Friday, May 12, 2017

A Guarded Heart and Breakups

For the most part, breakups suck. No better way to put it because a lot of times words just don't describe what you're going through.
Luckily, I've never been a serial dater. I've never been someone who needed anyone, so I've spent a good amount of time alone and self discovery can be healing and scary. (#truth)
I've only had a few relationships to know about breakups.

I had one on and off boyfriend throughout high school.
Course I watched all the romantic comedy movies where I thought we'd be high school sweethearts, blah blah blah.
Obviously that did not work out and thank goodness. We were completely different people and when we went off to college that became pretty clear.
I wasn't cry myself to sleep heartbroken. I was young.
I had no idea what I wanted or what it really meant to care about someone like that.
I was naive and stupid. I could probably say I'm still a little that way.
I try to see the best in people first and I've been hurt because of that.

In college I dated a guy for a year/year and a half I think. Somewhere in there.
And I let him change me. Without knowing it at the time, of course.
I was scared to ask my parents to do things with him, talk about him, invite him over.
I started becoming very aware of my weight and how I looked; which while I've always been aware, never in a judgmental way. I was comfortable with who I was and how I looked.
But I let him project his own issues on me and I became borderline anorexic.
My body shut down, I stopped eating anything remotely unhealthy.
I lost a ton of weight and I looked sick.
It took a few months to get back on track and him cheating on me for me to realize that this guy was not the one. And I remember being pretty broken up about it, but looking back, I wasn't heartbroken and destroyed because I thought he was the one. In fact, I think I was more embarrassed that he had the nerve to cheat on me with someone he'd introduced me to between classes one day. Someone I had a class with as well! (insert eye roll). Immaturity and insecurity. Live and learn.
I wasn't comfortable with me. I was doing things because I thought it's what he wanted and that can destroy a person and is not the way a relationship should be.
I didn't know who I was fully yet to be able to stand up for myself.
And that's OK. I was still young and had no idea what I wanted out of life.

In relationships, whether they are aromatic, friendships, family, whatever; I tend to go all in. I'm not a half asser.
It's why I only have a handful of family and friends. I want to be able to work at those and build them to be stronger and stronger.
I'm not perfect at it and I fail at times, but they are my people.
I've always been this way. I just don't want to be fake. If I find you worthy of my time, you're going to get all of me.

And so when I met my ex-husband a few years after college; same thing.
I was over forgiving. Over protective. I think I wanted to be that girl that healed him.
I wanted to be the girl that pushed him to be the best he could be.
Who wouldn't want someone like that, right?
But it's not about changing them, it's about pushing them to their potential. And they have to be open to that.

And I think I started wanting to change him.
I probably stayed longer because I saw something in him no one else seemed to see.
I say his heart. I saw who he wanted to be and I knew if he just believed in himself, he'd get there.
And I fell in love with that.
He adored me.
He loved me.
He let me be me.
He encouraged me.
He made me laugh and he shared similar goals in life when it came to family.
But through all of it, it was always me having to deal with the stress of taking care of our family.
Paying the bills, planning our lives, making decisions, cleaning the house, etc.
I didn't have a partner.
I had a depressed, lying, alcoholic, abusive man, who wanted someone to take care of him and his daughter.
Not equally contributing to the relationship and growing in life.
He was stuck and I was never going to be able to help him.
He didn't want help.
He was lost with his own demons and no one but himself was going to be able to fight that battle.
So I became withdrawn.
I hated being home.
I was constantly anxious and worried of which version I'd walk into after work.
I wasn't sleeping.
I was tense and stressed and really just lost.
Abuse is an awful thing and while I know he didn't understand what he was doing and hopefully he's been able to figure out his issues and be happier for it, I knew I deserved better and so did he.

When I made the decision to divorce him it wasn't about getting over him, it was about surviving.
I was scared to death of what my life would turn into if I stayed.
I began pushing him away so the pain wouldn't be as bad.
I had fallen out of love with him because I had to.
It was never going to be OK and I was never going to be able to trust in him again.
I was making things worse and I began to realize my worth was way more than that situation.

