Being a “blogger” (I cringe as I write that word) is an interesting thing, we write for ourselves, but kinda for our audience, but mostly for ourselves. But sometimes the posts which we are the most passionate about are the ones which have little to no impact, and the ones we crank out in 30 mins without much thought are the ones which gain traction…what can you do- you win some, you lose some. This is the case for one of our most successful blog posts to date. I’ll be honest when I wrote up – How To Remain Connected in A Long Term Relationship, I was actually struggling to remain in my own relationship. Maybe, in some odd way, I wrote it as an attempt to inject passion and connection back into my own relationship. I was really writing a list of things I was tapping back into and prioritizing as important for me when it came to love, connection and KEEPING that connection. Clearly, this resonated with others, or maybe people were simply looking for new ideas. Either way- I wasn’t alone. Fast forward a few years later- it should be noted that after 13.5 years, I made the decision to walk away. I have learnt a lot about myself, about the people I rely on and about the way in which I love and have come to realize the ways in which I need to be loved. It has been a journey since cranking out that post, but it’s been remarkably worth it. Read along to see what I’ve learnt and maybe you just never know- you’ve learnt the same things too!
Find Your Joy: When you feel good, it shows in every aspect of your life. I know from personal experience- I was going through a lot within myself and within my relationship and this tension manifested itself outwardly in so many ways. I was quick to anger, impatient, frustrated, vocal about it all- I probably wasn’t a very good listener. I will be the first to admit this and it literally showed. My aha moment came when for the first time in my entire life, I had what I now know to be an anxiety attack. It was yet another lonely evening in my house (alone, but not alone)- my daughter was in bed and my partner had disappeared into his hiding place of our bedroom- I had no one to talk to, living in the UK, the time difference was hard on me. While I was ready and had the time for conversation, pretty much everyone on the other side of the pond were either sleeping or in the middle of their working day. So, I felt the loneliness more acutely, especially when I felt so isolated, within my home and within my relationship. Expressing how I felt lead to nothing, if I was even offered a listening ear at all- most days I was fully ignored. Over time, sometimes the deepest cuts aren’t the ones that are done in one swift move, they’re the ones that are small, direct, but constant, chipping away at parts of you. I had to find my happiness, because let’s face it- no one was going to give it to me- they were all out living their lives. I began to look inward, what do I love to do? What is stopping me from pursuing that? Do I want to see that play or that movie? Attend that event? I said yes to it all and yes I went to events on my own and other times I went with friends, but at the end of the day- I simply did it! And I found myself a much, much better person for doing it! I found my joy mostly because I was no longer blaming others for the reasons I wasn’t happy- it’s not their job.
You & You Alone is Responsible For Your Happiness: This links the the above point and it may seem low key obvs, but it’s really hard. So many times we think we fill find love and bam just like that it’ll fix it all. Unconditional love is one thing, but if you don’t do your own healing and know and love you- unconditional love won’t help you. Of course it’s important and it will feel good. Relationships can fail even if you both love each other, love isn’t the only thing that keeps a couple bonded. The work to getting to know and love yourself isn’t easy and it’s not even sexy, but it’s necessary, because if you can’t accept you, if you can’t love you, if you can’t welcome you, then who the hell will? How can we expect that from others? Do the work, find your happy and it’ll all fall into place, because either way- if you’re single for a but longer then at the very least you’re still happy.
Be The Example: One of the main reasons I chose the single mother life, was because of my daughter, I will be the 1st to support and speak up for women’s rights and equalities, so what would I say to my child when it comes to her future relationships? Would I want her to remain in an unhappy union out of fear? For the sake of others? What message am I inadvertently sending to her? As my unhappiness and frustration grew, it most definitely seeped into my parenting as well. We are the examples to our children, of how we would like others to treat us. It’s vitally important for her to have positive relationships as a reference, and remaining in an unhappy relationship, wasn’t doing that for her. My aim has always been to be a healthy, stable example to her- to show her that life isn’t perfect by any means, but it also doesn’t mean you should settle either.
Do It Alone: I don’t mean if you have friends, ditch them and do things without them, but what I mean is, you need to have your own life and your passions. Sometimes we start out having them and then we get lost in the mele of life, parenthood, couplehood- that we forget who we are in the process. Take that hike, be in nature, meditate, paint, join that class- do the things you want to do! Do the things that make you happy, remember who you are- at the end of the day- that’s what is most important, And if you can get a friend to come along then awesome, but if not- don’t stop or wait till you have someone to do it with- do it alone. There is no harm in that. You have to be able to enjoy your own company at the end of the day, because you spend the most time with yourself. Get to know you.
You Will Love Again: This one was a tough one for me, for years when people would ask how I had met my ex, they were always enamoured by our story, and I suppose it is unique in its way, but living it doesn’t feel the same. So to decide to step away from someone who you’ve known since the age of 14- is not only scary, it’s super daunting. The idea of being with your high school sweetheart is one that is constantly romanticized that I suppose it was tough to push back against. I felt like no one would know me like he did, my body wasn’t the same as it was the last time I as single and how can anyone compete with 13.5 years of history. It’s like I lived a whole life before this. So, I felt like meh- why bother? It’ll be very difficult to find someone willing to love another man’s child, did I really want to be in a single/dating mom? Like is that even a look?! I had so many feelings about it and for a while I remained inward towards it. But, slowly and surely I could feel myself opening up- life it too short to put unnecessary stresses on ourselves, but I began to tell myself, why not you?! Why would I not be worthy of love? I stand here on the other side of it, firmly knowing that I will find someone and I will love again, mostly because I am an optimist but also because I believe it. Simple.
I Am Worthy: Essentially that, I am worthy of falling in love again, I am worthy of being loved, I am worthy of joy, laughter and commitment. It took a long time to get there, it took me suppressing my feelings, it took me somewhat breaking apart to realize I, in all my complexities, am worth it. I know, I can be a pain, I can be impatient and moody, but it’s not from a bad place it’s mostly because I like things to be a certain way; neat, tidy, organized (don’t worry, I’m working on it) but despite my flaws- it doesn’t make me unlovable. We all deserve to be loved for who we are and are fully worthy of it.
Through it all, what I’ve really learnt is that I have to trust my gut and my intuition, but in order to get there you need to weed past a lot of self-doubt and internalized fears, you may even need to break before you. get there. One thing 2020 has taught me is that there are a lot of things out of our control, being wound up and stressing over it all won’t give me a happy life. Learning to focus on the things I can control and letting go of the ones I cannot has been one of the main things that has kept me going. But also fully believing that life is good and that it’s up to me to live it to its fullest. What are some of the best things you have learnt about being single?