Updated: May 1
It’s been one year and five months since my last relationship. There’s no question about it break ups can be hard especially if they aren’t really expected.
Now, don’t get it twisted this wasn’t my first break up. But, somehow this one was different. I don’t know, maybe because this time I wasn’t the one doing the breaking up or perhaps it was karma rearing its ugly head. It was four years going on five and in many ways it had the makings to be the perfect relationship. After all, it was four years of friendship before it seamlessly transitioned into a relationship.
After all, what better person to be in a relationship with than someone that was my friend first, who claimed to know me and could sometimes read my silence. The first two years were good and if you believe what most research says then this about the time that relationships plateau. Now, let me say physical intimacy was never the problem, but looking back perhaps my quietness and guardedness (if that is such a word) played a role. But, I had a hard time buying into that after all she claimed to REALLY know me when others didn’t. However, in hindsight, I came to realize that she actually didn’t know me, and perhaps I didn’t REALLY know her.
So, there had been talks. Well, I can’t really call them talks and conversations but more like Text Talks and emails. Perhaps, we both began to question things – noticing some changes but not really addressing them when we were face to face. I’m quiet and guarded. I had my reasons, and she claimed to understand. But, that seemed not to be the case.
Then, I felt compelled to do something I thought I’d never do – seek therapy to get some clarity and understanding behind some family trauma. The trauma that caused my concrete guard to take up residency within me, it was freeing to release some pint up feelings of pain and to realize I could be OK if family and even others chose to disconnect from me. According to my therapist, it was an OK risk to take (to let others get to know me) because I could be missing out on friendships and connections because of my thoughts of some impending end that hadn’t even happened yet.
But, therapy does what it is supposed to do especially when you are open to it. In time, I made an effort to express my thoughts and feelings and not just to do the silent treatment. She noticed a change or so she said. But, in her opinion it was too late. She would reveal later that her other relationships had been hard and she didn’t want “hard” with us. I can’t help but to think that culture differences may have also played a role. I was the first Black girlfriend she had and while her family was nice they felt we were so different – code for I was too quiet and that came across as if I wasn’t trying to get to know them. But, I also felt it wasn’t reciprocated on their part. But, this isn’t about tit for tat. So, I digress.
After a good weekend of spending time together, I got a text on a Monday. It was the first of the many reasons that would come in October 2019, a week before Atlanta Pride. First, she felt we needed to take a break. She wanted to get to therapy to work on herself and to try and understand why she felt the way she did – that she loved me but didn’t know why she didn’t want to move in together. I asked for clarification and parameters of this break but then she changed her mind and felt we should just break up instead. I was taken by surprise because in my mind things didn’t add up. Relationships can be hard. They take work, ACTUAL communication and a willingness if you really feel that the relationship is worth it.
I grieved the break up. I tried to communicate - to save and salvage the relationship. She was resistant. I conceded because I didn’t like the person I was becoming – someone who was begging for an opportunity to talk and to at least find out why. One night after meeting for dinner, our last dinner sitting in my car I had that Oprah Winfrey light bulb moment and knew I was done trying.
Closure – some real plausible explanation is what I had been seeking then. So, imagine my surprise when about two months later I found out that she reconnected with someone she had dated previously. It had ended years earlier before we got together. She spoke of not enjoying the physical aspects of their relationship and the overall energy of the person. So, her returning to THAT person broke me more than if she had of gotten with some random person. I could now believe nothing she said or claimed because after all, if you truly loved someone then how could it be so easy to just pick up and date someone else? She claimed she was lonely and that person was familiar. They were just dating off and on. But, just like the beginning of our break up and her story of Why her stories about the two of them kept changing. Their off and on dating seemed to be more than she acknowledged to me especially if you went by her and her family’s social media posts. Don’t worry I purged my social media pages so as not to be bombarded by the posts.
Before long, I released the bitterness and anger I felt toward her. After all, getting back to me wasn’t about her but myself. It was needed in order for me to move forward. It didn’t take long after that for me to realize that answers or whatever closure I expected may never happen. It was especially confusing when I was still getting texts from her checking in, wanting to hang out and or meet for lunch or dinner. All of which I refused. Brownies and pumpkin bread were left at my door. Why? In her mind, we should just go back to the friends we had previously been. But, exes are an ex for a reason.
I was well on my journey back to me when October 2020 rolled around. An occasional date here and there, but eventually I stopped dating due in part to the pandemic, but more so to just focus on me before pursuing dates or another relationship. I self-reflected and took time for me. As one might imagine, this last break-up had me questioning my confidence and shook my very foundation. I questioned if even finding TRUE love was possible for me.
Again, I turned to therapy to continue the work on me and my journey of self-discovery. I can honestly admit now that I’m in a good place. I’ve realized at this point it my life it’s not about her – what ifs and whys. Although, the break up was shattering it was what was needed for me to find someone who is really good with the quiet thoughtful person I am, and who I can truly TRUST to let my concrete guard down.
In the words of the Boys II Men song, Doin’ Just Fine, “I’m doin’ just fine. Getting along very well without you in my life. I’m doin’ just fine. Time made me stronger. You’re no longer on my mind (I don’t need you in my life).”
By Conswella Bennett