The Path May End – Leaving and Recovering from a Relationship

“Never regret. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it’s experience.” – Victoria Holt

My dear queer children,

Thus far, we have talked about a few areas related to dating and being in a relationship, some areas being going on a first date and healthfully committing to a relationship. For my final post in this installment, I will talk about when it may be necessary to end a relationship and give some advice on recovering from the breakup.

Sometimes we hold onto relationships so tightly because we’re afraid that when they’re gone, we won’t find something like it again. Sometimes we are so obsessed with the idea of being with another person that we don’t see how the relationship is toxic for us. And sometimes, we’re afraid that it’s all we have, so we won’t have anything after we let it go.

From my own experience, I can tell you that leaving a relationship was one of the most emotionally taxing experiences in my life as a college student thus far. For a couple months after the breakup, I kept asking “what if?” questions and thinking about all the things I could’ve done to prevent us from breaking up. For some time, I was just as obsessed with my ex after our relationship as I was while I was in our relationship.

But the night we had ended the relationship, I experienced an intense wave of reality. I came sobbing to my friends about leaving them for so long. I called my family and told them what happened and that I will be okay. But most importantly, I realized that I had been holding myself back from growing. In my relationship, I was so comfortable with who I was that I had just stopped developing as a person. And when I discovered this, I realized I was free.

I can’t give you a one-size-fits-all model for when you should consider leaving a relationship. However, I can help you become more aware and evaluative of your relationship so that you can make that decision about your relationship by yourself.

First and foremost, reflect on your happiness – not the happiness you feel right at this moment, but on your overall happiness from the moment your relationship started. As I’ve said many times, you are the most important consideration in the dating process and in a relationship. When you think about your happiness, remember how you defined your happiness before your relationship. Remember that your happiness is not contingent upon your partner’s happiness. Considering this, if you are not as happy as you were before your relationship, then you should consider leaving the relationship for your own happiness.

Also, consider your health in all its aspects: mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual. Do you tend to feel dissociated from your daily life, your friends and family, and even yourself? Do you feel more anxious or stressed about life than you normally have? How have your daily habits changed? If you are spiritual, do you feel disconnected from your spirituality Your health deserves the utmost attention, and if it does not receive the necessary care that it deserves while you are in your relationship, then that may be another consideration for leaving the relationship.

If you should decide to leave your relationship, know that you are not alone and that you are making the best decision for you, your happiness, and your health. This decision will set you on a new path of growth, understanding, and self-love.

One of the first steps you should take on your journey to recovery should be to reach out to those who you love and care about you. They will share your pain and be sources of strength and rest for you. They will help you find your happiness and health again. Community is, ultimately, one of the greatest forms of self-care.

Another step on the journey to recovery is spending time with yourself. Meditate and journal to reflect on how you will grow now that you are not in a relationship. Take yourself out to eat or read a book on a weekend night to relax. Go for a run in a park or stay in and watch your favorite show. Do what you love so you can recover and find love and peace for yourself. Everything else will follow.

Finally, know that this isn’t the end. Even though we live in a society that makes it hard for people like us to find a partner, know that it isn’t impossible. You’ll get back into the dating scene. You’ll go on more first dates. You will have another partner. It just takes time and a lot of patience, but it will be okay.

As always, please let me know if you would like my to write on a specific topic. I am always a resource for you.

Until next time,

Love, Your Gay Godparent,

Joe

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