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The Break Up: Why It Took Me 6 Months To Let Go

I'm a loving person. I go out of my way to make people happy. It's what I love to do. So how could I possibly create any more capacity for love?

14/02/2017 04:52 SAST | Updated 14/02/2017 10:27 SAST
JGI / Jamie Grill

"I'm going to call you at 7pm and I need you to tell me if you're in this or not."

With those words I began the end of one of the greatest relationships of my life. I did call him back at 7pm and he told me that he was out. I instantly regretted giving him the ultimatum. I was in shock. That wasn't the answer I was expecting. I wanted him to say, "we've had a rough few months but I love you and I'm in this relationship with you." But he didn't say that.

As I write this I look back and realise that I was yearning for something more. We had talked about moving in together – filled in all the paperwork and received the lease – but he decided it wasn't the right time. I was crushed and I wanted reassurance. It sounds so dramatic but I honestly ached for him to tell me he loved me, but the words never came.

Don't get me wrong, he is by no means a bad man. He is wonderful. Kind, funny, loyal and a great dad to his daughter. He just wasn't sure about me and my demands for more pushed him further and further away.

Almost 6 months after that phone call, I finally accepted that it is over. I'm no longer angry, hurt or filled with resentment. I'm ready to move on and I'm confident that we will remain friends. I feel free and ready to dive into the world again.

Sometimes the universe speaks in whispers

The words that really helped me move forward, came from life coach Iyanla Vanzant. I had joined an online course she presented that was intended to help participants clear out some of the pains of 2016 and set powerful intentions for the new year ahead. It was an opportunity to get clear about what I wanted.

Thoughts continued to gnaw at my brain day and night: Is it really over? Have I tried hard enough? What have I been doing wrong and how can I fix it? Have I been too demanding? Have I asked for too much? If I back off will he feel more comfortable and safe with me?

So I asked Iyanla what she thought and her response was clear and direct.

"If you're going to stay, then stop complaining. If you feel that there should be more, then your heart is telling you that there is more."

So I decided to stop complaining. I was not going to ask for so much, I was going to take things slow, I was going to make him feel safe and not pressured and I was going to stop feeling like there should be more. I loved this man for goodness sake. Holding on to this relationship was worth every ounce of my energy.

We began to drift back into each other's lives again. Less formally this time. I was gentle and cautious and he put effort into being kinder and more considerate. I took myself off to Madagascar for a month to prove that I could be independent and carefree. We spoke everyday and I was excited to return home to rekindle things.

"If you're going to stay, then stop complaining. If you feel that there should be more, then your heart is telling you that there is more."

We spent a blissful few days "the way it was". But I could still feel the distance between us and it drove me mad. I hated myself for wanting things. Why couldn't I just settle for what I was given? I was heading towards spending another six months of tears and anxiety and worry and I realised that I just couldn't carry on that way anymore.

The Knowing

Browsing through my Facebook page I spotted another quote from Iyanla that caught my attention: "It is unloving and unkind to expect someone to give you something they cannot give."

And I finally got it.

I was begging, forcing, pushing this wonderful man that I loved to do something he didn't want to do and I was making us both unhappy in the process. I could feel the anxiety in between my ribs shift and I knew that I was finally over the biggest hurdle. I understood that even if I convinced him to stay, I would always know that it wasn't really what he wanted to do. But I was still pissed off with him for not wanting it as much as I did.

How have you grown your capacity to love today?

I'm a loving person. I hate upsetting people and I go out of my way to make people happy. It's what I love to do. So how could I possibly create any more capacity for love?

And then I really finally got it.

This relationship, the past year and a half of my life, has been about growing my capacity for love. I had to learn that if I really love someone, I can't ask or expect them do give me things (love, sympathy, compassion) that they're not in a place to give ... even if I desperately want it.

I also had to learn that I couldn't hold that against them. If I really love someone and they can't give me what I'm asking for, I can't resent them for it or be angry about it either.

And finally, and probably the biggest one of them all, I've learned that I have to love myself enough to go after the things I am yearning for instead of living a life of trying to fit into what I'm given.

Even as I write this I must exhale as I feel awe at those discoveries.

He came around two days ago to drop off a bag, and without words I said farewell to our romantic relationship. There were no big conversations or momentous goodbyes. I cried a little because I was sad that there are things I can't share with him anymore, but I must also acknowledge that there are many things that we still do.

It's going take some time before I can see him as just a friend (and I don't even want to think about him seeing other people) but for today I'm grateful to be wiser, more whole and with a bigger heart.

(And in case you're wondering, I have his blessing to share this. Because that's the good kind of guy he is.)