You may (or may not) remember a guest post of mine published two years ago on Tiny Buddha. It was titled, ‘Knowing When to Walk Away from Unrequited Love’. If you didn’t come across it, you can find it here. Looking back, I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to share my experience and my thoughts on such an instrumental site. Tiny Buddha was my go-to site for inspiration and support during a time when I needed to feel like I wasn’t alone during a challenging time.
I am writing today to provide you with an update on my experience because I received a lot of private feedback on the above post from people that also wanted to share their story (what an absolute honor to be trusted with someone’s personal feelings and experiences.)
When you love someone, it is very difficult to ‘let it be’ and remove yourself from a relationship that is not healthy. In my experience, it was one of the harder things I had ever done because it also meant walking away from my partner’s child, who I grew to love like a mother would love her own child. I labored over the decision for a long time but in the end I knew ending the relationship was the right thing to do because I was living an emotional rollercoaster, not being treated well, and not happy. The break away was drawn out, emotionally abusive and difficult. In hindsight, none of that matters because I am fine. But at the time I couldn’t see my way off of that rollercoaster.
I wrote in my earlier post that ‘next time it will be better’. I had to believe that the next relationship I would be in would be better because I would be taking lessons learned with me and I would know what I wanted from a relationship. And boy, did I learn.
I spent the next year healing and focusing on my well-being. This is of utmost importance because when you are in an unhealthy relationship your life becomes about surviving the day-to-day, rather than doing things that make you feel alive. I rarely dated. I travelled! I went to Calgary, Banff, Lake Louise and Thailand. I saw some beautiful things and I saw some scary things. I took chances, I lived and I took care of myself. The last thing on my mind was looking for a relationship. I was tired of them.
Through my travels, I came to the conclusion that it was time for me to gain a fresh start and make a big move. I decided that I was going to move across the country to live with my cousin in western Canada. I wrote out a financial plan, started saving and selling my things. I downsized my vehicle, closet, cupboards, clothes, etc. and dedicated myself to my goal. I took a course and reformatted my resume for at least 10 different jobs and started spending Saturday mornings looking up neighbourhoods to find the best area to live in. I was ready and nothing was going to change my mind.
Then I met someone.
When I say I met someone, I’m not talking about a random person that sparked my interest. I’m talking about ‘THE ONE’. This man blew me away so quickly that I started to panic. Was I going to be one of those ‘losers’ in the movies that abandons her plan to move across the country for love? We yell at these women on television all of the time. ‘WHAT ARE YOU DOING, DUMMY! GO, GO! DON’T STAY FOR A DUDE!”. So for a while I just delayed my plan while I sorted it out in my head. What was I going to do if this relationship actually worked? Should I stay? Should I go? Which of these would be the better choice? Good, better, best?
In the end I didn’t feel like I had a choice. I stayed because to leave the person I was in love with, that loved me back and treated me with respect and kindness, would be the biggest mistake I could ever make (in my opinion). If I would have left, I would have been searching for that love somewhere else knowing I would risk never again finding the love I left back home; knowing that even if I did find love again, it wouldn’t be the love of this particular man – and THAT would have been tragic. Cities aren’t fragile and fleeting – love is.
Within a few short months our love grew stronger and we bought a house and started our lives together. There have been a lot of challenging ‘firsts’ but we have grown stronger as a couple because of them. Every single day that I walk beside this man, my heart wants to explode with gratitude. He is a gift and a blessing to my life, and to the lives of his friends, family and acquaintances. I am honored that he loves me and I work daily to make him feel loved back because I believe relationships are the most important thing in life. At least, they are to me. He is special, I am special and this kind of love is not painful.
In my Tiny Buddah post, when I said, ” Something beautiful is out there waiting for you”, I wanted to believe it was the truth. Today I know it to be true. I wasn’t looking for a relationship and neither was he – but we found one and it is beautiful. We don’t know what the future holds but for now, we will just love and respect and enjoy each other.
For those of you that have taken a step away from an unhealthy relationship, hurray! Please keep walking! It is going to be a very hard transition, but if you keep moving towards self-care and self love, more love is going to find you whether it is a romantic relationship or a relationship of another type. You deserve to be treated well. Please do not stay where you are treated poorly or where you feel unloved. It is too painful and it kills your spirit and love of life.
Seek out support systems in different forms. Spend time doing what makes you feel alive and happy. Love yourself. Keep the faith and know that even if you haven’t entered a new romantic relationship yet, and you truly want to, it will happen… when it is meant to…when you are healed.
There is hope and there is love all around us – we just have to learn to allow only the healthy type of love into our homes.
Start siphoning through your bricks and mortar. Your house is going to be lovely.