Ending a long term relationship in your 20s

It sucks.

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I used to have this dream that once I “settled down” my life would someone how go into happiness autopilot. I would cruise on this gravy train and live happily ever after. I guess I may have overdosed on Disney while growing up. Time for reality rehab.

At the age of 26 I found myself at the end of a 7 year relationship. I suffered a depression like I never knew before. I would have days when I literally couldn’t move a muscle. How could my life be going so well and things turn out so bad! In the mist of settling into a new job, mourning the death of my father and finishing my master’s degree I also loss the person I considered my best friend. Everything was happening all at once and I couldn’t be present for myself. If I could title this chapter in my life it would be called “Bitch you guessed it: Tall tails of failed plans”. (Be on the look out I really may write this). At 26 I was seeing all my friends start lasting relationships, getting married and having kids and here I was with a broken heart and plans deferred. For a while I even had a hard time being happy for those getting married because i knew that the wedding plans I was previously making wouldn't be coming true.

The end of my relationship left like what I expect a divorce to feel like. Having to move, changing names on accounts and avoiding certain places were the least of my worries. The hardest part of ending the relationship was an expectation to just get over it. A person I knew found out my relationship ended and the first thing they said was “Well you’re still young, get over it and find someone else”. This was the last thing I wanted to hear while my battle wounds were healing. It sounded as if my age meant that I wasn't capable of having a meaningful relationship. 

Getting over it was so hard! It wasn't just about the relationship, I was dealing with so much at once! Every aspect of my life too a toll. I eve contemplated dropping out of school. The best thing I did for myself was seeking counseling from my pastor. For the first time I was allowed to be angry, to be sad, to miss him and to hate him. 

I made it to the point where I wanted to start dating again. This was even worse. I dreaded the moment anyone asked me about my previous relationship. It usually went like this.

Le Potential Bae: How long were you and your Ex Together?

Me: 7 years

Le Potential Bae: WHAT! Yall should have been married! Any chance yall can just get back together! That’s crazy! I know some people who haven’t even been married that long.

Me: oh ok

And that happened every time. I wore my failed relationship around like a scarlet letter. I hated when people asked about him. One of his family members even reached out to me wondering why we broke up. One thing I did well in our relationship was kept all negative details to myself. I never share or displayed any signs of problems in the relationship so when it can to an end a lot of people were surprised.  It been almost a year since we broke up and I still have distant family members ask about him. I don't want to be rude but I get so upset when they ask.

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When learning the lessons of life no one ever prepares you for things like this. There is so much information on how to keep a relationship and communicate but life doesn’t really prepare you for what to do when it ends. Avoiding all the places we hung out is impossible unless I move to another state. How long will it take before the mention of his name brings me to tears, So many unanswered questions! I have been able to learn quite a lot about myself;

  • I learned that I am worth the happiness I seek.
  • I am stronger than I thought I was.
  • I have the potential to be a great girlfriend.
  • It takes time to heal from a broken heart.
  • Its ok to cry. 

Healing will come but it will hurt like hell!