I have an incredibly special guest to welcome to the blog this morning–my bestie. I have a hard time talking about her without getting verklempt because she has been there for me through thick and thin and is the one I’d trust the most to clear my search history and take my secrets with her to the grave. My parents think of her as one of their own–I mean, who else would drive 4 hours roundtrip to bring me to college when they couldn’t?
Recently she went through an unimaginable breakup (I say unimaginable because no one saw it coming) and my heart ached for her. I’m so incredibly honored to have her here to share her story. Please welcome her with open arms, my sweet pixies 🙂
How many times have we had a horrendous fight with our partner and at the end said “we will work on it?” Did we mean it when we said it? Yes. Did we actually “work on it” in the days following? Probably not. I’m not happy to say that I’ve had a few blowouts with my partner and after all the anger turned into crying, neither one of us wanted to see the other hurt and we always said that we would work on it. Us. And then we moved on with our day almost like nothing had happened. Crisis averted with those five words.
This past August I lost the love of my life when my partner said that she no longer wanted to be with me. It was out of the blue to me. But was it really? She was about 1,000 miles away when she mentioned that she needed space from me when she came home. From that moment on, I was shattered into a million pieces. Immediately after she hung up, I broke down and for the weeks following I could not stop thinking about every time I could have done something to make things better. I could have worked on it. For years she practically worshiped me in private and with friends and it never once occurred to me that it would just disappear one day. Poof. Gone.
I moved out of the house we owned and started renting another one almost immediately because I could not bear to be within the walls we shared together. To try to help myself get over the loss of my love, I decided that I needed to start working on it. Me. So what does working on it mean? Looking back, I think when you’re in a relationship, working on it has to begin with you. I think I am very self-aware and I have a good idea why I do the things I do.
For instance, I’m not a coddler. My partner on the other hand… For years I got annoyed by the fact that anytime she hurt herself, which was often enough because she’s not a shining example of grace, she would want some kind of attention. My reaction to her was “get over it.” Maybe I could have been a little softer. At least humor her a little bit more to let her know that I cared. That doesn’t mean that I think I need to walk around with kid gloves because I’m an insensitive asshole. It means that for the future I’ll keep it in the back of my mind that maybe giving a little goes a longer way than dismissing what the other person is trying to say. For her it meant she needed affection. Heaven forbid.
That’s just one thing that I want to work on. I’m sure as I move forward I will pull a memory out my brain of something I could have done a little differently to avoid a shitty outcome. I don’t completely blame myself for the breakup. However, when there are that many moments of regret, it made me wonder if that was really the best I could have done. I know it wasn’t but I got too comfortable on the pedestal that she put me on.
Regret changed me immediately. After a little more than a month and a lot of reflecting on both of our parts, my partner and I are back together and I am back in my house. We now have a fabulous new bedroom set and more kitchen items than we ever dreamed, thanks to that experience, or “the incident,” as it is now referred to as. However, as much as it devastated me and drove me to my knees just about every single day, I would not take “the incident” back. It showed me what I was doing wrong and has brought out the qualities in me that made her love me when we met. We have gone through our fare share of life’s curve balls, which neither one of us handled well in the past. But now I’m ready for them. I’m ready because not only am I there for my partner, but she is there for me and we are both ready to take on whatever comes. Together. Because for the first time ever we are working on it and this time we mean it.
The moral of the story is—put your money where your mouth is. If two people love each other and want to stay together but keep having the same fights, figure out why. If you’re in it for the long haul then working on the relationship is a constant process and not one to be ignored. A stagnant relationship is just existing in a house and not actually living. My partner and I existed for too long like roommates and didn’t enjoy each other like we should have. We now enjoy and cannot wait for each and every moment together but it took losing everything for both of us to realize what we were missing out on for so long.
I don’t know why but this change in me makes me think of one of the last lines of A Christmas Carol, when Ebenezer Scrooge “was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more…”