If there’s one thing I can say about my recently ended relationship, it’s that I am so proud of the way we conducted ourselves. I haven’t always been able to say so, and I’m just so glad to see how much I’d grown:
- I stood up for myself when it was called for.
- I broke down and allowed myself to cry and shared what I was feeling in the moment when it was the right time to do that (i.e. when it was authentic to what I was feeling).
- I accepted and admitted where my baggage needed some tidying up, and was willing to see it, own it and make some changes in my own behavior. And I was willing to draw the line and say so when the baggage wasn’t mine.
- I argued well and respectfully.
- I was genuine and truthful.
- I gave love a chance. I was present with an open heart and mind.
- He was a gentleman and employed excellent manners.
- He showed discipline and adherence to principles such as honesty, respect and justice.
- He allowed me to be a bit of a princess, but let me know where the line was.
I’m not saying I don’t have room to improve. I certainly witnessed / experienced areas within myself that still require some healing or some work. And I’m going to nurture myself and take care of those things and go on with life and, some day, new relationships.
Right now, I’m just grateful and happy to have experienced a truly rewarding, respectful and fun relationship. I feel nothing but love and respect for my recent ex …which is more than I can say for my ex ex! I’m proud of us and the way we cared for and supported one another, and it’s a blessing to be able to look back and feel that way.
If there’s a single phrase I’ve heard more than any other in the past few weeks, it’s “What is wrong with you, girl?!” Insert the cuss word of your choice before “wrong” and you would likely sound just like any number of my girlfriends.
All of this in reference to my letting a perfectly decent man go because I wasn’t ready or something wasn’t right or whatever that feeling of unease I was having that was telling me that I needed more time to find balance within myself. It’s difficult to place just what it was anymore, in part because their shocked expressions have made me question it all. I’m a Libra; I weigh all input and feedback. Let’s summarize by saying my breakup has been unpopular amongst those who met my former beau.
Even the response to my recent guest post on The Plankton clearly demonstrated a bias toward hanging onto a good relationship, even if it’s one I was not, at present, fully capable of appreciating. The pendulum of public opinion, it seems, has clearly swung to the Mr. Good Enough camp.
The problem with this, of course, is that Mr. Good Enough wants to be prized — he doesn’t want to be just good enough or for so many of his gifts to go unnoticed or unappreciated by someone who is unable, at this moment, to fully embrace them. Surely Mr. Good Enough for me is Mr. Over-the-Moon Love-of-My-Life to some ecstatic woman. And he deserves that.
Unlike many of those vocal girlfriends with whom I’ve been spending time, I already have children. I’m not on the clock; I don’t feel a biological imperative to settle in to the first relationship I find after my divorce. In fact, I think something inside me was biased against doing just that. A part of me hopes to see a little more of what’s out there — even if the only purpose that serves is to show me how great I had it.
I’m not looking for perfection — I would have been willing to fully embrace the relationship if I had been absolutely certain that it was right. But I wasn’t 100% in it. And it would have been wrong to try to feign otherwise.
I’ve written about my guy and about the aftermath of our break-up which, thanks to a loving and respectful relationship and split, has been minimal. But I wanted to write a bit more about the things I miss, because I think they say a lot about the kind of relationship we had: I miss being hugged and held and Eskimo kisses. I miss hearing that I’m valued, and worthy and appealing and attractive and that someone finds me a blessing in his life. I miss being caressed all night. I miss feeling the glow of being in another’s light.
And I will have to learn or remember how to fill myself with these wonderful thoughts and words and messages and feelings. Because they matter. And because healthy adults are able to fulfill themselves.
But these are parts of my former relationship that are going to be hard to replace. I will do my best, of course, but there’s something really valuable and meaningful about having someone in your life to tell you your stomach (i.e. paunch) is beautiful and love you even though you’ve gained back over the holidays all the weight you lost in the past year.
My children and I briefly talked about my no longer having a boyfriend. I shared with them that I’ll miss spending time with him…things like cuddling on the sofa while watching a movie, to which one of my darlings immediately — and indignantly — replied, “I thought that was our job!”
And I said, “It is. It still is.”
And, as it turns out, when you’re a parent, you still get to bask in the glow — even if it’s an entirely different kind of glow than that of a lover.
This is my first weekend off (meaning without my children) since the break-up.
While we have exchanged a few texts and talked on the phone once since deciding to no longer see one another, we’ve mostly stuck to our agreement to not contact one another. My suspicion is that, if we were to do otherwise, it would be too easy to commiserate, to find ourselves back in each other’s arms… all of which, as lovely as it sounds, would derail us both from our long-term desires.
And yet, having awakened at 3am with watery eyes, a sore throat and clogged sinuses, called in sick and spent the day working from home in my pajamas, it’s tempting to play the sympathy card. After all, what could be the harm in asking someone to come and apply some balm to my wounds? It was bound to be a lonely weekend at any rate, I’m hoping to get better, stay strong and get some work done.
Will I resist temptation? Stay tuned…
Still…blessed, honored, grateful…and, yes, sad that it had to end.