When I told him that I was going to break up with him if he didn’t change, it was because I thought it would make our relationship better. I eventually figured out that the only way they change is when they no longer have you and are forced to, but I also told him that that is how many relationships end: one party knows all along that they are going to break up, while the other is completely blindsided. I told him it was because we are essentially cocoons of feelings onto ourselves, and we guard our true feelings from the one we are with because we don’t want to hurt them, but when we do, we end up hurting ourselves and even them in the long run. People silently hold in all their emotional turmoil and gut feelings because this is a natural reaction they have to everything. They feel something isn’t right, but for various reasons, keep them to themselves. Because I was able to relay these feelings to my ex, the break up was much easier for me because I told him I had always been honest with him and was only following up on what I told him would happen. He said he honestly thought I would never leave him. He wasn’t a bad man, just a kid who I didn’t know I was enabling from growing up.
No one explains to us how we should cope with potentially traumatic situations, so we just don’t do anything about it. Perhaps we think the pain will eventually go away. Or if we don’t think about it, it won’t be an issue. We don’t know how to process our internal emotions and it eventually comes out in ways we don’t expect. It is okay to realize that this is a natural reaction, but it is not the most healthy way to deal with it. But we are a culture that focuses on success and happiness, so we try to fit this role by stuffing away our traumas to appear successful. We don’t talk about our innermost feelings and thoughts even with those that we are closest with. Thus, when we are in relationships, we have the most to lose, so we shield our partners from what we are really feeling to try to maintain the relationship. In doing so, we lose out on a more meaningful and profound relationship with a partner we can understand with. And that is how relationships can fall apart over seemingly nothing.
We are trying to find ourselves all the time and in the process, we find out our preferences, our dislikes, our longings, our hopes, and our dreams. It may take you a lifetime, but you will get there. Sometimes, you may be 40 and finally realize you wanted to travel the world and divorce your spouse and children. You can be in a marriage for years and finally come to the conclusion that you cannot deny your sexual orientation even though you are in a hetero relationship. You may even come to find your voice and realize you are worth more than a person who beats and berates you. The journey in life is not to find a spouse, but to ultimately find who you are and your voice. You deserve to be heard and the ones you are with deserve to know, even if it means the dissolution of that very relationship. Relationships may end, but growth never does. A few years after I left him, he actually thanked me because I was instrumental in helping him become the man he is today. He was no longer my man, but he was a man he could finally be proud of, and I could be proud of that as well from a distance.