During that last phone call, I vigorously took notes on my phone. I knew I was going to be too emotional to recall what he said on my own and I knew people would want answers. I wanted answers! But I didn’t get any good ones. Instead, I got vague statements like, he had “too many concerns” and he was on some sort of “train” that he needed to get off? There was nothing tangible to hold onto other than the near unbearable feeling that this person I loved with all my heart no longer loved me. And not only did he no longer love me, but he also cared so little for my well-being that he left me in what I consider to be one of the cruelest ways imaginable—without warning or empathy, in the middle of a pandemic. Leaving my close friends and family trying to comfort me from six feet away.
It was a lot to process. But at the same time, it also wasn’t enough. There were so many holes to our story that my anxious mind was desperate to fill. When did he stop loving me? Did he ever love me at all? Was he leaving me over my Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, which I've had since age four? Was he leaving me because I made him watch Lucifer? Could I have done something that would have resulted in him not leaving me or were we doomed from the start?
In the past, I would have demanded answers. I would have called him up night after night and tried to find some explanation that would make sense or ease my pain. I would have beaten myself up and interpreted his rejection of me as proof that I was worthless and unlovable. I would have desperately tried to change his mind. But at some point, in the days and weeks that followed, I realized it was a mistake to fixate on him, when what I needed to do was prioritize myself. He was no longer a part of my life. I needed to spend my time showing up for myself instead of chasing after someone who never wanted to see me again.
While I not-so-secretly hoped for months that my fiancé would return and declare that he had made a huge mistake, I lived my life as though he was gone for good. It was a crash course in acceptance. I not only had to accept that he had left, but I also had to accept that while one version of my life was over, there were still many more versions left to explore. I owed it to myself to keep living. And to properly do that, I had to give myself the closure I would never get from him.
I don’t know why he left but trying to solve that mystery was a waste of energy. Even if I somehow cracked it, it wouldn’t change the result that we were no longer together. And while his behavior at the end of our relationship was antithetical to his behavior in our relationship, I had to believe what he was telling me. He was not my person. And I deserved a whole lot better.
And while his behavior at the end of our relationship was antithetical to his behavior in our relationship, I had to believe what he was telling me. He was not my person. And I deserved a whole lot better.
Part of what made this ordeal so painful and scary was the feeling of being powerless over my own life. In a single evening, another person had blown up my world and left me with the rubble. I couldn’t stop the explosion. But I did have control over the rebuild. I got to decide what I took away from this experience. I could choose to blame myself and give up on love. Or I could see what happened as a sort of freak accident that didn’t deserve to change the core of who I am or what I want.
While our last few months together weren’t ideal, I know in my heart that if he had come to me and asked to work on things, I would have. I would not have given up on him like he gave up on me. Despite our growing disconnection during the pandemic, I remained a good partner to him until the day he left. And I will remain a good partner in my future relationships. His actions do not define me. But my response does. And I am proud to say I responded with self-compassion. I stepped up to the plate and provided myself with what I needed to move on. And I let love in again. Because even though something might have been missing for him, I am more than enough for me.
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