after the breakup

You know that scene from The Office when Jim & Pam are in the parking lot and he tells her that he loves her? And she crushes him like a pop can making sure he knows they’re just friends?

That’s literally what happened to me! Except I was the one in love, he cut me off completely, and never quite got around to proposing at a truck stop in the rain. Other than that, totally the same.

When I watch that scene, my heart understands Jim. It takes so much courage to love. I’m not sure you can be more vulnerable than giving your heart to someone.

I loved him the way Jim loved Pam…We spent hours talking about getting married, where we’d work, where we’d live, what holidays we’d spend with different sides of the family. All the fun stuff that felt so dreamy & exciting with him.

Fall feels particularly brutal this year. I think it’s because I was 110% sure I’d have a family soon. We’d planned concerts for October, had Thanksgiving sorted, all of it.

The dates for our plans keep coming, but he’s gone. Our plan to wear matching jogging suits in our 70s is gone. Vacations we dreamed about are gone. My best friend is gone.

You should know that I’d waited a long time for a relationship like this. Two years ago, I wrote about life with “my bearded husband and our one adorable kid.” This dude had a beard…& an amazing kid!!! LOL. But for real, he did. To have a life together promised and taken away was devastating.

As I began the grieving process, I wanted answers: how long will it take for me to feel better? How do I forgive him? What can I tell people while I’m in shambles? Only my closest friends knew about everything.

It’s weird dating as an adult. It was totally awkward in my early 20s too, but it’s different now. Time’s the unspoken third wheel. I constantly hear the clock ticking: less time for kids, more time for wrinkles… it’s just heavier, I guess.

Here’s some of what I’ve learned/am learning from this experience. As the Church, we have the opportunity to help and encourage each other, right? That’s the power of the Holy Spirit at work.

Here’s the “must follow” list I wrote for myself:

  • STOP talking to them. You won’t move on when you’re still communicating. They don’t care the way you do—talking doesn’t hurt them because they don’t care. You’re only hurting yourself. Shut the door.
  • You are not worthless. The first thought I had while he was breaking it off? “If I was pretty enough he wouldn’t be doing this.” I’d been training to run long-ish distance with him. When I moved to TX, I fell off the wagon. I beat myself up that if I’d just stuck to it he wouldn’t have left. It’s not true! You & I are loved beyond measure by God—that’s the identity we have to hold on to tightly.
  • Honor the pain. Shoving feelings down is harmful and it only delays the grieving process. Lay it out in front of God. Yell out! I was a basket case & God loved me right through it. Let yourself feel angry & confused & hurt. God sees all of it anyway. Share it with Him and ask Him to carry the burden for you.
  • It will be a while before you feel better. What I wanted to know most after the elusive “why” was when I’d feel better. It’s hard for me to share, but it took 12 weeks before I had a day when I didn’t cry. Heck, I still cry about it. Time doesn’t heal, it helps. God heals you in His time.
  • You’re not a victim. Move on with your life. I know that sounds so harsh, but here’s the truth: the person who left you didn’t want you in their life. So you dreaming about getting back together & stewing in memories holds you back from plans God has for you.
  • Forgiveness will come when it comes. I found every way in the world to justify this guy’s reasons to leave me. But the truth is, he wasn’t sharing what was really going on with him. I was in love & unknowingly in the dark. That just doesn’t work. I made plenty of mistakes—I pushed him when I should’ve been patient. I didn’t notice when he was struggling. We didn’t talk about it until it was too late. No relationship will ever be perfect, but you both have to want to make it work to stay together. God prompted me to forgive him way earlier than I expected. But I’m still working on forgiving myself. Forgiveness may take a long time for you…eventually, it will come.
  • You’ll be okay. It’s okay to miss the person you love. When you’re faced with the choice between negative thoughts or God’s truth, fight to choose Him. Fight to reframe thoughts of defeat into thoughts of hope. Fight to see your worth & what God’s next plan is for you.

I honestly don’t remember June or July. But right in the middle of my pain, when all I could do was lean into God, He answered my prayers. I mean exactly answered my prayers (besides getting back together with my fella). God gave me a remote writing job that I love! The flexibility allows me to be close to my family & continue to heal. He made it possible for me to have a home on my favorite street in town. I get to attend church and serve every week with my sister.

The prayer for my life changed after this relationship. I used to give “suggestions” of how I wanted my life to go. Now I pray, “God, I want what You want.” And I pray it about a 1,000 times a day. I pray believing that my God who sees me & chooses me, loves me enough to lead me through a life better than I can imagine.

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