I have been single for half a year.
Technically, it is already longer than that. We split a month before I moved out, so I suppose I should be counting from the day that we made the decision. But I am not, because really, the day I moved out was the day our hearts truly separated. Before that, we were still in each other’s space, dancing around each other in doorways, holding each other when we cried. There was still that easiness around us – we slipped by each other with the ease of people who have shared a life for 7 years. We were still performing the same routines; dinner, tv, washing up, dogs out, bed. And though we knew what was coming, there was a real sense of us facing the next steps together. Hand in hand, like we had always faced everything before.
Moving out blew apart that easiness. Suddenly we were all jagged and pointy around each other – unsure how to be together without awkwardness. First the conversation got weird – should we still be using ‘boo’ to address each other? It’s been his name for the last few years of our love, and mine also – using his real name feels foreign and salty. Then the hugging – should we be hugging? We got to a weird place of back patting and sidewards squeezing, rather than the fully-hearted, open-armed hugs of the years previous. There hasn’t been any sexual tension between us for years, and this hasn’t changed with the split – but what about all the true intimacy? There’s that quote – anyone can take their clothes off and fuck, but making love, letting someone into your soul, that’s harder to do. Suddenly, all the ways we had connected to each other’s souls seemed alien and dirty. Even the good ways. Even the ways I hoped that we would keep.
There have been some words spat out in anger. He kept my dogs, my gorgeous boys. I still see them, but he’s forgetful and often hurtful. He’s always been the same – he’s not a social creature, but it stings that I was a huge part of his life and now I’m not. Once, in anger, I shouted at him that he was treating me just like everyone else – he shouted back that now I was just another friend, he treats all his friends the same, I have to join the back of the queue now. That’s what I am to him now. Just another one in the queue. When I’m angry at him, I blame him internally for ruining years of my life – 7 years of my life I won’t ever get back. 7 years where he controlled our lives and made me an extension of him, not my own person. 7 years which didn’t work.
But really, all the anger is futile. He is a much more balanced than me; when discussing his new sort-of-girlfriend, he summed it up, how it is for him: “do I wish we’d worked? Yes. Do I miss you horribly? Yes. But am I happy now? Yes.” And I guess that the last 6 months have been learning that perhaps, both the past and the present can be good.
When I get tearful about the break up, it is because I am thinking about how close a margin we missed it by. We had all of the components necessary – I was dedicated to him, supportive, loving. He kept me safe, gave me a chance at a new life, and was an incredibly strong, powerful protector in my life. But he also had an incredibly selfish streak. He had the most fearsome temper; he could flick the switch and break the TV remote, throw our dinner on the floor, kick out at the dog. He is an incredibly driven, successful person – but this is at the expense of anyone in his way. Including me. And then there was me… impulsive, passionate, trauma-filled. A fireball of emotions with no control. I was immature, painfully young and trapped in my childhood – I needed time to grow and mature. That couldn’t happen in his restrictive world. We had everything you need for a perfect love, but we almost had too much. Too much passion, too much intensity, too much soul-destroying love.
6 months ago tonight, I sat and wrote The next day was the first day of my independence and I was completely terrified of not surviving. I knew what I wanted my life to look like, but I had no certainty that I would survive the first night, let alone the ones after. But I did, and in the past 6 months, I’ve learned to live on my own, manage my own money, hold down a full time job, make friends, find hobbies and manage my mental illness. A friend describes her eating disorder as being inside a glass bauble – my life with him was being inside a bauble. Moving out meant breaking out, smashing the glass, and that brought with it a beautiful rush of fresh air and freedom. But suddenly, there is no padding. No protection. No barrier keeping me safe. Everything has become so raw. I feel everything with such intensity now – every emotion, every heartbreak, I feel it with such pain. I really wanted my ‘6 month’ post to be full of joy and happiness, no strings attached dating, drunken nights and all those pretty things they show people feeling on American sitcoms. My life is nothing like that right now – it’s messy and painful and raw. But it’s also beautiful, healing, progress-filled and happy. Sometimes – not all the time, but sometimes. And I think maybe it is possible to be so filled with pain and sorrow for what we lost or never quite had, and yet also to be so excited and intrigued about what comes in the next stage. I loved him, but I love my life now – both of those things can be true.
6 months ago, I was leaving the love of my life. In the last 6 months, I’ve started to make sure that the love of my life is actually me. My life isn’t perfect, but it’s real now. And the real life tastes so good.
M – you were my everything. Thank you for keeping me safe for so long, for long enough that I was able to stand on my own two feet. You gave me everything you could – your heart, a family, a taste of your happiness that made me crave for my own – and you helped me make the first fledgling steps into finding myself. I will always love you more than words can say, and I don’t suppose this heartbreak at what could have been will ever leave me – but that was then, my beautiful boy with the beautiful eyes, and this is now – our futures can be anything we want them to be.
I am just so, so sorry tonight that we couldn’t both have what we wanted, together. It wasn’t through lack of trying. We both gave everything, and it wasn’t enough, and that is so hard to take. Miss you.