“My divorce has made me a vulnerable person,” is what we all have heard Bethenny Frankel say in the trailer for season seven of the Real Housewives of New York City. Bethenny, not too long ago seemed to have it all – a happy marriage, a new baby, thriving businesses, and personal happiness. Now she’s starting her life over as she proceeds with a divorce from her husband of a few years.
Breakups suck. There is no kind way to put it. They are a terrible thing to go through. Even the most amicable breakups leave you feeling like the wind has been taken out of your sails. They leave you feeling like were stabbed and are slowly bleeding out wherever you go. Like something went through you like a train. I should back up and say that I truly believe everything happens for a reason. Even the shitty things in life, like break ups. I also believe that people come into our lives for a purpose and to play a role. Sometimes we don’t know what that reason is or what the purpose is, but eventually we find out. The hard part is waiting.
The thing I hate most about breakups is how they make you feel. Two years ago, I went through a devastating breakup that left my life in ruins. It took almost a year for me to feel like myself again. And once that time came, it was great. I was consistently happy again. I had created a great life for myself and I loved living it. My career was taking off. I had built a strong circle of friends. I was doing things I never dreamed of doing in my free time (like sports). I actually liked sleeping alone. I could stay in on Friday night and be perfectly content. I was dating here and there. There wasn’t really anyone special though. It was hard for me to find someone who really got me and liked me for me. It didn’t bother me too much though. I already had a great life, so if someone wanted to come along and enhance it, then that would be cool.
Then one day, I met someone who would love me for me. It was as close to a perfect relationship that I could ask for. I had never been happier. My life had gotten even better. My career was at an all time high, my relationship was on fire, and my friendships were thriving. My friends and family would tell me that I was always beaming and that I looked truly happy, and I was. That person that was going to enhance my life had arrived. Then one day, earlier this year, the relationship ended. It left me paralyzed, unable to get out of bed in the morning, unable to look at something and not have a memory of my ex and I, unable to leave my apartment without breaking down in tears in my car wherever I went. The breakup was as amicable as it could be. We ended on good terms and want to keep our friendship. We got very close in the year that we dated. We consider each other best friends. Upon discussing it with each other, we realized that we probably wouldn’t have opened up and achieved such a close level of intimacy had we not dated first. But still, this recent breakup shattered my life, has left me feeling helpless, and has made me a vulnerable person.
The life I loved so much has been shattered into a million little pieces. So, here I am back in that spot I was in two years ago. The flashbacks come and go every time I close my eyes. However, it feels very different this time. While my friends have told me that I’m better equipped this time around and I agree with them, I don’t remember feeling so…despondent. That’s very unlike me. As I mentioned earlier, everything happens for a reason, if me and my ex were meant to be, we would be. I’ve accepted the decision that was made and am trying to move on with my life. I just don’t feel like myself. That’s the thing with breakups. You feel so many things and sometimes the most common thing is that you don’t feel like yourself.
I know I’ll be okay in the long run, I did it two years ago and I came back better than ever. In retrospect, the breakup from two years ago was one of the best things that ever happened to both of us. I didn’t think that at the time, but eventually I did. I wouldn’t change the outcome at all. We both grew so much as people as a result of that breakup and me and my ex managed to keep a solid friendship. Being besties with my exes, it’s kind of my thing.
So having been through it before, and knowing that I’ll be okay, it puts my mind at some ease. However, like I said, it’s very different this time. With the last breakup, I could see the writing on the wall. With this recent breakup, there was no clue, there was no preview, there was no indication that this relationship was not going to work out. I found someone who loved me for me, which was something I had been searching for. Having had such a positive experience with love and having it end so abruptly has been incredibly disheartening. It’s left me disenchanted. I feel let down by love. I feel discouraged to try again. Because of this recent breakup, I’m finding it hard to believe in love. And that’s what I hate. Because that’s not me. Ask anyone who knows me, I always believe in love. Well, at least I did before. Now, I find it hard to. And I know these feelings are fleeting, I know that it will pass, and one day, I’ll go back to being the happy, always smiling Derek who perks up when he sees a couple holding hands while walking, the Derek who feels joy when he sees a couple steal a kiss when they think nobody’s looking, the Derek who reminds the people in his life that love DOES exist and it is out there and they’re worthy of it and not to give up. I was always an optimist. People come to me for support and to help them see the silver lining. And I find that I’m unable to provide that ray of hope for myself. I miss me.
I know where I want to be emotionally. I know how I want to reflect on my recently ended relationship – as a good thing. He’s a wonderful guy and he really changed my life when I met him. And we’re determined to keep our friendship going because as he told me, “we make a great team.” I know that one day, I’ll hold onto the love and not the loss and thankful that the relationship happened in the first place because I got an amazing person to call my friend. In the meantime though, it’s hard to get over that hill. I’m taking it one day at a time. There’s good days and bad days. On the good days, I can focus on work and laugh and spend time with people and have a great time. On the bad days, I feel like Katy Perry in her documentary, Part of Me. You know, the scene where she can’t can’t bring herself to get up and go perform. She’s trying to stop crying because she has a show to do, but she can’t pull herself together. I definitely feel better now than I did when it first happened. So there’s that. My friends have offered support and have been great at reminding me that I have plenty of reasons to smile. My sister is there by my side and tells me that this is going to make great material for my book and my inner strength will get me through this. Both exes have been lifeboats to me when I’ve felt like I was drowning lately (#BestieExes). One tells me he knows I can handle this, he reminds me I’m a strong person, and he believes in me. He tells me he knows what I’m capable of and that he understands it’s tough for me to see the rainbow when I all I see is a storm. But he knows me and he knows that I’m going to be okay. That gives me hope. Because right now as I’m struggling to find myself, there are people who know me and know what I’m capable of. While I’m missing being Derek, they remind me what Derek is like and they remind me that he’s still inside me. They believe in me that I’ll believe again…and I believe them.