to take my brokenness into another relationship, I will continue to find and cause pain and more brokenness. Until I am whole, healthy, and healed, I cannot hope to find a mate who is a good match for me. We draw people to us who mirror us. If I am broken, I will be a magnet for broken people. If I am struggling with addiction, I will attract other addicts. It’s funny, since I quit smoking, none of my friends smoke. I did not intentionally change friends, but I stopped hanging out in the smoking section and it just happened.
My healing began after I walked away from the last relationship and decided it was time to change me. Every area of my life that was less than ideal was to get an overhaul. Without a man in my life, I had time to focus on attaining my goals and realizing my dreams that had previously seemed like distant fantasies.
Seeking help from support groups, attending therapy with a counselor, and making time to vent to my bestie on a regular basis have all been vital tools. I wear a ring that says “I am enough” and it serves to remind me that I do not need a relationship to complete me.
The choices we make in finding a mate tend to reflect where we are on our personal journey in life. As a daily drinker, I fell in love with a bartender. A few years sober, my priorities were different. As an under-educated single mom struggling to make ends meet, I fell in love with the gas station attendant who loaned me the money for a gallon of milk. A college degree and a lot of life experience later everything changed. During a custody battle, falling for my attorney seemed the natural thing to do. Even that came to a screeching halt when life happened, and I had to devote all my time and attention to a major life crisis.
I have learned, the choices I make today may not be the same choices I would make a few years down the road in a better, stronger place.
Being alone does not mean being lonely. After all, there is not much that a relationship can give you that you cannot get from a support group and a host of good friends.
When I was a kid, I wanted to go to the circus because I had heard about the clowns, the animals, and the trapeze artists. My dad gave me $5. Going to the circus, on my way downtown, I saw a parade. I watched in awe as the floats passed with animals, dancing ladies, strong men, and all sorts of circus acts. At the end there was a dancing clown! He held out his hand as he danced past me. He was trying to shake my hand. I gave him my $5. because I thought he was collecting the admission. I mistook the parade for the circus! I hope you do not miss the circus!
© W.L. 2021