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Just over three years ago my boyfriend of a decade sat down in front of me – the man I lived with, the man who’d told me we would be engaged very soon – and told me he didn’t want our relationship anymore. What he did want, I found out afterwards, was the woman he’d been having an affair with
There’s nothing that can prepare you for that moment. The weird calm where you’re dividing your things up and breaking apart two lives, the next moment filled with so much confusion and anger for his cowardice, for his lies. Going from being a part of someone’s life, of talking to them everyday to…nothing. I pretty much sleep walked (slept walked?!?) my way through the next 12 months. The utter loneliness of going from a relationship to being single, the constant overtime I took on so I wouldn’t have time to think, sheer exhaustion through constantly waking up at 4am. It all came to a head almost a year later when I realised I was thinking far too seriously, and far too often, about ending it all
I needed a change. So I left. I took on my biggest challenge ever and headed away on what would be 18 months of hard work, adventure and (cheese alert) finding myself.
I still had moments where I thought about the past, where I grieved for what had happened and wondered just where it all went wrong…even moments where I felt utterly sorry for myself and hated the fact that he had waltzed off, seemingly blissfully happy, to a new life while I was left to pick up the pieces, to doubt everything and to have to contemplate just how the heck I start again
But you know what, out of sight, out of mind, and slowly but surely I was healing. Helped by my wonderful friends, old and new. Helped by starting to discover that, on my own, I did have a lot of great qualities and I started to like myself
Returning to the UK wasn’t the scary home-coming that I thought it would be. It wasn’t an assault to the senses and a reminder of the past. It really felt like a new start. A new home in a new place. Somewhere with absolutely no memories. Then recently I got hit by some potentially scary health news. Time (and tests) will tell what the next step is.
I don’t know what to think. On the surface I’m doing fine, but I can feel the old self doubt coming back. Sometimes, when it’s late and I’m tired, I get the little ‘why me’ voice. I try to silence it, ‘why not me’, but it’s really hard. And it’s times like this when the loneliness returns. My friends are wonderful, they truly are, but they are no substitute for the one person that knows you best, who is part of your team. Who is there in the middle of the night, or offering you security. I miss that. Not him. That. I get scared I’ll never have that again, I’m still too nervous of rejection to seriously start dating, I am scared of what the next few months hold healthwise, but every now and then I look back at what I’ve achieved over the last three years, things I never even imagined and I let myself think, “I’ll be ok.”
It’s all about one step at a time, right?