Hitting the restart button on your relationship is difficult and feels damn near impossible. You look at the person you have spent several years of your life with, someone you thought you would grow old with and realize this is where we stop. This is the point in which we no longer grow together. I am 30 years old now and I was with my partner for over four years. We made plans and thought this was it, dating was done. But here we are living together but apart. My ex and I have made the hard decision to part ways as a couple and remain friends.
The First Restart: Saying Goodbye
Trust me when I say, it was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make. It is a major reason behind my absence from blogging. I had to cry and be alone and really just feel my feelings. But something beautiful has come out of it. I have my best friend, my ex. He and I may have had a shall we say a complicated relationship but the foundation of understanding and love is there. Just because we are no longer together does not mean we do not care for one another, in fact I think it is just the opposite. We love each other enough to say we need to let go and do the right thing by each other.
We knew we could not continue to emotionally damage one another. I loved him and he loved me, so what was wrong? I was always told that love would be enough. But a history of lies and hurt sometimes just cannot be repaired, no matter how much love there is. It took a long time for me to admit that to myself. Being concerned about our families and this idea I had in mind for my life needed to be burned down once and for all. No matter how much we wanted to move on, it was not happening.
Feel the Feels
However, here I am. Dating. Again. This was something I did not think I was going to do. Swiping right and left on picture after picture and starting with the same conversations again and again. However hitting restart was not what I wanted but it was what I needed. I learned so much about myself and my real wants, my needs. I have taken on a stronger understanding of self care, saying no, and doing what makes me happy. Because of these changes, I had to confront my own anger and anxiety and “do the work” to make myself a more emotionally healthy person.
I may not be ready for a new long term relationship per se but I am meeting people who take care of the emotional and physical needs that I have been missing. There is the sweet intellectual who wants to cuddle and watch movies, there is the active thrill seeking guy who makes me want to try new things. My friend provides the emotional exchange of feelings and ideas.
I was so scared to leave a relationship that was not working because hell I had no idea what dating in my 30’s would look like. I knew I loved my partner, his family, certain aspects of our lives. Was I really going to go and blow that up? Obviously yes, I did. Well, we did. It was better to leave than to stay and work on something that could not be fixed. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as awful as I thought. No one wants to restart after so long but there are times it is all you can do.
Restart, Reset & Rediscovery
If you find yourself staying with someone because you are too scared of the unknown, too scared of letting go of this idea you’ve built up about your life, please do yourself a favor and let it go. Don’t sacrifice your sanity and love for something this is ultimately hurting you. Restart. Reset. Explore yourself in a way that you have probably been putting off. It’s scary and breaking up sucks but it will be what is best.
Some days are fucking hard, there are times I miss what we had and what we were building towards. While other days I feel a great sense of relief. Everyone has good days and bad days, this will be no different. But the ups and downs will begin to level off until you are just, okay. You can do things without thinking of them, see or hear their name and it will not phase you. Life goes on and you will find something else that gives you butterflies.
There is no right or wrong way to do this, just be honest. You have to love yourself and your partner enough to let go. It does no good making one another miserable. After you grieve for the relationship, go dancing! Ride a bike for the hell of it, do yoga, start a new show. Whatever you have to do to be happy, do it. Because staying in a place where you are not happy is scarier than hitting restart.