Now divorce is awful.
There is absolutely nothing good about it, even if you know it's exactly what needs to happen.
I've said before I never in a million years would have ever thought that I'd be in that situation, but God knew it wasn't right and he helped me out.
He knows what I deserve and even though looking back it was an easy decision, it'd didn't make the hurt go away.
I struggled. A lot.
But again, more because I was embarrassed that I had made such a horrible decision.
That I thought I had let my family down. Let myself down.
That I didn't let myself see the red flags.
That I continued to let someone treat me like that.

But you know, I wouldn't be me today without that experience. I wouldn't know what it should be like. I wouldn't know to stand up for myself and demand respect.
And for that I'm grateful.
It's made me more guarded, but I just have a better understanding of who is worth my time and efforts.

Everyone needs those moments to grown.
Everyone is going to make mistakes. It's part of learning.

So I took a couple years and healed.
A lot of self discovery happened during that time.
A lot of self hatred and beating myself up happened during that time as well, but I needed to tear myself down a little.
I needed a reality check of what the hell I was settling for.

And I needed a change.
I tried going on a few dates when I was finally ready and felt like I could leave the past in the past.
But I became very guarded. And very picky.
Little things would throw me off.
One guy I swear only wanted a trophy wife. Uh, no thanks.
Another one was just rude and no idea how to be a gentleman.
A couple others just didn't click. And a lot of that was probably because I just wasn't ready to be
in another relationship.

So I decided it was time to make a life change.
Get out of town and start new.
Not because I was running from anything, but because I felt called.
I felt peace in doing something bold.
In discovering more about myself away from the comforts of a city I'd known for 20 years.

And when I moved down to Nashville, I tried dating a little.
One guy didn't eat. Well that's a red flag because I won't be going down that road again.
Another was so aggressive on the first date, it was extremely uncomfortable.
And there was the guy I gave 3 whole dates a try with and we had absolutely nothing to talk about.
I'm quiet in general, so if you are too, that's a tough spot to be in.

So, I just took some time off again. I bought a townhouse, spent a ton of time with my sister and nephews and made sure I was happy with the life I was building, even if that meant I would be doing it alone.
I've had my moments of self pity. I've had my emotional meltdowns.
I think it's only natural. When you want something so bad, it's hard to learn to be patient and work on
God's timing.
If you know me, you know I have very, very, very little patient.
And when I know what I want I want it now.
I can be impulsive and emotional, but it's who I am. And I won't ever apologize for that again.

And I know deep down in everything that's me, that I am meant to be a mother. To have a family and
to be the rock my family needs to be happy and grow. I used to want to be a high powered business
woman. Executive level. Working late, traveling, getting shit done.
And then I got into the world and I realized that nothing matters more to me than my family.
It's as simple as that.
I will work,  I will contribute, but I am not willing for a second to sacrifice time with my husband
or my children. That's where I know I belong. I know it's my purpose.
It's just that whole finding someone who actually wants me and the patience of God's timing...
I'm pretty comfortable with who I am.
I can be stubborn and blunt. I can be way emotional and incredibly silly and immature.
But I've grown to love who I am and it's brought me a lot of peace in who I let into my life.
I'm not die hard love me or hate me.
I know where my weaknesses lie and I do try to work on those. Everyone has their things.

But then I met someone new. Well, my sister pushed us to meet(so thanks sis), but I was in a place where I wasn't nervous about hoping it'd work out. I was happy with my life and if someone came into that and it worked, well that'd just be icing on the cake.
I knew what I wanted, what I had to offer, and where I was willing to compromise.
And you know what?
He liked me. For me.
Never made me feel like I had to be anything else.
Never questioned me.
Never judged me and respected who I was and the experiences I'd had.
He was a gentleman; still opening car doors. I mean, seriously, in our generation, who still teaches their sons to do that anymore?
Well his momma raised him right.

I remember calling my mom after our first date. I didn't even tell her I was going.
And I don't think I've ever had that great of a first date.
I felt something different. I couldn't wait to see him again and learn more about him.

