It’s heartbreaking having the rug pulled out from under you, when what you thought was a sure thing suddenly becomes uncertain.
This is the journey I’ve been going through over the last several weeks. I was struggling though so many transitions and leaning on the one thing I thought would be there at the end of it.
And then it was gone.
It’s been just under two weeks and I’m starting to rally but I know it will take time.
I’d wondered just a couple of months ago what happens to relationships as good as ours and how some of them go from being so good to just… done. I’d asked people what I needed to be vigilant about and what I needed to watch out for because I wanted us to last for the long haul. I guess maybe I shouldn’t ask questions that I don’t really want to know the answers to.
With so many people around me asking if it’s really over and what happened that it all changed so quickly, it’s hard to focus on moving on. Yet, if I’m honest with myself, I don’t want to move on yet and I don’t know if it’s really over.
We were so different and we always knew it would be a challenge to find the middle ground and create shared experiences and interests but for the first few months we were so good at it. Our dates were a strange combination of wine festivals, operas, Trailer Park Boys Live (because we’re classy as shit), hiking, dinners out, cards with my family, nights doing karaoke, and watching The Walking Dead (apparently the fastest way to my heart is with zombies).
It was fun and exciting and I was finally learning how to let my guard down and be loved. It took me weeks of trying before I could finally get the words “I love you” out of my mouth and it took him a few more days before he woke me up in the middle of the night to say “I love you too.” It was so awkward and so precious.
Our sarcasm flowed freely and we engaged in verbal jousting like it was a sport. Letting him in to the messy places in my heart was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. The result, though, was real love and acceptance. He became my best friend.
On the other hand, work was getting worse. After our executive assistant left the company, I was filling in the gaps as we trained her replacement. After her replacement walked out and my company dragged its feet on hiring someone new, I shouldered the burden of the extra work.
It was never ending and my boss reminded me of a grown up two year old. I was working ungodly long days, taking work home, and still being yelled at for anything (my fault or not) that displeased my boss. Because I was doing the work of multiple people, things did sometimes fall through the cracks and I had to face the blame with no real help or admin support to correct it.
I cut out my vocal training, I mostly stopped blogging, I stopped hanging out with friends, and I cut out anything that caused any level of stress in my life so I could get through it and keep afloat until more admin staff was hired.
I really only have the ability to deal with one stressful thing at once. I just can’t do more.
As time went on, though, my boss’s behavior went from inappropriate to abusive and I could hardly handle it. I didn’t think that I could get a job anywhere else that payed as well as they did because I really only had a couple of years of experience, no four year degree, and a job title that barely reflected the work I was actually doing. I felt so stuck and went from stressed to depressed to despondent.
I had one bright shining light that I could look to. With him in my life, not everything was awful. THIS is the biggest mistake anyone can make in a relationship.
No matter how good your relationship is, no matter how much you love someone, they should never be the one thing in your life. They should never be the one hope.
I fell into that trap and put all the pressure on us to be that shining light. So, if he was in a bad mood or just not in the mood to be affectionate, it felt like the end all things good in my life.
Ultimately, it was because of him that I had the courage to leave my job. I knew that the job and how I was coping with it was going to ruin both us and me. When my boss made a decision that showed his complete lack of respect for me and my capabilities, I wrote my resignation letter, giving a month’s notice, asked people to proofread it to make sure no bitterness or emotion showed through, and handed it in.
I had raised my pay by 30% in a year and a half at that company and I was confident that I could do that again elsewhere, even if I had to start out by taking a pay cut.
Having someone so completely on my proverbial team gave me the courage to know that I would land on my feet one way or another. Unfortunately, I don’t deal with uncertainty well and not knowing where my next paycheck would come from crippled me with anxiety. Once again, I was leaning on him to be my shining light.
In my anxiety, I became withdrawn and mostly silent. When we would go out for dinner or drinks, I would finally start blurting out all of my fears in an emotionally messy frenzy.
I knew that we needed to actually talk about some things while sober and work on some things but I figured we would deal with it once I had a job because I just couldn’t handle it at the moment.
From what I can tell, he thought that this was simply how we’d become as a couple. So, once I was hired elsewhere, with great love and kindness he told me that he didn’t think I should move in because he didn’t think we’d work out long term.
In the end, there was hugging, there was crying, and there was love.
Whether or not we can still be salvaged, I’m not sure. If not, every moment I spent with him was still worth it. I learned vulnerability, intimacy, love, and true acceptance from him. It was the kind of love and support I’ve never known before, not even from my family.
I hate that I let my job come between us and that I let silence fill our home, but it was the only way I could deal with things at the moment. I hate that I let myself stay in such an abusive work environment for so long, but he was the only reason I had the courage to leave it. I hate that I let one person be my everything because that’s just not who I am anymore.
The progression and pattern of what was going on is so painfully clear to me now.
So, now I’m focusing on rebuilding all those parts of my life I neglected, on networking at my new company, and on finding my “tribe.” A rich and fulfilling life needs so much more than just The Relationship.
I know that if we can’t rebuild, I’ll be fine and will eventually find someone new. I’m not under the delusion that he’s the only one or that I’ll never find love like this again. I get all of those things. For the moment, though, I have to let all of the sadness, regret, and longing wash over me and permeate all the emotional crevices. To deny those feelings would only make it worse.
The advice I’ve appreciate most during this time was not what I expected. I don’t want to hear that I can do better or that I won’t care in six months. That just makes it worse.
The words that helped the most were simply, “I’m so sorry. There are no words of wisdom; you just have to get through it.”