It may be one of the worst feelings in the world for a lover that has come to the place where they no longer want to try at making a dysfunctional relationship work. How can you come to the decision to let go of another human being? How do you decide to give up on what you believed was love? Does leaving mean you are a quitter? Do you walk away as the victor or the loser? Does the other person become the victim or the villain? All these questions and more plagued my mind on a Sunday evening many years ago.
After a tumultuous 6 months of cheating, lying, breaking up and making up Spencer and I found ourselves in a slightly better place. He graduated from our university and I made the decision to move to a university in another state for my remaining 18 months of study. This decision was made after much debate within myself and with him. He argued that our relationship had been on the rocks and we needed to stay together to strengthen it. I was betting my future on this relationship working and being strong, 4 years in and already 1 failed marriage attempt convinced me that I needed to do something different. If we were meant to last forever distance would not break us. I truly believed we were meant to be and I made this decision with the intent to strengthen us and with the small chance that if the heavens had another plan this would be the time to show it. This was one of the first times in our relationship that I chose my stance and I stood firm. I did not need to explain and I did not need him to agree.
While I was away we spoke more than we ever did before. The distance was definitely beneficial for the communication aspect of our relationship. As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.” In some ways this was true. I flew back home the first chance I got – Friday before spring break week.
I spent the week with family and friends and almost all of my activities included Spencer. It was euphoric; we had missed each other so much that we cherished every moment together. Despite the lovely time I couldn’t shake a small voice from deep in my heart that said, “You’re not the only one.”
On Wednesday night Spencer and I were lying across the end of my bed laughing and watching YouTube videos. He was so excited about his new job that he decided to show me his calendar on his phone. He had so many client meetings and I felt so proud of him as he scrolled through the days on his iPhone. Monday fully booked, Tuesday and Wednesday Booked, Thursday “Julez B-day Party”, Friday… wait. Whose birthday?
“Hey wait, go back real quick…” I said.
He swiped over Thursday and stopped on Wednesday.
“No, go back to Thursday.” I said with a more serious tone now.
“What?” He said, as if he didn’t see anything out of the ordinary on his calendar.
“Who is Julez?” I couldn’t believe I was even wasting my time asking. I knew fully well who Julez was, Julie. The girl he cheated on me with last year!
“Julez is a guy that works with me. His name is Julius, we call him Julez as a joke.” He said with all sincerity.
“You expect me to believe that?” I said as I sat up and stared at him in absolute disbelief.
I felt flushed with anxiety and fear. Not again, this couldn’t really be happening again. He wouldn’t. Would he?
He stuck to his story and looked at me like I was crazy for even jumping to such a conclusion.
“Is this how it’s always going to be? Are you ever going to trust me baby? Why would I show you my phone if I had something to hide? Don’t you have any faith in me baby? I told you not to go so far away, if you were here you would know you could trust me but now you have all these doubts and I get punished because you decided to leave!” All of his points seemed valid at the time but they didn’t comfort the doubt that was now screaming in my heart.
I asked him to leave because I needed to be alone. It took another 2 hours before he finally did leave and by then my mind was full of confusion.
We continued the week as planned, we went out with friends, we played the happy couple but we were really just coasting through the motions. We were lingering in a strange middle ground between exhaustion and desperation. Neither of us wanted to let go but we no longer knew how to fight for us. He seemed happy as long as I was by his side but I cringed inside every time he said the word “baby”.
We performed the best charade of our lives at my leaving dinner on Saturday night. I reluctantly allowed him to hold my hand and I smiled and laughed with our family and friends. I couldn’t tell you anything about that dinner because my mind was absent. I was a body but my heart and soul were detached. I hated myself for the thoughts I was having. I knew I was about to give up all of this; all I had to do now was tell him. I believed with all my heart that we were stronger than this but I was wrong. I couldn’t take it any longer.
The drive home seemed very long, we didn’t speak, I didn’t feel like entertaining small talk, the radio just played distantly as I stared out of the window. When we got to my house we sat on the couch.
This was it, the breaking point. I hated this but I had to do it.
“I can’t do this anymore Spencer.” Those are the words I started with. The conversation dragged on for what seemed like forever. I couldn’t take his tears as he said things like, “Don’t give up on us. Don’t give up on me. You said we could survive this! You’re just throwing all that we had away! Did you even really want to try? Please don’t leave me. I can’t live without you. I love you. I need you. I want you to be my wife. There is no one else for me…” I’m sure if you have ever been through a break up you have said these words or heard them before. These are all common words of desperation drawn from fear of losing something you placed all your hope and dreams in. I’m sad to say these are not the words of an everlasting love.
The Dust Moment
As I said, I couldn’t take his tears. I wavered and I stayed with him because I didn’t know how to end it. I flew back to my university contemplating the events of the last week, the last year, the last 4 years of my life with Spencer. The emotional ties, the spiritual ties, the physical ties that we had created were so great that I felt like if I cut them I wouldn’t survive on my own. I couldn’t compare this feeling to anything else. I was going to lose either way. How could I have let something control my existence like this?! I was feeling guilty like somehow this was all my fault but something in me whispered I was going to be ok. I didn’t believe it, I didn’t even recognize the voice but never the less it was there. I called Spencer and asked for the truth. He told me it was Julie’s birthday but he didn’t go and it was only in his calendar because it was a joint celebration for her and a friend of ours. He could have been telling the truth, in fact, this probably was the truth finally! The problem was it was too late. I ended our relationship with that phone call. I threw my phone across the room and watched it break into 3 pieces.
The Gold Exchange
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
– Isaiah 41:10
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. -Proverbs 3:5-6
During this time in my life I had a bible that my parents gave me but they were not around to make me go to church. I didn’t miraculously find God in my pain, I suffered through it alone for almost 2 years. My friends and family were 4 states away and I was still new to my university. I didn’t try to heal my heart I just numbed the pain by doing other things like keeping busy, partying and best of all drinking heavily. I spoke to close friends on the phone when I needed an ear or advice. I don’t recommend trying to face a tough time like this alone.
- Confide in someone that you trust and that has known you for a long time. Be honest with that person, letting them know what you are thinking and feeling each day.
- Cut off communication with your Ex. Nothing healthy or healing can come from the emotional tug of war that you engage in. Chances are you have some heart wounds to fix and so does the other person. You can’t help fix each other, if you could you wouldn’t be an Ex.
- Sleep for as many hours as you need to. This decreases the level of stress hormones in your body, and if you can incorporate exercise a few days a week you will increase your endorphin levels and help yourself to feel happy again.
- Laugh. I know this one seems impossible but again, endorphins are released when you laugh reducing stress levels. Watch funny movies, spend time with people that care about you, or go to a comedy club.
- This one comes first for me now; give your broken heart to God. Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30. This scripture never meant much to me until I longed to find a safe place for my heart. The torment of a break up no matter how long you believed this person was for you can leave you feeling broken and heavy laden. Jesus promises to take the load that you were never meant to carry, He says He is gentle and humble and most importantly He invites you to come to Him. From my own experience I can stand as a witness that this is true. Your world is not over, you are worth much more than you’re feeling right now, and there is someone out there that will treat you the way you deserve.
Stand firm in what you know.
“You are all together beautiful, there is no flaw in you beloved.” – Song of Solomon 4:7
~ Miss Taken