He's ambitious and inspiring.
He's funny, but professional.
He just lives his life without complaining.
He has a ridiculous amount of friends, all of which love him when he's around.
He'll help anyone that needs it and he just has fun with whatever he's doing.
He works his ass off and is always trying to be better.
And he encouraged me to be better without even knowing it.
I found myself wanting to be better because of him. Not to make him like me more or because I thought it's what he'd want, but because his entire being and presence was admirable and inspiring and encouraging without him saying much at all.
Just watching him in life made me want to be a part of every bit of it.
I told my mom early on that he reminded me so much of my dad.
And everyone says you find someone that reminds you of your parents.

I don't think I ever fully believed it till now.
But man, when you know you know.
It just kind of clicks.
But it wasn't perfect. And thank God for that.
Who wants a 'too good to be true'?
I want conflict and struggle and laughter and tears. A perfectly imperfect relationship.
Life is about feeling and experiencing and without all that, what's the point?
And this man was different.
He knew how to put me in my place when I needed it, but was also sensitive enough to listen when I had struggles.
He didn't let me bottle my emotions up and let me tell you, that is exactly what I need in someone.
He is spontaneous and romantic in his own way.
He is full of adventure and experiencing new things.
He never made me feel weak or that my feelings were unjustified.
He brought me out of my shell and pushed me outside my comfort zones.
He let me be me...and I adored that about him.

But he wasn't used to relationships.
He doesn't know how to let someone in fully in just yet.
He's guarded and unsure and not ready to commit to something.
His career is so important to him and I admire that and can support that.
He needs to continue pushing himself and growing into what he wants and needs.
So he's leaving to begin a new journey 900 miles away and I can't be a part of that now or possibly
ever. He still needs some time for his own self discovery.
I've got a few years on him and I have to respect that not everyone is going to be where I am.
I'm in a place where I'm ready to settle down.
He's still growing and figuring out who he is so he can be the man he wants and needs for someone.
Hell, it breaks my heart, but I have to admire his strength and honesty to know he can't be who he needs to be right now.

And so now I'm in the midst of the hardest breakup in my entire life.
I was ready to work long distance.
To continue supporting him and encouraging him the best I knew how and sacrifice to see if this
was a long term thing.
I have no idea whether we would have lasted a few weeks, a few months, a few years, or forever.
And that's the hardest part to battle with.
I'm at a point in life where I want to take the risks that feel right.
We have nothing to lose but each other and if we did, it wasn't meant to be anyway.
Unless you're both willing to work for it, it's never going to last anyway and it would have been a good test, but he's not there and that's OK.
He needs time to do this on his own.
To start a new chapter of his life by himself.
And while a part of me completely understands that because I've been through it, it makes it really hard to let him go.
I was ready, but to make it work you both have to be there.
And I can respect him for that whole heartedly.

He's an amazing man. And he'll only become more amazing as he grows into himself.
He is about to start a career where he may be one of the youngest in this position and my God that is incredible and I am so proud of where he's going and how hard he's worked to get there.
He loves his job. Like genuinely loves his job, which probably makes him even better at it.
How many of us can say that?
So, I may never see or talk to him again, I don't know. I have to give it up to God at this point.
Or maybe God will lead us back to each other eventually, but either way we're both going to be better for this short lived relationship.
He's taught me more in a few months than I thought possible.
And to be honest, he probably raised my standards a bit more.
I couldn't find anything about him I didn't like.
Nothing that I thought would be a hard stop to being in a relationship with this man.
All I saw was how much I wanted to make him happy.
How I saw us figuring out life together and being stronger for it.
And to know that with just a little more time, we'd probably know what this was. If it was going to be anything at all.
I'm really trying hard to believe that it's in God's hands and even though I struggling with understanding it all, I'm praying for him and this next step to be happy in all he does.
He'll make an incredible husband and father when he's ready and she'll be one blessed woman to be loved by him.

So that leaves me back to learning patience, enjoying being alone and working on my faith and the path God's wants me on. It's tough. I struggle a lot with believing in it all, but I have to remember that I have more than I know I deserve and I cannot live a life ungrateful or greedily always wanting more.
I have to thank Him for all he's given already and do my best to live a life He'd be proud of wherever that path may lead me. I must continue to work hard, push myself and make a difference in the world or even just one person. It'll all be worth it in the end.

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