Sometimes our fears can truly get the best of us. We can exist in relationships that don’t satiate a single cell in our body. Often it’s a fear of looking in and asking the tough questions. Questions like, “Why am I feeling this way? Why is my relationship feeling disconnected? Should we still be together?”
But we don’t ask. In avoiding the pursuit of actionable knowledge we have the excuse to stay the same. We get to keep living in the story that, “This is what relationships are supposed to be like. We’re supposed to grow apart. No one is happy forever.”
I have such a deep understanding of what this feels like because I have known this scenario all too well myself.
We loved each other. Maybe not on a “elevated” or “enlightened” level. And in hindsight maybe it wasn’t whole. I can’t tell you because I didn’t have the awareness.
In that moment of time I had no idea how I had become so accustomed to monotony. To playing safe and not appreciating every wonderful thing about her. I don’t think I could’ve intellectually conversed about the current state of our relationship. It was a feeling. A deep sense in my heart that I wanted more. That this relationship had run its course.
But we stayed. We satisfied the “list”.
And isn’t that the greatest irony? That we won’t forego anything on the list for a higher level connection, but often we’ll skip right by needing a connection to satisfy the list.
Money, comfort, stability, appearance. All these things can have such a glaring spotlight that we fail to miss what we always knew: This relationship, for whatever reason, is not where I want to be.
We have this giant fear as humans:
When relationships grow apart we can’t let them go.
We can’t have them end.
Is relationship longevity really the sign of relationship success? If that’s true I know a lot of successful relationships with some sad people in them. This societal, cultural and religiously engrained belief system has us avoiding conversations and truths. And instead we embrace misalignment, constant anxiety, and the desire to “stay together” has us distancing ourselves further and away from who we are as individuals.
What an insane irony:
Needing to be with someone else has us becoming someone else.
Don’t we want more?! Don’t we crave more?! The reality of this is that your truth will always catch up with you. And this is why we cheat, disrespect our partners with words that scathe, and begin and continue to build a script that has us resenting ourselves for putting “Being Together” ahead of being ourselves. We are so afraid to go against the grain that we become another robot. Another person in society who says yes to the bullshit and reinforces our relationship dysfunctions and our fear of being an individual and being alone.
I’ve lived this. I lacked quality sleep. The line of behaviour that was acceptable with other women got greyer. I started to take her for granted. I got shorter tempered and being with her every day was a reminder of my misalignment.
I hated her for that.
Yet I chose it. Everyday. The pain was not enough for me to have an adult conversation and say from the largest space in my heart, “I love you dearly. I am no longer invested in this relationship, and I no longer wish to be. For that reason I need to let you go. To find a love that would love you in the way you deserve.”
My selfishness and my fear of hurting another human had me paralyzed. I wished she would just break up with me. I hoped she would get so tired of how I was behaving and the choices I was making that she would just leave me. Or, my ultimate plan, was if she cheated on me it would just make it so much easier. Because not being romantically in love anymore was not enough of a reason. If she cheated I would have to leave. How could I stay with someone like that? Everyone would respect my decision to walk away.
So she did. And I stayed.
I know. Mind blowing.
And we worked it out. And we got right back to the same place we had been hovering for so long. I lived in a constant state of anxiety. Anxiety I chose.
We avoid the pain. We run from adult conversations that have us breaking hearts and changing lives into a more positive direction. A direction that aligns with our dreams and desires. It’s interesting this paradox. Maybe it’s that we’re scared we won’t meet someone new, or that they won’t be able to go on.
Imagine if we went about it differently.
Imagine if we spoke to people from the belief that they have all the tools they need. They will cope, they will find the space and strength to move forward, and that they will grow from the experience and be grateful for the role we have played in their life. And even if all of these tools are not present at the time of the breakup, they will reach out to their network and ask for help. And isn’t it crazy that this fear has US playing small? It has us sitting in mediocre love because that is better than stepping into the unknown.
The unknown is where the juice is. That’s what love is. Uncertainty. The fear of loss all whilst being buried in the deliciousness and exhilaration of merging hearts. Hearts that can never guarantee forever. With a soul that says to us,”I’m in this with you. I’m going to do my best to give you all of me…and when I no longer can I will let you go with love and appreciation for what we’ve shared.”
Every partner and experience is another piece of DNA that composes what love and relationships mean to us.
I finally had the conversation. We ended the relationship and we both moved on. We both survived, and we both have since loved again. Grateful for what we had taught one another and how we had set such a platform for what love meant to us. She will forever be one of the largest contributors to the man I am today. I cannot, and would never take back or change anything from the experience. What I can do to honour her and our experience is choose differently moving forward. I can take all of these learnings and bring them to the next relationship.
Know that your relationships are allowed to end. You’re allowed to not be in love anymore. You’re allowed to grow out of relationships. You can live and love any way that fills your heart. No one else has to live your life. So live it for you.