I recently went through a breakup that brought me to a deeper awareness of relationships and true love. As some of you know or have heard before we grow the most in intimate relationships. I feel like I have grown a lot in my past romantic relationships but I continued to get stuck in my long term relationships and now marriage. In 2013 I was in a committed relationship, we were living together for over a year and although he wanted to get married I wasn’t so sure I wanted to marry him. I was intrigued by his culture and adventurous side but overall I wasn’t really satisfied with the relationship. There were some issues we that were constantly happening that I wasn’t so sure he could change. He was from a foreign country as so am I and had recently moved to the states with a visa. An incident happened where he would be deported to his home country of Israel if we didn’t marry. I spent a month in anguish over making the decision to marry him or let him go.
Like many of us at this age of 20 somethings we are eager to find the one, our true love and the one we will spend the rest of our lives with. I felt ready to take this step in my life and felt the clock ticking, I was now 28, and everyone I knew was either married or getting married. I told myself that if I continued to be as picky I would never marry. I discarded some things that weren’t of my liking and focused on the positives in the relationship and said YES. I put together a 10 page document where we contractually agree to love and accept each other as we were, culturally and spiritually. I had fears of things changing, the love and the passion fading away and losing control of myself and who I was. What if he asked me to convert to Judaism or we had kids and he wouldn’t allow me to take them to my church or celebrate Christmas. This was my way of getting reassurance that I could leave the marriage if he broke the rules, I thought of it as written boundaries.
We had a beautiful wedding as this was it for me so I made it as much of the day I dreamed since I was a little girl and with only 3 months to prepare due to the situation. We went through our trials and tribulations in the relationship and it wasn’t easy. I had to learn to be very patient with this man that sometimes I thought of as a extraterrestrial being since I had to guide him through everything in a new country. Nevertheless he was kind and caring and I stayed in the relationship because I was married, I thought what would people say if I left my marriage, maybe I need to just get through it and give it more time. The first year was the hardest, we argued a lot and I was always mothering him. I focused on school and other distractions and didn’t think much of it. He wasn’t as jealous and possessive as in the beginning of the relationship and I thought that this is how things were in marriage.
After a couple of years things got worse, I didn’t feel valued, validated and loved so I stopped arguing and asking for change and resolution. I grew resentful and withdrew. Even though from the outside I always kept it together I knew this was not the marriage I envisioned or the relationship I wanted to be in and bring children. I struggled with the decision and ended the relationship months before our 3 year anniversary. I started reading self-help books, enjoying my time alone, experiencing new things and not caring what others thought as much. Choosing Love by Gina Lake was a book I read during this period that was a big eye-opener about relationships. Soon after, I met someone whom I thought was my true love and my soul-mate. I allowed myself to feel this love and be guided by it not knowing what would come of it. The relationship was like the fairy-tale a lot of us imagine so we ended up eloping and building a house after a year together. He did and said all the right things and I felt this feeling of acceptance and belonging. I felt that this was it and my life was finally falling together with the man I was meant to be with.
Months after settling in our house I am feeling rejected by him, judged and like something he is pushing away. I started reading marriage and relationship books, listening to podcast about relationships, really trying to fix my 4 month old marriage. This fear of abandonment kicked in and I felt lost and confused that the man I thought I knew turned to a cold and distant person. I started blaming myself for marrying again so soon and for believing lies that someone could actually love me forever. It was mind-boggling how much I didn’t know about relationships even though I have been in one since I can remember. As most of us in relationships we just wing it, we follow the feeling of falling in love and then when we struggle we leave. We don’t sign up for a training class to at least learn some skills of what marriage truly is, maybe that’s why there is a 50% chance a marriage will make it and a 30% that are actually happy and fulfilled. We have false beliefs and illogical expectations of what relationships are supposed to be and feel like, all part of our own distorted ideas and conditioning.
After all that I was learning I felt empowered that we could fix our relationship if we learned some simple skills like how to communicate better. The more I tried to bring him to learn together and commit on working on the marriage the more he pushed away so I stopped trying to push it. I begged for us to see a marriage counselor but his own conditioning led him to believe that if we needed counseling this early in the marriage we were not meant for each other, this is actually the advice he got from other married men. Every book I read urged me to continue to work on myself even if the other person was unwilling and mentioned healing your inner child and becoming whole.
A few years back my ex-husband and I went to a couple therapy sessions to try and work on the marriage but I couldn’t understand why the therapist was focusing on my past and started asking me about my childhood and how I felt about certain things. I was confused why she was focused on me when he was clearly the problem here. You see, I was the kind of girl that never cried unless it was a sad movie or someone else cried. I only wanted to feel the good emotions so I didn’t go to the past because there were some things I didn’t want to relive or think about. I didn’t continue seeing the therapist as I didn’t understand her interrogation, didn’t want to pursue the relationship and I didn’t really have the money to continue the sessions.
I was oblivious about my own emotions and learned from a very young age that you must be strong and push through it. My emotions were locked up somewhere in a box and I threw the key away. I had a fear of staying in a depressed state or feeling pity for myself so I didn’t think of the past or any hurt feelings. I thought I needed to be a big girl and suck it up, be optimistic and hope for the best until I could not be strong anymore. I was like a little girl with scraped knees that fell over and over again and kept covering it up with a band-aid without ever fully healing the wound. I needed to dig inside to figure myself out and what I was doing that was getting me stuck in these relationships. So I went back to this therapist to help me navigate my past. I was reading a lot of self-help books that were helping understand where the problem came from but I didn’t know how to fix it or where to start. After all we wanted to start a family and I didn’t want to pass my conditioning and negative beliefs onto my kids so I submitted to this deeper healing.
We all have traumas from our childhood that we haven’t really worked through and they show up in our adult relationships when triggered. They play out as negative patterns and mind games, and believe me we all have them. Our emotions are our signals when something is not right. I highly recommend seeing a therapist to help you understand this and work through your trauma. It was very helpful for me as I got started in my healing journey.
My marriage never truly made progress as he continued to stay stuck in his head and he decided to go our separate ways. This broke my heart and I was depressed, angry and disappointed for sometime. Even with all the things I was doing for me to heal I had to go through a period of grief and letting go of what I thought and expected this relationship to be. I knew that although in the past I always tried to fix my partners it wasn’t for me to fix him. I tried i many ways to get him repairing the relationship, reading a book, going to counseling but the answer was always no. I learned that some people are unwilling to do this work and instead let their fears hold them back from being happy and experiencing true love. This is exactly what was happening to us and I could see it clearly but he couldn’t. It’s easier to point the finger at someone else rather than face yourself, I totally get it.
The months leading up were the worst for me. It was all just a big mess but I tried to slowly get out of the dark stage by taking control of my life and learning to love myself first. I had learned a thing or two of myself and how I was in my relationships to examine my pain and hurt. I knew that he needed to go but that he was in my life to teach me this lesson and for me to start my healing. Neither of us new what true love was and taking down the walls to be completely vulnerable and become one is the hardest thing in a relationship –even more when our fears can be so strong that it does not allow us to grow and see with love. There is also the mentality whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset and are open to growth and expand in your human life.
Moral of this story is —Love is a beautiful thing and a divine power in us that we always have. It’s beautiful when is given freely but we don’t need another to complete us because we are already complete. Relationships allow us to grow and heal from past wounds but when a relationship comes to an end is because it was meant to as we are always growing and evolving to new heights of our being. It’s teaching us something that we needed to learn. It doesn’t mean that it doesn’t hurt when some one betrays you or disappoints you but you learn from it and choose to move past it. You have the choice to let go of the past and the hurt that is standing in your way of seeing with love and living a life from your true self.