We met, fell in love, planned our future together, and had the rest of our lives mapped out. Somewhere, though, we lost ourselves and lost the love we had for each other. As those on the outside believed we had a love that held everything together, we continued to live with pain and resentment, not wanting to face the reality of a broken bond. We had to ask ourselves, “Now What??”
How many of us can remember a time in our lives when we stayed with a partner even though in our hearts we knew we shouldn’t be together?
I can personally say that before I became pregnant with my child, all of my relationships were not a good fit for me. But, because I didn’t realize my self-worth, I stayed.
Now you may disagree with me, but think about it: If I respected and valued myself, would I have allowed my partner to talk down to me? Would I have let him walk in and out of my life at his convenience? Why would I continue to lay in the same bed with him knowing he had no intentions of marrying me?
We’ve all heard hindsight is 20/20. For me, it’s more like 20/22. Looking back on my past relationships, I realize there are many things I should have done differently. Not only this, but I now understand that I should have focused more on myself rather than focus on saving failed situation-ships. My partners may not have cared to hear me say, “I’m worth marrying,” or “I’m worth building a home with.” They may not have been willing to listen had I told them, “I’m not willing to cook your meals, clean your house, feed your ego, and pour my soul and energy into you if all you’re doing is filling me with lies, deceit, and confusion.” Maybe they would have cared to show up for me had I cared enough to show up for myself.
I do believe in two lovers joining together to grow and build. But, knowing what I know now, I will no longer allow myself to be drained while only receiving the bare minimum from my partner.
When my ex-fiancé proposed, I figured he did so because he was ready to be married, but that was not the case. In my mind, I had already envisioned us exchanging vows and walking down the aisle; but with my eyes opened, I only saw him dragging his feet as he neglected to take the necessary steps for making me his wife. My engagement fell apart because I told him that I would not be wearing an engagement ring for years with no clear and concise decision on a date. That proved to be too much for my ex-fiancé, and we broke up a few months after being engaged. I still can’t understand why someone would ever make that type of commitment with no intentions to follow through.
I know someone who has been with their partner for a little over a decade. They birthed a beautiful child together and from the outside looking in, she seemed happy. So, it caught me off guard when she confided in me that she wanted to leave. She had not been happy for a long time, and it was time for her to go. She told me that she spent ten years looking for one thing from her partner and never received it until now. Confused, I expressed that I couldn't understand why she still wanted to leave since he was finally willing to give her what she had been seeking. "Doesn’t that change your mind to want to stay?" I asked her. She replied, "NOPE," and it was then that I got a glimpse of what her relationship was really like through her eyes. She told me that it was too late and she had to move on.
Male and female alike, I think this describes so many of us who seem to be “stuck” in our relationships. We find ourselves falling madly in love with someone only to wake up one day feeling nothing except resentment towards them. So we ask ourselves, “Now What? Do I stay out of convenience and keep up appearances? Or do I buckle down, dig deep inside, and choose to put me and my happiness first?”
It’s so easy to be the outsider who gives relationship advice to friends. But, when it is YOU who is knee-deep in feelings and thoughts with memories of the good and bad times, you begin to feel like you’re drowning. You feel physically sick and unsettled, leading you to believe that you’re losing control. I’ve been there, and those are feelings I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
How do you tell your friends and family that the person you’ve been with for years, the person whom they’ve known and grown to love, is no longer the person you’re going to be with anymore? How do you tell everyone you’re going to start over again? What about all the intrusive questions and baseless assumptions about the reason for the split? Now What?!
I’ll tell you what! You will cry, doubt yourself at times, get scared, and feel lonely, but you will move on. You will get your courage and strength. You will find your happy place again. You will smile, and you will love again. Most importantly, you will love yourself even more so afterward.
So many of us stay in toxic situations because of fear: fear of starting over, fear of judgments, fear of facing the world after what seems to be another failure at love. I dare ask, “So what?” Most people who appear to be happy and have it all together are sometimes the ones that are suffering in silence. Don’t let that be you. I wouldn’t want it for myself, let alone anyone else.
Your "now what" moment should lead you to choose yourself, your happiness, your sanity, and your peace. Go back to the drawing board and fall in love with yourself again. Take the time to grow, mature, and heal yourself.
So many times, we run from one relationship to the next without taking the time to turn within and properly bandage our wounds. Instead, we move on to someone else only to add more hurt and pain on top of the open sores from past relationships. Let’s take back our power and find joy in our single-ness. It’s in that space where you can be selfish and put yourself first. It’s in that space where you can do the work to become unapologetically you.
There will be times when your “now what” is unclear, and that’s perfectly fine. I believe that things will happen when they are supposed to happen. Just promise yourself that you will follow your womanly intuition and get out of a relationship that is no longer serving you. Get out when you find that you’re no longer valued. Get out when you find that you’re merely an option and no longer a priority. Get out when mistreatment becomes the norm.
Take it from me: starting over is very scary, but your “now what” will be a testimony and a success story to help the next woman take that brave step.
Always remember what stirs us should never shake us~~~Jai