This summer has been a very tumultuous one, brought about many changes and forced me to re-evaluate almost everything I had thought of as “granted” up until now.
On the one hand, Greece – my country – was going, and still is, through the toughest of times and all us the greek people, experienced for the first time utterly stressful situations; on the other hand, in the middle of the Referendum crisis, I myself, was going through a break up…
I broke up almost after more than five years of being in a serious relationship and three of living together and right before that, I had another relationship of two years. So, all in all, I became single again almost after a decade of having learned how to act, think, compromise and behave as a couple.
Even though the break up was a mutual and very conscious decision and we both still love, respect and remain in each other’s lives, it hasn’t been easy and I’m still processing the aftermath of this choice. My ex-partner, who is truly an amazing man and incredibly important to me, is also a fiercely private person; so, I’m only going to stick to my own point of view.
“The challenges of starting fresh are that there are always two sides of this coin. On the one side, you feel like you have hit the restart button and everything is possible, and on the other side, there is the utter fear of the unknown.”
When you decide to part ways – conscious as it may be – you are left with an emotional emptiness that you desperately want to fill up. My first urge was that I wanted to hop from one relationship to another, save myself from the pain and cover it up with a new relationship patch.
I was eager to rebuild and stabilize my life, go back to an old and comforting routine as fast as possible. Only to realize that my separation had been a game changer and that there was no old or comforting routine to go back to. Against all my inner insecure voices that had been cautioning me NOT to step out of my comfort zone for a while, I was now walking on unknown paths, surprising even myself.
It is very easy to hide behind a relationship, however idyllic or not it may be. The act of having someone with you physically, or even the simple thought of not having to walk back to an empty house, provides a great sense of security, especially on an emotional level. It also renders you emotionally lazy and idle. You forget that once you were able to stand on your own.
“When you take away the relationship chatter, the social status of it, the daily routine, your partner’s needs and compromises – the partnership itself – you are left with a deafening silence…. And it is there where, on your own, you have to rediscover who you really are now, and who you want to be.”
I had to reconnect with the girl that once knew how to navigate on her own – and that now had changed, evolved and grown up. The last time I was single was in my early 20’s… now, in the beginning of my 30s, who was I exactly? What I thought I liked and wanted, was it still working for me? I was left with a tremendous appetite to experiment, test my limits, re-evaluate my choices and my tastes. I questioned again and again, who I really was, with no partner to hide behind. Which were my boundaries and my new set of rules? To my surprise, I had become even more straight-forward and was very quick to defend, protect myself and stand by my decisions, as ultimately I figured out that I was now my own safety net and protector.
I also learned that the paranoid fear of being alone was an invalid one. Every time I was having a minor melt down, starting with the Drama Queen reoccurring question
“Am I going to be alone?”
and picturing the modern movie version of Ms Havisham with a Martini in hand (the old lady from Great Expectations), I realized that I hadn’t been left alone by anyone. I have – and I’m so grateful for that – a great support system of family and friends.
This has been, and still is, a time of lots of Ups and also some inevitable Downs! So Yes, it hasn’t been a walk in the park… I’ve hit some blind spots and moments of doubt, but I’ m also curious about this new phase, its prospects and possibilities. For someone like me, who has been an incredible control freak, demanding guarantees in all aspects of her life, NOT having a plan, NOT knowing the next step and being forced to finally go with the flow has been both very interesting and very challenging.
So to sum it up, what I have realized about the aftermath of a break-up is that this a transitional phase that we most definitely need to go through. We are sure to explore uncharted territories, which might be both terribly exciting and terribly scary at times, depending on the day and our mood.
“Trusting ourselves and keep moving forward at all costs is the most plausible way to do so.”
And THAT is the honest truth.