Written by: Briana Whiteside
People may have told you for quite some time that you need to leave that relationship. The signs have been there for a while but it’s easier to stay. You don’t want to give up. You know the person. You’ve developed a system with them. And, if you’re honest, you may have started to design your life around the relationship.
I know how it feels to have the nagging desire to want to make a relationship work. I know what it’s like to truly believe that your relationship could be better if somehow you all could just get on the same page at the same time. I also know what it’s like to lose that relationship, that love, that dysfunction. I’ve felt the pain of separation, but I’ve also felt the satisfaction of being on the other end of the pain. I know where you are!
Let me tell you a quick story:
On May 6, 2016, I was standing in the restroom of my part-time job when I told my ex boyfriend that we couldn’t be friends. Though we had separated a year prior, we both wanted to hold on to a piece of each other at any cost. It neither mattered that we weren’t happy, nor that we were prolonging the healing process. All that mattered was that we allowed each other not to feel the pain of being separated.
We both knew that it was something that we needed to do but were too afraid to do it. We grew complacent in our dysfunction, in our love, in our hopes for each other. Yes, we loved each other but the
imperfection of our love caused us to hurt far more than we ever thought. In retrospect, we had stopped living because we were just trying to survive one another.
We were giving up seven years of love, of memories, of pain, of happiness, of secrets. Who would fill these voids that we both rested in? Who would love us? Who would dare date a broken man and a broken woman who didn’t know the importance of wholeness? We convened on many things, on many levels, on many mindsets, but we both knew that our relationship with God was at risk and if we didn’t surrender now, we might not ever do it.
In our conversation, I told the person whom I thought I would spend the rest of my life with that we couldn’t be friends. I told him that I wanted something more and that we deserved better. As my voice trembled to say, “I choose me” I wondered if I was making a mistake.
Would I be allowing another to reap the benefits of being with someone with whom I had grown familiar? How would this look since no one had ever modeled it for me? I didn’t know the answer then, but I know that we both knew that this was it. As we got off the phone, I pulled myself together enough to work my shift but still questioned “How?”
I didn’t date for a year after that. Whew! Yes, a year of not entertaining men, not reaching back to the past, but dealing with me and all my drama. I must be honest, I wasn’t prepared at all for the journey. In fact, I didn’t think I needed as much work, processing, and love as I received. I didn’t know how deep my wounds went– many long before my boyfriend and I dated. I didn’t know that I created victims because of my brokenness, my inability to forgive, and to heal.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the inventory of bodies laying in the cemetery of my heart. I didn’t know that it was I who had given up and lost respect for myself long before my breakup. For 365 days I was in the fire. Every impurity surfaced, every heartache bared its ugly pain, memories that I buried rose, and tears that I refused to cry flooded the canvas of my face. I was broken in so many areas and didn’t realize that I was living on life support. Ultimately, I was surviving only because I was hooked up to a respirator breathing short breaths. I was dying and didn’t realize it until I started living—after healing.
People told me that I was crazy to go cold turkey like that. Some attempted to discourage me by telling me that I needed someone (a man) to help me through the process. But, I knew what I needed: I needed to face the truth about myself and all of my dysfunction for the first time. Truth be told, the pressure of confronting yourself for the first time, your systems, thought processes, or truth is daunting and there were times that I thought I wouldn’t survive. But I did and you will too! The version of yourself on the other side of your pain will blow your mind, and one day you will laugh without fear of the future