Forward: To be honest, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to post this. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, I’ve moved on. But still, I felt like there were some things unsaid that I wanted to say to mark the occasion. So, in the end, I decided to let it fly.
One year ago, I made quite possibly the most difficult, heart-breaking, gut-wrenching decision in my nearly-28 years on this planet.
I ended a relationship with the man I thought I was going to be with for the rest of my life. The absolute love of my life. My best friend. My puppy-daddy. My Bubba 3. My handsome. My soulmate.
It was the weirdest thing. I woke up on Mother’s Day, hopped into the shower, and was struck with this feeling like… “This is going to happen today.”
I’d been mulling over ending it for a while – we’d been talking about getting married for years at that point, and he was no closer now to making a decision then when we had started. I oscillated between being perfectly fine with waiting until I was 90 to get married to him because I just loved every piece of him (that was Suni) to being so frustrated with him for not making a damned decision (that was Whit).
But Whit finally took over and said, “Yep, this is done.” (Without actually informing Suni, but that’s another story.)
The actual event was rather quiet, in his car in my driveway after we’d taken a two hour walk around a park. I knew it was happening even as we walked around; everytime he took me to a new park, I held my breath to hope that maybe I was wrong, maybe he was really planning to propose that day. But it was pretty clear that, like so many weekends before, he was interested in nothing more than a walk around the park.
I basically told him that I thought it was time we cut our losses and moved on. We talked about it for a good hour. Just the two of us in his car. He didn’t protest or tell me to stay, as he had done before. We were both sadly resigned to the fact that our time together had come to a close.
Then we kissed goodbye and I walked into my house, got physically sick, and cried for the next four months.
I kept most of my emotions bottled up, only letting them out in passive aggressive statements (“Oh, congratulations, you’re getting married.”) or when I was completely alone. I thought this was a “normal” thing – as Jewel says, “Hearts are broken every day.” It wasn’t until almost six months later that I realized it wasn’t just another break-up. Six and a half years – from 20 to almost 27 – is a long time to be with someone. There’s a lot of growing we did together: Jobs, houses, dogs, trips, just life in general. It’s hard for me to tell a story – ANY story – without him being in it. And even though I had dated at least five or six people since we’d broke up, some part of me still pined for him.
To be honest, that’s why I decided to go to therapy – I needed help to sort through these emotions and figure out why I was still so attached to someone while at the same time being so completely done with him. And that, my friends, is how I came to rediscover the two girls living inside my head, which set me on this journey to becoming an author and rediscovering myself. My ex was, I think, one of the only people who really knew this “writer” – Suni, even though I never let him see anything I wrote or told him about what it was. Suni loved him deeply, and she held onto him firmly until at least March of this year. Only then, validated by some self-love and blog posts, did she start to see how mismatched we really were for each other. She began to see that she was holding onto him only because she was lonely from being kept away from the world, and not because he was the best for us.
The truth of the matter is, while I will always love him, I’m very glad that we did not get married. Besides the fact that I never would have gone through this journey of self-discovery (or actually gotten my act together and published a book), in reality, we weren’t right for each other. There were certain things that I needed from him that he never gave to me, and certain things he needed from me that I was unable to provide. I was so in love with him I thought we could overcome those things, but it wouldn’t have been fair to either of us.
So while I’m in a much better place than I was last May, this first anniversary has made me a little melancholy. I was taking out all of my spring and summer clothes from storage and found myself a little nostalgic for that life that I had with him. Not a “wishing-I-had-him-back” kind of sadness, but more a longing for the time when I could pretend we were right for each other and just be ignorant of reality.
To close, I’m going to leave you with a song that I first heard driving home to Pensacola last June. The trip itself was my heartbreak escape – running home to the people that I loved most during my time of need. About 12 hours into the drive, on Interstate 65 near Montgomery, AL, this song came on my iPhone’s shuffle.
I lost it.
I think you’ll see why.
Here’s Manhattan, by Sara Bareilles:
You can have Manhattan
I’ll settle for the beach
With sunsets facing westward
And sand beneath my feet
I’ll wish this away
Dismissing the days
When I was one half of two
You can have Manhattan
‘Cause I can’t have you.