People are people
When you sit back and think about it, it’s amazing that humans have any forms of relationships at all. We are all different, requiring different needs and requirements. Our desires change over time and it’s a lot to expect that another person can appreciate these changes as you would theirs. I am fully aware that I am not the same man I was ten years ago and I very much expect to be different again in another ten. I am most defiantly not the same person I was a year ago.
Relationships come in all forms. We all have parents and we all have friends. These are relationships and they give us things like support, advice and contact. It is a two-way street. Obviously, relationships are fluid and they change over time. So why can we not accept it with romantic relationships? And here is where I want to focus – I want to consider how we get over a romantic relationship, especially if it is a long term one.
Relationships can still ‘own’ us long after they’re over. I find it difficult to understand that the person who was the major part of your life at one stage, you find yourself crossing the road to avoid them the next. That person eventually becomes nothing more than a memory – good or bad. This will take time, but can you recall an ex from 10 or 20 years ago?
Breakdowns are now more difficult than ever. I love the convenience of mobile phones where a text can be so easy to write (who writes letters these days anyway?). Or the ability to look up old friends on Facebook. It’s all so easy and disposable. We can do these things instantly without much effort or physical input. But for some it means that their ex is just a click away.
I wonder how many of you have looked your ex up on Facebook and looked at their pictures? Let’s be honest, we have all done so. Old photographs could be thrown away but electronic media owns everything we share and there is no way of disposing these items easily.
But don’t be fooled. These people are not as happy as the picture suggests (see my blog on Humiliation). An ex can be as easily blocked as it is to contact them. I would never message my ex as I would not want her to have the feeling of accomplishment over me. She is blocked and will remain so.
However, there comes a time when we need to accept that what’s done is done and begin to look forward to what might be coming next. Following my break-up, I found a world of opportunity and self-discovery. I can now see that my break-up has had a positive outcome, but it wasn’t that way to begin with.
I am at the other end of it all and can look back on it to see it for what it was. The reality is that if it had not ended then it would have ended at some point. Although, I am prepared to accept that not everyone has this luxury. Like the complications of human nature, break-ups can equally be complex.
What is important to acknowledge at this stage is that I now realise you cannot get someone who never loved you, to start loving you now. It just won’t happen.
Emotions and feelings
I found that my emotions were identical to those I had experienced following a bereavement. I experienced; denial, anger, emptiness, and sadness and they came in quick succession. I even felt betrayed and emotionally robbed, especially as I had invested my hope of a bright future with that one person. The emotional ‘bank account’ has been raided and I had been left with nothing.
I have had the discussion with various people from various backgrounds about break-ups. Alas, there is no definitive answer on the correct actions to take. Some suggested that people need to just ‘snap out of it’ or to ‘get online’ and find another one. The truth is, how someone responds to the end of a relationship is different for each of us: there’s no right or wrong way to do it.
The important thing, from my point of view, is that you give yourself the time and support you need to feel better. I suggest being selfish and start falling in love with yourself again. My relationship beat me down and so I am building myself up to be better, stronger and most importantly, wiser.
Anger and self shame
I found that the hardest thing to let go of was my anger. I was furious that I had let her do those things to me but I was equally furious that I had allowed it to happen in the first place. My anger moved its focus from her to myself. I eventually recognised that I had pity for her as she was never going to change, whereas, I was changing. I felt so disappointed with myself. Wrongly, I had considered that I was intelligent and could work things out, but I failed to see the abuse until it became impossible to change. I was ultimately, disappointed with myself and this added to the shame of the breakdown.
It’s not me – it’s all you
I must admit, I am still playing the ‘blame game’ – I am endlessly questioning who did what, what could have been done differently and so on. But I don’t see a problem with this. I have been able to do an autopsy on a relationship that was dead long ago. I can now see what went wrong and how it died. A word of warning though, if you are not careful you can tend to go in circles and eventually draw no conclusions.
I can confirm that the end of the relationship for me was eventually a liberating experience. It meant I was no longer fighting to try and obtain a dream from a nightmare. I felt I no longer had to justify her negative behaviours and abuse. There was no longer any need to feel fear on a daily basis.
For me this new-found sense of freedom eventually (not instantly I must admit) came with a rush of positive emotions. I rediscovered lost loves such as reading and writing. I even went to the ballet, of which I was never allowed to do when living under her regime. Funnily enough, I didn’t have a clue what was going on – but I really enjoyed it. But that’s not the point – I was able to do it without authorisation.
If you’ve been following my blogs you will appreciate that I have been on a journey of self-discovery. I have attempted to establish the meaning of happiness and to share it. My journey has enabled me to self-reflect on events and actions that were previously out of my control. And how they shaped me as a person of whom I didn’t want to be. I did these things for another persons’ happiness and not my own. Please allow yourself to be selfish. I want to suggest that self-appreciation is a liberating experience following an abusive relationship.