Thursday, December 2, 2010

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

I had dinner with someone last night who has recently had his heart broken. He is dealing, but conflicted and it sounds like the woman is conflicted as well. They still talk and are trying to do the friend thing, but it is hard on him to talk to her and see her and remember the good times and know that she is with someone else.

Talking to him made me start thinking about breakups and how painful they can be, even when you know that it is the right thing and all for the best. How people handle their breakups can also be very telling, like the woman who ends her relationship and starts dating the same week. What does this say? Perhaps when you are dumped, thrown away, cheated on, whatever, you need to start dating right away to feel better about yourself. You need to feel desired again and it can help regain some of your self-worth that may have been lost when the person you loved tossed you aside.

People often jump into a rebound relationship probably for this same reason, to feel worthy of someones love and affection. I know someone who was dumped and immediately starting dating the ex's best friend. She told me later that this was done only to hurt her ex and when he didn't care what she was doing or who with, it lost its appeal and she had to end it. This caused the new guy to be hurt and everyone was just hurt all around. So, while rebounds can be necessary, they can cause a lot more hurt in the end.

I started thinking about my last relationship before I met my husband and how that relationship was probably more of a rebound that turned long-term (2 years). I think that I had loved being part of a couple so much that I just wanted that again and forced myself into a relationship with a man who didn't treat me very nicely. I stayed with him long after I knew he was abusive and I'm really not sure why. I know that at the time, I felt trapped by a lack of money to afford to live on my own and there were good times that I thought seemed to make up for the bad stuff. But, if I am really honest, I just didn't want to be single. I wanted to be married and have a family and I was getting older. I was in my late 20's and my younger sister was already married, owned a home and had a baby on the way, and I was stuck with none of those things that I wanted so badly.

When the breaking point was reached and I finally moved out. The boyfriend didn't believe me and kept calling me to reconcile. I think that he was convinced I was an idiot for leaving him and if he could just see me, talk to me, I would come back. When that didn't work, he proceeded to tell all our mutual friends that he had to dump me because I was trying to get pregnant behind his back (where that came from, I have no idea). I found out later that he had never stopped seeing other women even though we were living together and while that hurt me, I was mostly concerned about disease at that point. When I left, anything and everything that I had ever felt for him was dead.

However, this relationship had made me gun shy and while I went out and partied with my friends and reconnected with people I had let go in order to make time for this dysfunctional and abusive relationship, I refused to date. I was finally convinced about 6 months later to go on a date and it was horrible! My co-workers and friends encouraged me to let someone take me out and show me a nice time and I did and it was just awkward and I think that the guy really liked me, but I felt nothing for him and we had nothing in common and I swore off dating forever.

It would be another 6 months before I would meet my husband. I almost called to cancel my date with him a dozen times. When I met him, I tried to set him up with my friend, because I liked him and thought he was nice and since I wasn't interested, he might as well go out with someone nice, but he wasn't interested any my friend and they never went out. So I decided that I would just use him for sex :) After our first date, where I watched him like a hawk for signs that he was going to drink too much or say something to put me down in a sneaky way, I fell for him.

For the first year we dated, I kept him at arms length. I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and for his "real" personality to be shown. It was a long time before I gave him my whole heart and my whole being.

Here is the thing. The year that I spent being single was the best thing I could have done for myself. I decided that I wasn't meant to be married or have a family and then I set about being OK about that. Once I was OK with the idea of not having the family I always wanted, I started to enjoy my life, myself and worked on making myself happy and strong and whole. By the time I met my husband, I was happy with myself and totally at peace in my life. I was perfect and complete and he was just gravy on this great life I had created. I know now that I was getting myself right, so that I would be in a good place to accept this wonderful man and be ready to really appreciate the family that was to be had with him.

So, here is what I have learned. While breakups are hard, you can't find the person who is perfect for you until you are perfect all on your own, in your own eyes, and you can't find your perfect person while you are with the wrong person.

I send strength and love to all those working on becoming complete and opening up for true love to find them!!

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