Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

The Story I Never Wanted to Write: An Ending Arrives with a Storm

understanding the end of a relationshipIt’s a devastating blow when a relationship ends. 9 years or 9 months, the failure and shame feel the same. But the loss is just as unfathomable.

There Is a Time and a Place to Say Goodbye

Let’s say you’ve been in a relationship for a few years, but the misses and misunderstandings keep happening. What if you’ve asked for behavior modifications and nothing has changed over the time you’ve been together? You’ve done some couples counseling, and it’s still status quo. At what point does our individual pain inform us about the obvious fracture in our romantic relationship? Is there one thing that happens to put it all in perspective? Or do the crushing breakdowns simply keep happening, with no regard for the chaos and pain that is being caused for everyone?

Can You Be In and Lose a Great Relationship at the Same Time?

Tonight, I think the answer is yes. As deep as I go, as far as I stretch, there is still some fundamental lack of understanding. Some empathetic pathway that goes to anger rather than compassion. A kneejerk reaction that is both terrifying and debilitating at the same moment. And the moments of disconnect keep coming. And then there are amazing moments in between. And deeper moments on my end. And I believe we’re hitting a new level of mutual understanding and nurture, and boom, in a one-minute transaction the entire castle of trust comes crashing down. I’m the one in pain. My partner is confused, frustrated, and expresses a tad of remorse.

But it’s not about the miss. It’s about the misunderstanding at why I have to be the problem, why I have to be the one in pain all the time. There’s no crisis here. If we could just roll over it. Roll through the next two weeks. Relax. Don’t panic. Breathe. And try again.

At some point, I will become like the frog in the frying pan. As the heat is raised I am warm, warmer, and suddenly I’m cooked. That’s the way my emotional system works. I am uber-flexible. I am demanding. I am forgiving. And I recover well. However, if my partner continues to smash the trust between us, there is no amount of love, affection, and “I’m sorry I upset you” statements, that are going to make it better. Here’s the news flash: It’s not going to get better. If your partner wanted to change, understood the pain they are causing you, there would be movement. There are flashes of connection and like an addict, there is a slip.

As I have been responding to this unstable universe of love I have also been compensating for my pain with food, exercise, and creative work. I’m a bit overweight again. I’m in a creatively driven cycle. I’m not sleeping well. And something about these combined factors can cause me to respond physically in unhealthy ways.

  • I can shut down to try and not feel the disconnections
  • I can overeat (my drug of choice is ice cream) to numb out
  • I can pretend to be happy, I can over-inflate the “greatness” of my relationship
  • I can begin denying my own needs and desires
  • I can feel depressed and begin pointing my rocketship towards isolation rather than connection
  • I can give my partner graceful acceptance (“this is a hard place we’re in”)
  • I can act out in some spasm of anger or mania and go in search of a new high

The Real Answer is This Sucks

As I try to be flexible, adaptable, laid-back, accepting of my partner’s perspective, I begin to turn into back into a frog. I am not a prince, but I am also not just another relationship. I am working my ass off, I am honoring commitments, I am speaking up when it hurts, and I don’t think I’m being matched by my partner.

I don’t want to be alone again. I don’t want to give up the ground we’ve covered together. But as I try and convince myself that “given time” things will get better, I know I’m lying to myself. My inner-child is the one being hurt the most. My sad little boy inside is crying out, and the adults in the room aren’t responding. I am not being cared for by myself. I am losing the self-care struggle as I try and make sense of a situation that will never make sense.

There is no amount of apologies that can repair repeated damage. What happens is my inner-child begins to distrust my partner and as the pain continues begins to distrust my adult-self. The painful events keep happening. They keep happening. Will they stop happening? Or does the adult in me have to step back into the arena and call it a TKO when I am knocked the fk out?

Respectfully,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

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