It has been almost two years since my last serious relationship and I have learned a whole hell of a lot about myself during that time. I had somewhat made the conscious decision to abstain from a serious relationship after my last boyfriend. Yes, I downloaded tinder and had met a few people during the first year post breakup, but it was never anything serious. I didn’t let myself want to get attached to anyone during the crucial time I needed to find and fix myself. I needed a relationship detox.
When you first come out a serious relationship it is hard to recognize the person you’ve become. You are no longer a “we” or an “us.” You are your own person, just probably a whole hell of a lot different than the person you were going into the relationship.
A toxic relationship is like heroin — you are constantly chasing that first euphoric high, yet you can never reach it. Heroin is well-known as one of the worst drugs on Earth, but millions of people are addicted. Now, I’m not saying my past relationship was this toxic or dramatic, I’m saying that it is very easy for a bad relationship to turn into your addictive drug of choice.
The worst part about this addiction is you might actually know it is bad for you, but you can’t seem to get out. My heart was addicted to him. I wanted to do everything possible to make our relationship work, but by doing that I made myself crazy. I morphed into a different person. This person who was never happy, even when we were together, all we did was fight. I would pick a fight and yet I was crying and begging him to stay with me promising we would get better, aka chasing the high. When I finally got the courage to end things, it was one of the most emotionally draining days of my life.
Flash forward almost two years and this is what I have learned:
- It takes time. You can’t just get over someone overnight. You need your detox period. Everyone handles break ups very different. I cried myself to sleep the first few nights and felt extremely lonely. But slowly it started to fade. Time really does heal. That and lots of drunken nights with my girlfriends. I know now that I probably need a little bit longer to get over someone than most. I don’t bounce back very easy.
- Learn to love yourself. I needed to love myself again. I was so focused on loving someone else I forgot how to love the most important person in my life, me. The best feeling in the world is when you are so comfortable with being who you are that nothing can bring you down. I learned that not giving a damn about what someone thinks of me makes me incredibly happy. At this point in my life if you don’t like who I am or how I act, then get the hell out. Why stress out about impressing someone to keep them in your life. If they really want to be in your life then they will like you for who you are.
- Figure out what you want. I figured out that the next relationship I would be in would be serious. None of this not sure where this is going or trying to figure what our relationship means bullshit. I wanted the real deal right off the bat. I’m not going to waste my time on someone not wanting to commit to me. I’ve met plenty of great guys, just not great guys for me. They weren’t ready to commit and I wasn’t willing to wait around to see if maybe they’ll only want to be with me.
- Ready to move on. I’m ready to move on. It’s only taken two years and moving to a new city for graduate school But I’m finally in a place in my life where I know and love myself. I feel that I am ready to adventure into a new relationship again. It is an exciting and terrifying time in my life.
- Don’t be afraid. It’s not going to be easy, but don’t let that scare you. Have fun and don’t stress about finding love, just make sure you are open to it.
Fully detoxing from an unhealthy relationship is extremely difficult; especially when you are completely unaware you are in one. Just know it does get better. It takes time and everyone deals with it very differently. Learn to love yourself and don’t settle for less than you deserve.