Saturday, January 16, 2016

Ending A Long-term Relationship

Relationships are hard. Breaking up is hard. Leaving it behind can be hard, depending on your situation and what you've been through, both by yourself and as a couple.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you'll know I was in a long-term relationship for almost nine years. We were engaged for almost seven of those years, living together since the very early days, took in four beautiful cats together, both had steady jobs and rented a lovely house together which I loved making 'ours'. Despite everything, I wasn't happy, and honestly, I hadn't been for some time. A couple of months into our relationship, he was diagnosed with a serious illness, which meant numerous trips to the hospital over the years, not to mention frustration, crying, arguing, you name it. As his girlfriend, I did whatever I could for him to make life easier. The worst days were those when he was extremely sick and couldn't get out of bed. It was hard for us both, moreso for him than me - he was a 21-year-old dealing with such an awful illness, and I was pretty much his 18/19-year-old carer. After so many years, part of me felt like, because I had spent so long there, he pretty much expected it. I'm not sure if this was the case, but that's how I felt. The pressure of having to do so much, being slow at making friends and living hours away from my family was too much for me. However, I stayed and kept going, because that's what you do, right? It certainly meant our relationship was put to the test... on more than one occasion.

Most of the time, I felt under-appreciated, like I was being taken for granted. As a couple, we had some amazing times and some not so great. I'm sure every couple goes through this, but it got to a point where the bad times heavily outweighed the good and we argued over stupid things. As much as we agreed to put our differences aside, it didn't last for more than a few days at a time until the next argument started. On two or three occasions, I finished it. It didn't last though, as things were said, stuff was thrown around. and my in-laws were brought into it... I ended up staying. I wasn't being treated the way I should have been, but I was settling for what I thought was the best I deserved. I was really unhappy, but always hoped the next day would bring more happiness than the day before, hoped things would change for the better. But they never did. I started to accept that it was just how my life was supposed to be... It wasn't though. It took me a while, but I realised that I deserved to feel loved and cherished - not rejected and unwanted. In August 2015, some family came to visit. It put a lot into perspective for me, and I was really set on finishing my relationship. After my family had left, I took myself into the spare room, which would be where I slept until I left. My fiancé didn't say anything for the first week, so I took it that I wasn't missed in our bed that much.

Early September 2015 saw the end of the relationship when I finally found the courage to do it once and for all. The thought of never seeing my cats again absolutely tore me apart, but I knew it was for the best and that he would look after them - they were like our babies. I was overcome with so many emotions over the days following the breakup. Part of me was proud that I had finally ended it. Looking back now, we should have ended it ages ago. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Part of me wondered if I had done the right thing - I had been with him for so long and it was all I had known. How would I cope with being single again after so many years? That thought alone terrified me. An even bigger part of me made me realise that it was of course the right thing to do. Neither of us were making the other happy, and that wasn't how we wanted to live. I think we were just content, and the relationship was 'convenient', because as I said, it was all we had known for so long. He was quite clearly upset and surprised, but I was sticking to it. The following weeks saw us talking about it a bit, and he agreed that neither of us had been happy for a while.

I quit my job after ending the relationship. Both myself and my ex agreed I would stay in the spare room until the start of November, so I could work the notice period I had given in work. I arranged to move back home, until I got a new place and job sorted. I was adamant I was going back home. It was set in stone, and nothing would stop me. My family were all thrilled for me, as they only wished for me to be happy. After that, a relationship was the last thing I was looking for. My head was still a mess - a happy mess, knowing I was leaving. One of my brothers actually recommended Tinder to me, to keep me occupied and so I could see what was out there. It was fun to use, and I never in a million years thought something serious could come from it.

How wrong I was though...

Less than a month after ending my relationship, I matched with a wonderful guy (I'll call him C), and the rest, as they say, is history. Remember, I wasn't looking for a relationship, but this was just so... different, even from the very first message he sent me. The connection was just there with us, and we just 'got' each other.  He made me laugh 'til my face and stomach hurt, and still does to this day. It was such an incredible feeling, and I felt like I had known him for years. Before we even met, I thought it was only fair that I tell him I was leaving and why. He understood, but still insisted I have coffee with him. We met in the following days, and I'll never forget our first date... the coffee turned out to be pizza, but it was Domino's, so I'm not complaining! It was perfect from the word go - the conversation flowed, and the spark between us was something else. Still, my mind was made up and I made it clear to him that I was still leaving. From the first date, I knew I felt something for him, but tried to push it to the back of my mind - I mean, how could I feel for someone I had just met? I couldn't. I tried to convince myself that it was all in my head...

Little did I know, my whole life would change in the days after. We fell in love, hard and fast. C told me he loved me first, and I said it back straight away, because it was like nothing I had known before. This was it. And I wasn't prepared to leave that behind. I knew that if I did, I would spend months thinking 'what if...?' I took the risk, decided to stay and we took it from there. It all happened so fast, so we moved into a room together and now we live in a house with his (now 'our') two dogs, Sasha the Doberman and Blade the Staffordshire Bull Terrier.

In the short time we've been together, I've felt more love than I felt in the entirety of my previous relationship, and that says a lot. After a million and one hurdles (and gates!), we've been through more than the average couple would face in a long-term relationship! It's been a rollercoaster, but there's no-one I'd rather share it with than my soldier... my one. Nothing else matters.

Happier than I've ever been!

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