I often wondered what the purpose was of all my hurtful years of failed relationships, lonely nights and hours of sobbing by myself in my basement apartment in Toronto. Like a parent, who's child one day says "I appreciate you", there is a moment in everyone's life where they can say "it's all been worth it." I had that moment last night.
A girlfriend and I chatted for three hours on the phone last night and caught up over the many events of the past year. When I think of all that I've been through, I can't tell you enough how much more she's been through. In general, all women have something in common. We've all been hurt by love, sent reeling, and wonder how we will ever pick ourselves up again.
The journey is never easy. Oh sure, at first, like two honeymooners, everything is pure bliss.
Nothing else matters, you imagine your first name next to his last and you are all of a sudden a "we" and not an "I". Slowly, things start to change and if your guy will not commit, you start to feel the inner nag creep and loom overhead like a familiar and thunderous rain cloud. Then, like clockwork, the more he fails to commit, the more clingy you become and dude just now wants to hang with "da boyz."
It's like a law of physics, the more you cling, the more he repels. The more he repels, the more you lose your calm and the next thing you know, he's calling you "psycho." Then, like clockwork, the phone calls and texts stop and you sense he's seeing someone else. He plays games and tells you he still loves you, yet your "gut" known as intuition, is screaming something different.
I will never forget the day my intuition practically slapped me in the face. My ex-boyfriend and I dated for a couple of years. We had a lot of fun but I knew it was going nowhere. He put everything before me, including friends, family, church, soccer, school, work, cat, bars and I was down there somewhere on his priority list. I used to tell him when you give 10% of your time to every aspect of your life, you can't give 100% to any particular thing. Who wants to be a 10% girl?
I asked him if he wanted to accompany me to the tropics for a week long getaway and he told he didn't really have a lot of money. I ended up in the Dominican Republic with my cousin where he text messaged me all week long saying he loved me and didn't want me to meet anyone else. Hopeful and delusional, we arrived to the Pearson airport and I frantically glanced around for any sort of indication that he was waiting for me. In fact, he was out partying with some girls at a downtown nightclub and was too tired to pick me up.
Two weeks later, I got an email from his female friend who had become a mutual friend of mine as well, letting me know how beautiful his new house was? I almost fell off my chair at work. We were talking marriage, and now he had bought a house with his brother behind my back? While I flipped a lid, he celebrated his new home and told me to get over it.
Enter inner psycho. All of my phone calls and crying and freaking out were met with coolness from the other side. I was up at a cottage with some friends when an older friend of mine asked me, "Wendy, what do you want?" Such a simple question and yet, I could not answer it. I had spent so much of my life pouring it into relationships that I had taken no time to actually know and understand myself. How sad.
I spent the next year both struggling and surviving. I said "yes" to every event, even if I didn't feel like attending, or left part way through because I couldn't handle the sadness of being the only single one in the room. I cried myself to sleep many nights and thought how pathetic my life was turning out at 30 something years old. It was great to live in Toronto in my 20's and yet now, I looked at all my friends who had huge homes in Burlington Lakeshore, renters in their basement and families of their own and wondered where my life was going.
Turns out, years later, they actually envied me for being able to live on my own and make it through unbelievable struggles that make a break up, look like a silly problem in comparison.
I turned to God and asked for help. I started to get involved in my community. I took a second job at a Yonge street optometry shop to free up some extra time and give me some extra spending money. I signed up to be a big sister. I listened to people when they talked. I read books and went for long runs. I spent time with friends and my family. I took the focus off my wallowing self and just got back on the living train again. Slowly but surely, I was changing. I became strong, empowered and figured out how to do everything myself, from fixing my toilet to killing a rat and spending many nights scared and alone in my Toronto apartment.
Behind me, I had put the good and bad dates, the cheaters, the liars and the losers (and believe me, do I have stories to tell) and was moving on by myself. I ran into my ex almost a year later and I realized something. I did love him and he probably loved me, but sometimes, as I told him, sometimes love is just not enough to make something work.
When I met Michael, I was ready for a real relationship. I was guarded, cautious and took things slowly for at least a year. I never thought I could trust someone again and against my intuition, told myself this wouldn't last.
My girlfriend and I went through the entire cycle of dating last night. She told me that I helped her see things more clearly, and that comment in itself made me reflect on all that I have been through and what the purpose of it all was.
She is on the right path and this is all part of the journey. You must endure this cycle to appreciate the gems. Everyone is looking for a companion to love but the relationship will only succeed if you can first love yourself. I can only imagine how difficult it is to experience a divorce. They say that divorce, even over death is the #1 stressful event in a person's life.
I can't imagine.
In the meantime, grab a good book, get outside and say yes to everything, even when you don't feel like it. Every day alone is a new adventure and possibility. You never know who you might collide paths with and that moment could very well, change your life forever.
(Michael & myself on our 3rd date. Never apart since)