Love & Dating | April 12th, 2021
A Love Full of Lessons
By: Maya Williams
My first love is someone who I met in my sixth-grade math class. Who knew that both of our last names starting with “W” and sitting by each other would turn into a nine-year love saga? A love story full of ups and downs.
When everything was great his love felt euphoric. The high that love can give is a powerful force. The relationship was built on friendship and with a high level of emotional intelligence from him and myself. The truth and openness we shared was to die for. To know that you can tell someone your deepest thoughts, desires and feelings without the fear of judgement or ridicule was beautiful. The number of years put into building the foundation of the relationship was nearly half of my life. This was not only my partner, but best friend at the end of the day.
Three months ago, everything changed. It felt as if tectonic plates shifted and my entire world was crashing down on me. The moment I found out that he had been stepping out on the relationship, I felt sick to my stomach and a huge knot formed in the back of my throat. I forced myself to hold in the wave of tears while still in his presence. I was determined for him to not see me sweat. After confronting him about cheating, and getting past all of the “I’m so sorry’s,” I left. I had this urge to throw my phone out of the window and completely block everyone out of my life. I wanted to crawl into bed and just lie there for days on end.
In the days and weeks to come, I was in utter shock, disbelief and had a looming cloud of guilt over my head. I felt so dumb for being cheated on. I felt like an idiot. From my perspective I did everything to be the best girlfriend. I always showed up. I was fully supportive, loving and always thinking of how my decisions would impact our relationship. After rethinking the relationship over and over in my head over Christmas break, I had come to the conclusion that the infidelity was my fault. Maybe if I had been just a little bit better — skinnier, funnier, prettier — I would not be in this situation, right? The situation being on repeat in my head like a bad soap opera and was not good for my mental health.
After getting out of the first stage of initial shock, I became very angry and upset. I started to feel disrespected and that the boundary of trust and honest was completely violated. I proceeded to reanalyze everything. The situation replaying for weeks on end had me to begin to question everything. I felt like my ex had two faces. The one he would show me which appeared as sweet lies and empty promises but then when I was not around, his true self would surface. Someone who could lie to me for weeks was not anyone I wanted to be associated with. I questioned if the depth of the relationship was as I perceived it to be or was it as dense and immature as the situation I was currently in? All of the thinking I was doing was mentally and emotionally draining.
As time progressed, my self-esteem started to go back up after I realized that I did all I could in my power to be the best version of myself day in and day out. I opened up about the situation to my two best friends and to call them my hype women would be an understatement. They helped me to remember who I was by reminding me that I was not the one who caused the shift in the dynamic in my relationship. They religiously preached to me how I did not have to deal with drama and washed away my guilt. We went out practically every day during Christmas break and I cherished this moment in my life. While I was hanging out with my friends it felt like therapy for me. Slowly the knot in my stomach began to unwind and I felt like I could breathe again.
Once January came, the party was over. The semester began in full swing and my best friends returned to their lives. Both of them having work and school the time we once had while at home for break was gone. I went through a season of solitude. I had to unlearn my routine with my ex-boyfriend. All of the good morning texts, hours upon hours of being on FaceTime and the dates we went on were suddenly stripped away from me. I felt like I lost my left hand. After you build someone in your life, the process of cutting them out feels foreign.
I call this part of the breakup growing pains. Moving on at this point felt impossible, with me constantly checking his social media and being wrapped in a blanket of sadness at all times. I had to relearn how to be single. I had to define what being alone meant to me. This involved tons of therapy from counseling services and trying to make the most out of the situation. As I reflect on the relationship I sit and think about the life lessons I learned from my ex. I think about what qualities I would want my next boyfriend to have, ways to stay emotionally available and instead of dreading this season of solitude approach it with a fresh perspective of the freedom that being single has to offer.
The healing process of a breakup has no time frame or limit. I am still continuing to heal. It’s important to sit with yourself after infidelity strikes. It’s important for you to fully wrap your head around the situation and to not allow it to eat away at you. Time and self-care are the best remedy to heal all wounds.