This is how it feels letting go of someone you still love.
your body craves them
your mind won’t stop showing you scenes
your prayers are for letting go
your prayers are for relief
your prayers are for what’s next
what’s next is this pause
what’s next is this pain
what’s next is getting to love
The Familiar Longing
So much of my life has been spent in longing moods. This is comfortable. This is sad and tired and a tiny bit depressed. But this is also okay. What lessons I have to learn from this moment have to do with my relationship with myself. My sadness at leaving a loving relationship behind, due to complications beyond my control, feels like a flu has entered the core of my heart and is cold and damp, aching there. Sick. Sad. Black.
And the hopefulness I am generating is false. I am hopeful, of course, but most of it is bravado that I tell myself. “I’m okay. This is okay. I’ll be okay.” And the kicker, “Someone better will come along when you are ready.”
I know this to be true. But it does not lessen the familiar ache, the empty bed, the nights spent not holding a lover.
What I Don’t Want to Do
I don’t want to sit and be patient with my grieving heart. I want to jump back into dating. I want to yell, “I was ready, I am ready. It was not my fault!” But, I know this is not the way towards healing and recovery. So, I leap into Bumble and Tinder and find emptiness. I binge a show that has only 8 episodes and I’m a little less sad when it ends. What I don’t want to do is feel this. What I don’t want to do is admit defeat and the hands of someone else, some other force that was beyond my control. What I don’t want to do is let go.
What has to be done is to move forward with my life. What I know needs to be done, has nothing to do with dating or relationships or women. What I am going to focus on, of course, is myself, my juiciness, my enthusiasms, my expressions of love and creativity. I’m not there just yet. But I will get there. I know hope and energy fluctuate wildly in these times of uncertainty. And I know, what’s certain is myself, my familiarity with this feeling. I have had three long-term relationships, with real potential, implode over the last five years. And, it’s not because I didn’t do my best. It’s not because I gave up. In all three cases, I worked hard to establish boundaries, and closeness, and trust. I worked my program. I wrote about what I was learning. And I brought everything I had into each partnership.
And still, we failed.
It’s Not *My* Plan
I keep thinking I am in charge. I keep thinking that my writing, my roadmaps, my lessons in dating and relationship building, will give me a superpower. I keep thinking that I can be a better man and rise above the challenges. And I keep being taught the terrible lesson: sometimes it’s not me. Sometimes, there is nothing I could have done better. Sometimes, all the times actually, I am not the one in charge. I do my best. I read and write about BRAVING and I ask to bring an awareness into the relationship. I establish healthy boundaries. I stay in my lane. I do my best at relationship building. And it’s not enough.
Sometimes, our best efforts are not enough. Sometimes, the failure is not our fault.
I can forgive and still love each of these women in their various states of disrepair. I can walk away knowing I brought my best game into their lives. I can walk away with my heart still on my sleeve, because that’s how I go through life. And I can refind my hopefulness. I can recenter and find my own balance again. I can coach myself, love myself, entertain myself. I cannot hold myself, but I’m doing the best I can. And, I will ready myself for my next challenge. This time. I promise. I will enter the relationship fully aware of what I want, what I’m capable of, and what I need in a partner. Starting with time and honesty, I will begin again.
I will rise with my hopefulness and enthusiasm. It’s who I am.
And I walk outside, just now, and the air is pleasant, the sky is clear. “It’s going to be okay, whatever happens,” I say out loud. “It’s going to be okay.”
John McElhenney – life coach austin texas
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More articles from The Whole Parent:
- That Long-Term Relationship You Are Seeking… It’s With Yourself
- There She Goes Again: Limitless Desire for a New Partner
- Giving Up the Ghost of Your Love
- Additional Online Dating Data Indicates: It’s a Shitshow Out There
- Time, The Currency of Modern Relationships: Either You Have It To Give
- Starting at Zero: Relationship Basics for the Newly Single
- When the Sexual Chemistry Knocks the Sense Right Out of You
- The Dating Journey: From the Break Up to the Pre-Dating Checklist
Here are a few of my books on Amazon:
- Single Dad Seeks: Dating Again After Divorce: Advice and Strategies on Learning How to be Loved Again
- Fall of the House of Dad: My journey through divorce, from loss to joy, again and again
- A Good Dad’s Guide to Divorce: One father’s quest to stay connected with his children
- The Sex Index: Getting Our Love Languages Right in the Bedroom
- Here Comes the Darkness: Surviving and Thriving After a Mental Illness Diagnosis
- The Third Glass: When Drinking Becomes an Issue
- The Storm Before the Divorce: When One Parent Wants Out, That’s the End
- Dating 2.0: Aiming for the Love of Your Life