Not all break ups have to be devastating. In fact, they can be perfectly mature & respectful if both parties are open & honest. Shocking, but true! Story at 11!
Some backstory: I was recently in a relationship with a lovely man. We were together for more than 6 months, ran together, travelled together & saw each other through some difficult times. I am grateful for the time that we spent together & after the Martlet turned Chicken shit show it was wonderful having this man in my life to show me that it was ok to trust & love again. But it was becoming apparent that our time together was coming to an end: there was distance, schedules and other issues that all pointed to the inevitable.
I’ve been in enough relationships to recognize this point, but it’s consistently a blind spot. There have been times when I’ve tried to ignore it, deny it or give it some time, naively hoping that this nagging feeling of finality will dissipate. I’ve let relationships go on far longer than they should to avoid being alone or hurting someone. Which ironically usually does the opposite.
Dating after divorce can be tricky: there are old patterns that you innately repeat in your relationships, but hopefully there are many lessons learned from the dissolution of your marriage. One of my take-aways was that you can not rely on someone else to make you happy. If you’re not happy, it’s within you to find the metaphorical (or literal, if that’s the case) balls to do something about it. Don’t do it alone though: ask for the help & take advice & support from the people who love you. The other thing I’ve learned is not to settle for “happy enough.” This is different than “good enough” which implies that there is something that is not quite right about the other person and that you are lowering your standards & settling by being with them. There are a lot of reasons to settle for “happy enough” – emotional safety, financial security, fear of the unknown or a misplaced good intention to do the right thing & sacrifice your own happiness for someone else’s (your spouse, your children, your family, society, faith etc). Is there a fairy tale “happily ever after?” Probably not, but there is happy within, which I believe is the key to being happy without – without a spouse or a partner, without acceptance from society or without that safety net of being a couple.
So this time, I took a relatively new (for me) approach & decided to be honest. Not brutally, but with compassion. And I’m glad I did because I deeply admire and respect this man & want nothing more than for him to be happy. I have no doubt that he will find deep, fulfilling love with someone who will appreciate his many wonderful qualities. I’m a little bit sad that I can’t be that girl but when I think of him, I imagine a beautiful, kind & loving woman at his side, smiling with glee at her good fortune.