How did you handle the breakup after you look back at all you invested in this man and wanting it to work?
Anonymous from Atlanta, GA
I was devastated. I experienced every emotion you can imagine. I cursed and cried and at times thought I was going to lose my mind. I beat myself up for being such a hopeless romantic. You should have known better, the critic in my head would say. Then, thinking maybe I’d given up too soon, I’d beat myself up for not being as strong as I thought I was. You said you were a ridah. You said your bond was unbreakable. I was tough on myself.
I grieved the loss of what was once a beautiful relationship, mourning the memories we’d created and even those we hadn’t gotten a chance to create. We’d dreamt about the life we would one day share—the picnics in the park, the vacation getaways, the romantic dinners—but life had gotten in the way and we’d done none of those things. The thought that he would make those memories with someone else tortured me. There were many days I wanted to stay in the bed and sulk, embrace the heartache, and allow myself a few depressing hours to do nothing but eat ice cream in my pajamas and scroll mindlessly through my newsfeed on Facebook, but I had a busy three-year-old who demanded my attention 12 of my 16 waking hours. I did my best to keep it together, but I can’t lie, it was hard.
Every day was a roller coaster. I would read something inspirational or put my thoughts on paper and I’d feel better. And then the memories would come—the good ones and the not-so-good ones. They’d come while I was shopping, or taking a shower, or cooking dinner, or sometimes in mid-conversation. All it took was a song or a name to trigger a memory and there I’d go, down the rabbit hole, replaying scenes from our relationship over and over. Every time I thought I was good, my heart would whisper, “Remember this…? How could he?” This went on for months.
My healing didn’t begin until I stopped recycling the pain—living in a past I couldn’t change. I had to let Shaka off the hook for the promises he’d made while he was in prison. I had to forgive him for the ways he’d hurt me once he came home. It wasn’t easy, but I realized that forgiving him would set me free. It would free me from the weight of expectations, from the need for our story to end in happily-ever-after.
I am grateful for all the emotions—the anger, the disappointment, the sorrow—because they led me to my healing. It may have taken longer than I wanted—it seemed I’d never “get over it”—but I wouldn’t give anything for my journey.