Touched by loss. Empowered through community.

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Date: 
Monday, July 13, 2015
Posted By: 
Eden Maheras

I just returned from a bit of a whirlwind trip trip to the East Coast - visiting my late husband's family, seeing high school friends and their families, and attending my brother's wedding. I seriously must have like 5 blogs' worth of material, because none of these things are super easy for the widowed community.

But the big thing on my mind right now is my recent breakup, and how unbelievably hard that has been. I got into the relationship too soon - for me, at least. It was less than a year and a half after JP died, and it came about unexpectedly. And I was not ready. I'm a slow healer who would rather try to ignore and deny feelings than talk about them. I ended up being a terrible girlfriend. Terrible. Partly, I was a terrible girlfriend for this particular guy, due to differences in our communication styles and some of our outlooks on certain things. And the fact that I was in such a temporary state in my life when we met (in school, not working, renting...feeling unsettled and confused). But I was also just not ready or willing to be a true partner. I didn't ask the right questions, didn't truly open myself to the idea of integrating our lives, and yes, I expected him to be the one to adjust to me and my complicated life. So finally, I broke up with him. I might have stayed in the relationship longer, but was sick of making him miserable. And it didn't seem like he was going to be the one to take control on that front.

I was sad at first, but we remained friends. And then, despite his reluctance to say anything, I figured out that he was dating someone. And that is when I lost it. Because truth be told, I am still in love with him. As a slow healer, even though I was the one who said "we need to end this," I had not even started to grieve the loss of what we had, or could have had. Deep down, I think I expected that, just as had happened for me with JP, the breakup would be temporary, and that we would come back together stronger and better - after some reflection and self-improvements. Even though my rational brain tells me that we were not a fit, that I had known it for a while, my heart is saying "but things were good at one point; could they not be that way again?" And while it's true that I have some work to do to prepare myself for being a real partner in a relationship, he and I had differences that went beyond my readiness for a relationship. But my heart is in so much pain right now - screaming "how could he have moved on so fast?"

I found myself having the physical symptoms of grief I experienced after losing JP - to a lesser extent, but still identifiable as the same spectrum. I can't sleep, my appetite has diminished, I feel sick all the time. I have had trouble interacting with others, being in the moment, focusing at work. Drinking has helped, and that's not a good thing. My whole trip was dominated by thoughts about my ex, and what could have been. I had a whole speech prepared for him about what this was doing to me - not begging to get back together, but just letting him know. And then he updated his status on FaceBook to say that he's in a relationship. I realize that having done the breaking up, I'm probably not entitled to this, but I would have liked a heads-up. After all, we were communicating and acting like friends. It would have been nice.

Breaking up isn't easy for anyone - of course it's not. But I think there's something added when you're a widow, and had been pretty darn sure that you were never going to have to deal with dating and breaking up again.

And trying to explain all this to a little kid...I can't hide what I'm feeling from Max, so I explained that my ex used to be a special friend, and now he's someone else's special friend, and it's making mommy sad because she misses him. My sweet little guy gave me a huge hug and grabbed a tissue, and told me it would all be ok.

And you know what? I know he's right. I have my work cut out for me - I need to process my feelings of loss, and do some real self-reflection before I even think about re-entering the dating world, but I've learned some important lessons. And who knows what's waiting around the corner. This might not have been my "chapter two" but hopefully what will come of this is that I will be a stronger person on the other side, and will be able to do what I need to do for myself to ensure that I can be a puzzle piece that fits with someone else, and find a way to open my heart to another person and the possibilities they bring.

Still, I hate this. Big time.

Comments

Thanks for this Eden........hit home for me. New relationships are so hard to navigate and we definately have more of a "story" than most people do and that makes it significantly more complex. As long as you take something (anything) positive out of each experience you have you will be able to continue the journey, as hard as it may be....... Keep up the blogging. I may not comment on many but they are all being read!

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