I’m a big believer in that everything happens for a reason. The amazing thing about being on the other side of 25 is you finally have some perspective on all the things you struggled with in the first half if your twenties. Things you thought were random road blocks and poor life choices somehow start to make sense and you realize that things have only been at their worst when you weren’t following your heart and/or were reacting out of fear instead of determination or courage.
Of course it also took me a while to learn what determination and courage meant for me. It also took time to figure out what things in my life work for me and what don’t. No where in my life has that been more obvious than in my relationships so far. IF you asked me how many truly informative relationships I’ve had post college I would say 3. I spent 2.5 years with a guy, whom I loved, and with whom I lived with for 1.5 years and it taught me a lot about what it takes to be in relationships. The give and the take of being with someone and living with someone and committing to building something. Then I moved to Denver. After almost three years I realized that I needed more, and had the privilege of finding out what it means to break someone’s heart. What it means to be in a fairly good relationship and turn around and say, “I’m sorry, this just isn’t for me, I think I need to move on before I sink into the comfort of a relationship that no longer fits me.”
After that I spent 8 months in an on again off again dating situation with someone who was openly not emotionally available. I learned what it meant to be the best version of yourself and still not be the answer for someone who wasn’t in the space to provide anything in return. It took me a while to digest that it wasn’t always about me in a relationship, sometimes it’s about the other person and that timing is a huge factor in finding someone to truly be with.
Most recently I spent a short time – 4 months being with a guy who was just completely bad for me. I loosely tried to hold onto something that if I had been honest with myself was nothing but a toxic pit that made me keenly aware of how much more I deserved. Most importantly I really really grasped the notion that good relationships should never leave you feeling helpless, hopeless, or like you can’t be your authentic self without creating a world of drama. I wrapped myself into a relationship that went too fast and was not at all the right fit for me, and convinced myself that somehow, it was.
With each of those relationships it ended differently but the result was the same. I came to the conclusion, through one way or another, that I needed to walk away. One day I just woke up and all of a sudden the choices were clearer, the realizations strong, and my ideas of what I want in a relationship and in a dating situation had evolved, naturally. And it feels good! For the first time in a long time I see exactly what I’m looking for and at the same time am in no rush to go digging for it. I know that I have time to have fun, slowly date someone until I really get to know them so that I understand who and what I’m walking into, and if there are any red flags poking out.
You always think it’s too hard to walk away, from good relationships, from bad relationships – and yet your gut tells you what’s the right move even if you don’t want to listen. Of course your friends will always be able to give you the advice you know is true in your heart and you’ll drag your feet and come up with counterpoints to their opinions and at the end of the day YOU have to know when it’s time to walk. You have to decide when your fear and doubt will be overpowered by your courage and determination.
… and then one day you will walk away, happy.