It’s been a long, long time since I’ve revisited this series. I haven’t broached the subject in almost a year and one of my recent pieces Collected Works I: The Reflectives has caused me to think on the topic once again. In October 2007, my ex Jay and I broke up. We had been together for more than twenty years. The breakup began a monumental change in my life, one that I still struggle with today.
The last time I wrote on this subject (see Reflections of a Breakup XIII), I said that I was finally beginning to make sense of it all, though the change was still sad and painful more than a year and a half later. Jay and I had continued to remain in contact with one another, in an attempt to forge a friendship out of what we had. People in my life advised me against it, especially since I’d always get a little down after a visit with Jay. They were right.
One of the most important things I’ve learned out of all of this is that there lies a struggle within all of us between the emotional and the rational, the heart and the mind. Learning to put emotions in check is a vital lesson to learn, especially in cases involving relationships.
Looking back, I don’t regret ending my relationship with Jay. I don’t pine for him or secretly wish we’d get back together, nothing like that. He is a great person and I couldn’t have asked for anyone better to have spent twenty years of my life with. I still find it all a little sad. Breaking up would have been a lot easier if he was a cheater or an abuser of some sort, but he wasn’t. The problems we had simply came to a point where it was beyond repair, and going our separate ways was for the best. This I know.
In the past year, new issues have come up which have caused a lot of introspection and in the long run, some healing. I’ve stayed away from the subject all these months for several reasons. For a long time, I was afraid to let out my feelings, making myself both vulnerable and pitiful. Though this is still a concern, putting this down in words is therapeutic and it helps me to work things through, so it’s worth it. I don’t wish to air any ill will towards Jay. There’s no need for that, and besides the issues represented here are my own and have nothing really to do with him. I choose to revisit this topic in the hopes of helping someone out there in a similar situation. Knowing that you’re not alone can be a great source of comfort.
When my father died in May of last year, Jay was there the whole time in support of me and my family. He’d been a part of the family for so long that my mom, my dad and my siblings had also mourned his loss from our lives when we broke up. It was comforting to have him there and we all appreciated his presence.
A couple of weeks after the funeral, Jay had called to see how I was doing. During the conversation, and quite by accident, he dropped a bombshell that threw me into a tailspin. A few months earlier he’d met someone. I guess that the feelings I was experiencing were normal under the circumstance. Rationally, I knew that it shouldn’t matter, that we’d long since gone our separate ways and one of us was bound to meet another person eventually. Emotionally, though, I was a little bit of a mess.
The shock at hearing the news ripped my self-esteem to shreds. Rather than feeling jealousy, I would say that envy and self-pity are more accurate ways to describe the feelings I was experiencing. I’m not proud for feeling this way, but I’ve learned to accept it as an emotional thing, which at the time I had no control over.
For the past year or so, I’ve realized that to move I’d have to make a conscious effort to suppress those emotions by thinking things through logically. I’ve learned to focus on my own life without giving Jay’s any thought. In recent months it’s gotten easier because our contact with one another has been minimal. Though I still care for Jay a great deal, I know that it’s best for me to stay away as much as I can, for my own emotional well-being.
I’ve come to realize that he’s found someone because he was looking for it. I, on the other hand, really have not. I’m not so sure if I’m ready to be in another relationship, and when the time is right I will actively seek one out. In the meantime, I’m learning about me, about who John is as a person and not as one half of a couple. Subconsciously, I think that’s what I really needed. Being single does not mean a life unfulfilled.
Being alone is not all that I thought it would be. There are a lot of things I like about it, and some things I don’t. I love the freedom. I miss the companionship. I relish the solitude. I hate the loneliness. There is a reason why I haven’t found someone new for myself. I just need to discover and accept all there is to know about me, and then I can move on to other things. Until then, I’m just going to have to keep on living my life, and discovering just what I’m really all about. There’s nothing wrong with that!