The last time I was dating someone over a long period of time, it took me a good number of months and a lot of self loving and strength to finally have the courage to let go of them. The funny thing is that even when I was with the person, there were very few moments which made me believe that we might have a shot at working out, and a lot of moments when I was pretty sure that the relationship would crash and burn.
And it was up to me to decide if I was willing to save myself when I still had time, or I wanted to go down in the flames, spending every ounce of strength I possessed to somehow make a doomed thing work.
Standing at the door, screaming, fighting, crying, trying to get a word in edgewise... all for what? They say when you know, you know, only they are talking about how you know the right person when you see them.
But isn't that also valid for the wrong person? When you know, you know.
We all know who they are. We've all had them at some point in our lives. Men who only know how to take and not give back, women who only wanted you if it was on their terms, people who want to be with you only at your best but don't want to be around when you're at your worst. Unhealthy, toxic, selfish people.
Yes, those people.
So why do we put ourselves through the inexplicable torture of trying to make sense of something that doesn't make sense, doesn't contribute to our happiness, or doesn't help us grow anymore?
Why do we want to be with someone we know will not make us happy, or doesn't understand us, or is just plain unhealthy for us?
I know if I concentrate hard enough, I'll hear someone say, Because we are fucked up, or Because we love them.
And you know what? That might just be right. We might just be that fucked up, or that much in love.
Or just that masochistic. Just that not enough in love with ourselves. Or just that hopeful.
Or just that scared.
Somewhere we know there might be someone better out there for us, someone more wholesome.
But knowing this, what changes?
Do we still not try and hold onto a love that is only edging to walk out of the door?
I have heard of someone choosing to suffer with a clearly incompatible partner because it is so, so hard to let go of a person you have spent so much time with. Sharing your daily life with the person, becoming habitual of them, only for it to end?
Nah, let's just keep fighting and being miserable together, than being miserable alone.
But there is something to be said about the most dangerous reason of all, the most painful, and the one that eats you up day and night just as much as the relationship does at times.
You are hoping for the person to see your side or to change them into being who they once were, long gone now. Or you are hoping that things will get better, that the version of things in your head will finally come to fruition and you will find peace & happiness again. But it may never happen; and that fear eats you up. You will hold on to that one flicker of good time spent with that person, clutch on to it like your life depends on it. You will happily black out all the fights and nights you cried to sleep because you now have a happy moment to hold onto. But capitalizing on that will only make it so much worse, because it pushes the process of moving on only that much further.
So many of us are so scared of being alone, or ending up alone. We are so wired to believe that there is something so wrong with being alone. Everywhere we look, movies, TV, books... the idea of pain and heartbreak is so romanticized, just as much as being with someone is.
What we don't realize is that even when we are holding onto the person, the one we are holding onto is the picture of them as we knew them once upon a time, the one we hope will make an appearance again. But that person isn't there anymore. And you are alone after all.
As kids, were we all taught how to practice self love?
When we were told to bathe in the morning, clip nails on time, shouldn't we have also been told that taking care of oneself also involves constantly loving yourself? So that the first time we hear of it is not an Instagram poem, or the therapist's office? Because by the time the latter happens, our soul is so tired, and the concept is so new to us that the effort it requires is just too daunting for us. All the strength we can muster is saved for getting out of bed in the morning, and going about life.
I don't pretend to be an expert on relationships. Hell, I am still battling with the end of a relationship that didn't even last that long. But I know this, and I know this well: no matter how long, no matter how great (or not so), you will always get over it and move on.
It might take a few days, months, even years, but you will get there. There will come a point when you will wake up in the morning, make yourself some coffee, heat the leftover pizza, read the paper. And it will suddenly strike you that you didn't wake up thinking of them.
And slowly, you will find yourself again. You will collect all the pieces you had lost all around and put them back together. So that when the right person does come along, you are in full bloom.
And you are ready to open the door, once again.